In the first half, the manager Momoi wants to interact more with the newcomers. He spends time individually with Hasebe, Yamagami and Miyoshi, who also meet his daughter Kanon. Hasebe is worried about Touko not having any friends, but Kanon is one such friend. In the second half, Miyoshi’s daily interactions with Mrs. Tanaka, Touko and Momoi wear her down into a beginner’s slump. Hasebe lets her vent, but she ends up depressing him. Tanaka asks her to marry her grandson, but after advising the others, she turns down the offer as tactfully as possible.
Among other things, this episode underlines how everyone ended up working as civil servants at the ward office for different reason. Yamagami, perhaps the simplest character due to her insufferable innocence, simply wanted to get a good job so she could afford as many books as possible (she loves to read). Hasebe’s father was in this business, and he had nothing else going on, so he ended up in it too. Miyoshi was in the middle of grad school, but her parents tricked her into coming home by lying about her father’s health. Considering how Miyoshi ended up at this job, and how stressful dealing with the people she has to deal with can be, we’re not surprised she was the first of the three newbies to consider quitting, if only for a moment.
She’s even given another reason: one of her clients wants her to quit so she can marry her responsible banker grandson, which might give her an opportunity to return to her studies. She politely refuses, but Mrs. Tanaka hasn’t given up. In addition to fleshing out Miyoshi’s situation and giving her a potential out, it also, strangely enough, shows that despite his surface sheen, he isn’t entirely happy with his situation either. Which means Yamagami is the only newbie totally happy with where she is and what she’s doing…though she’s also there to confront the one who allowed her ridiculous name pass…
Rating: 6 (Good)
Yamagami wakes up in bed with a girl who turns out to be Hasebe’s sister Kaoru, who is also an easy-.going civil servant and also loves to mess with people. When Yamagami stops by Kaoru’s the next day to thank her, she takes her to her brother’s place, which is awkward. Back at the office, Ichimiya warns Hasebe of the perils of dating co-workers. Chihaya lets fly that she and Ichimiya are dating, but passes it off as a joke to cure Yamagami of her hiccups. Chihaya arranges for Miyoshi to occupy Touko while she and Ichimiya discuss their relationship. Touko returns early, adding to Taishi’s stress.
Those who were thinking Hasebe would stoop to getting a room at a love hotel with a passed-out Lucy were soundly rebuked, as he – as Megumi puts it, “acts like a human being.” Still, it’s clear Miss Cowlick won’t be drinking any alcohol anytime soon. He takes her to his sister’s place instead, but her sister, like all the Hasebes, can’t quite help themselves when presented with a mark as easy as Lucy. Kaoru also gets the feeling her brother cares about this mark, and so gets them together on Sunday, hoping the resulting awkwardness will be entertaining, and it is. But with all this discussion about Yamagami and Hasebe as a prospective couple, there’s been a real and long-lasting couple hiding in plain sight: Chihaya and Ichimiya.
It’s a bit out of left field, though if we were to go back and watch all their past interactions in the office, we’d probably find slight clues here and there of the fact they’re a couple, albeit one that doesn’t make it public knowledge at their workplace. For her part, Chihaya is a good sport, willing to be with Ichimiya despite his self-confidence problems and his horror of a little sister. She doesn’t come right out and list the reasons she dates him – and has dated him for a year-plus. But she does have her reasons. For what is worth, we like them as a couple, if for no other reason than it has neither the predatory air of Hasebe’s pursuit of Yamagami nor Touko’s bro-con tediousness.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
- Yamagami seems to have a closet consisting of nothing but white pants and black turtlenecks. We hope to see this closet at some point to confirm this.
- Kaoru and Yamagami wait at a metro station with a green circle marked H-07. Thus the city can’t be Tokyo, as H-07 in real life is Hibiya Station on the Hibiya line, which is silver, not green.
- Enduring Hiccups are a very old comic device, but Yamagami is so cute doing them we don’t mind.
