This week’s DnH took huge leaps forward in its overarching story by finally revealing exactly what it was Nagi was involved in, and why she’s been so interested in Kyoutarou. While it had a lot of serious plot to go over, it managed to avoid getting too dry or tedious by blending it with well-timed comedy, mischief, and would-be romance.
First of all, the library is fairly impressive, if a relatively simple design: a massive cylindrical shaft lined with billions of books. The Beast’s library ain’t got nothing on this place. It’s part The Matrix’s Zion, part Laputa’s Core, and all awesome; just the kind of place a big book reader like Kyoutarou would imagine in a dream…and he did!
They mysterious man turns out to be the same one who met with him ten years ago. He likes the progress Kyou’s made with the Happy Project; he’s already passed one of the two tests required to become a Trainee Shepherd, which is what Nagi is. The thing is, Kyoutarou isn’t so sure he wants to devote the rest of his life to helping others realize their happiest possible lives. The Happy Project is a means for him to explore the new feelings he’s developed, but that’s a highly personal thing. Becoming a Shepherd means throwing the self away for the sake of others.
Nagi is determined to become a Shepherd and “leave the world (and presumably a painful past that likely involves Kyoutarou) behind,” but her Supervisor seems far more keen on Kyoutarou getting the job than Nagi, even though Nagi was there first and at least thinks she wants this (Kyoutarou has to think about it). And here’s what puts an intriguing twist on an otherwise ordinary harem: dating and/or falling for someone disqualifies you from consideration. A shepherd must radiate their love out to all who may need their guidance; focusing that love on one person undermines their duties.
Even if Senri knew anything about this, she wouldn’t care. She’s at a point in her life when she’s tired of doing what’s expected of her — which doesn’t make her happy — and is doing what she wants, like putting the moves on Kyoutarou. I appreciated this bold, assertive side of Senri coming out when the opportunity presented itself; even if Kyou is more flustered than anything else, it’s a good demonstration of what he’d be giving up if he chose Shepherdom. In any case, Senri’s advances are interrupted by Nagi, whom Kyou has to shadow in order to learn the ropes.
Their “client”, so to speak, turns out to be Sayumi, whom they have to save from a gruesome freak accident that would keep her from realizing her ideal future as a gifted programmer. It’s a pretty clear-cut job, but perhaps in her haste to either show off or because his very presence took her off her game, Nagi makes a critical error, and Kyoutarou has to bail her out in the most dangerous and embarrassing way he can. Why does Sayumi have a machine gun? WHY NOT?!
When all is well that ends well, Nagi kicks herself for messing up, Kyoutarou comforts her and tells her to keep working hard, as she is his senpai in this situation. His kindness makes Nagi get all the feels, but now we know what a tricky situation she’s in: She’s close to falling for the guy who she has to fight for the Shepherd’s job, which has no room for love. The sooner she can become a Shepherd, the better…but Kyoutarou is learning quickly, and in any case, has been essentially carrying out the actions of a Shepherd already with the Happy Project.
After returning the club room and finding Tsugumi waiting for him to share a heart cookie (which he eats all by himself out of ignorance), Kyoutarou is no closer to knowing what he wants to do. But as thanks for his bailing her out, Nagi gets the Library Club officially recognized. As Nagi sees it, if the club continues with Kyoutarou in it, eventually one of the girls will snag him, and he’ll drop out of the running. None of them have the slightest sliver of interest in Ikkei, after all. This fact, and his consoling sessions with Gizaemon, are a pretty funny running gag.
In addition to the revealing of Kyoutarou’s calling and the continuing battle for his heart, we also got a couple C-plots in Senri’s ongoing rift with her former friend Miyu, as well as the Student Council Vice President Takigawa Aoi plotting to “crush” the Library Club. Even as some light has been shed on the central mystery, several smaller ones remain.