Personally, I find Hara Eriko a tad annoying -- or more specifically, her vocalization in this series. (Could anyone have a voice like that in real life? Except maybe Kimmy Roberston -- hmmm... perhaps Lisa Simpson....) BUT, this is a fictional animated series, so we really shouldn't take things too seriously... That point aside, has anyone noticed that lighters never seem to work at critical points of a story? Hikaru's interest in Kyosuke starts with this episode, and we discover just how uninhibited she is -- like offering cigarettes to Kyosuke's sisters in a classroom -- a definite no-no in both Japan and North America... More than that, we also get a little more information on how invasive the school norm can be on what we consider to be individual rights. It always helps to remember that modern-day Japan evolved from a feudalistic society, and many vestiges still remain. The strict "code of conduct" we see depicted so often in animé is one such vestige -- though this too is slowly evolving. Still, public shows of affection are frowned upon, so you can imagine Otsuka-sensei's reaction when Kyosuke's collision with Hikaru ends up looking like they're making out in the middle of the hallway...
The moody atmosphere of the first episode is partially replaced by a more conventional tone. There'a a wonderful little segue used in the very beginning of the show when Kyosuke awakens from his little dream -- very innovative, and very, very funny. Beyond some character development and some interesting aspects of Japanese school life, there's really not a whole lot happening in this episode. A bit of a yawn. - AN
This episode continues to set the feel of the overall show and the general prejudice in the student body against Ayukawa Madoka. During gym class, the guys are busy watching the girls as they do gymnastics on the beam, rating their performance as well as checking their data on the girls measurements. However, when it's Ayukawa's turn, the boys all go off to see if it's their turn to play basketball yet; they definitely don't want to have anything to do with her. Kyousuke, not knowing better, watches Madoka as she starts her routine and cheers for her performance. Needless to say, it puts him in a bit of a tight spot with the rest of the guys. Afterall, he's been warned to stay away from her. The personality of the characters continues to get defined here in this episode, and we get an idea of what Hikaru is going to be like once she sets her eyes on Kyosuke. At the same time though, we're left puzzling a bit over Madoka who seems to be a very nice person when she's alone, but in public, she's very withdrawn, cold and decidedly unfriendly. Why is anyone's guess at this point, but more will be revealed later. The music continues to be very good and the animation, while nothing special, is also nice. It's certainly much better than the original manga where the drawing was quite inconsistent. -JYN