- Touko’s birthday is Christmas Eve, making it difficult for Ichimiya to keep girlfriends. Talk about a Catch-22…
- Chihaya loves cosplay, but wearing Touko’s uniform is still pretty darned kinky. We feel like her explanation to Touko shouldn’t have passed muster.
- That said, that look Chihaya shoots at Touko when she comes in (see above) is pretty great.
Chihaya confides with Miyoshi how she’s secretly taking Yamagami’s measurements for cosplay, when they walk in on Yamagami and Hasebe hand in hand; he’s teaching her sign language. Later, Chihaya tells Hasebe they’re rivals, and warns Yamagami to be careful with him. Hasebe asks her out and she rejects him, but not because of him. Undeterred, he takes her out to eat often. The newbies finally meet the section manager, Kenzo Momoi, who has the body of a pink stuffed rabbit, and once worked with Hasebe’s father. He takes everyone out drinking, but Yamagami gets smashed instantly. Missing the last train, Hasebe takes her to a hotel for the night.
Inter-office romances have a reputation for being very tricky, and can obviously end badly, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad or should be discouraged. If that someone you happen to fall for just happens to work with you, that fact isn’t a dealbreaker in and of itself. It just means treading carefully is called for. Hasebe is a ladies man with hundreds of emails, but he rarely if ever is the one doing the asking out…until Yamagami. There’s clearly something about her that moves Hasebe to ask her out, and when she instantly rejects him out of fear she’s too boring and wears glasses, is he discouraged? Not at all; it just means he has to gradually win her over.
Yes, Hasebe can be creepy, and he does get away with too much, but we don’t think he’s a creep, and we think he has a genuine interest in Yamagami (besides her figure). Perhaps the fact that she shows no interest in him is enough to tickle his fancy. Or maybe its her inherent naivete and vulnerability about seemingly everything. This is a girl who was seemingly put on this earth to be a civil servant and nothing else. If it weren’t for Hasebe taking her out or Chihaya lending her books, it would seem like she has no life beyond her job and going home to sleep. So even if she’s unsure of Hasebe’s true intentions, it’s good that she’s experiencing new things as a result of her exposure to him and the others. Work isn’t everything.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
- Yes, the remote-controlled(?) robotic(?) stuffed rabbit-as-section manager is a hard pill to swallow…but at least he’s less annoying than Touko. Much less, frankly.
- Of couse Yamagami can’t hold her liquor in the slightest…
- Is the series going to tease us all season about Yamagami cosplaying, or will Chihaya make it happen? She really just has to ask Hasebe for her bust measurement, though now that he knows they’re “rivals” he may not be forthcoming.
- When Yamagami wakes up, she assumes she’s home and thinks she’s lying next to a “woman.” What’s going on? There’d better be follow-up next week.
The hooks on Yamagami’s bra suddenly break. She hopes nobody notices, but everyone does, and Hasebe suggests she go home and rest. When she returns, Hasebe continues his quest to get Yamagami’s email. He follows her to a bookstore, treats her to dinner, distracts a kid for her, lends her a music player in a storm, and offers to teach her sign language. Even when she asks him if there’s anything she can do in return for all his help, he still forgets to ask for her email.
This week we saw a lot less of the non-adult, non-civil servant Touko (though unfortunately she wasn’t totally absent…why does the series feel the need to have her poke her nose in every day?), a lot more sexual harassment by Hasebe, tempered by several kind deeds. Let’s just say this guy is very lucky Yamagami is either uncommonly patient or uncommonly oblivious; come to think of it, she’s a little of both…and her cowlick (ahoge) is a hoot and a half.
Yamagami doesn’t like relying on or owing people, but Hasebe is determined to show her that it’s okay once and a while. In attempting to get her email, he shows up his many and varied skills, proving that he can be highly capable when sufficiently motivated, which is almost never. In fact, most of the skills he’s amassed all serve to make slacking off easier. Still, we’re hoping his lewd comments are kept at a minimum and he learns to talk with Yamagami without bringing up her not un-ample bust.
Rating:7 (Very Good)