Tehe, that was cute.
After coming to work one day, Usa finds Hayashi coming back to apologize to him about her rude behaviour. Usa forgives her, but Hayashi keeps coming back after she meets Kurokawa because she has a big crush on him. This causes Ricchan to be a little jealous, and her feelings come out later in the episode during a visit from China-chan, who teases her about her relationship with Usa and how much he likes her.
Somehow, I feel that this episode cleared out many points which were assumed and yet untold, and I was happy to get all those unclear feelings and plot points finally explained in more detail.
What is probably the most important detail of all is the fact that we finally got a really good hint that what Ricchan felt for Usa was more than just friendly feelings, and that she was actually pretty aware of her feelings already, if not completely. Her reaction to China’s pestering actually showed off a lot of her emotions, as well as what she thinks of Usa’s feelings towards her; I would say that she’s completely blind and should realize already that Usa likes her a lot, but in high school girls are pretty dumb and innocent, so I won’t judge her too much on that…
Another person whose feelings were cleared up was Hayashi, who now obviously won’t go after Usa because she is after the guy who so closely fits her that there’s not really any other choice but for her to like him. I’m actually glad that she is only seen as a rival from Ricchan’s point of view and that she doesn’t actually like Usa anymore, simply because I’m sick of having every single girl appearing in any romance become a rival. In this one, we see that Ricchan is jealous of her because she is unaware of what is really going on (as usual, not like that is completely original), but that unlike the usual Hayashi has a personality which causes her to refuse to go after someone she knows she has no chance with. I find that truly admirable, and for us to finally get things cleared up on that side was a huge help.
We also got Usa’s personality much more clear-cut now than ever before; I can feel his character much more as not “any other guy” but rather Usa himself, and I like what I’m seeing of him; he may be what he likes to call normal, but we can see how well he deserves his title of Oddball Handler, what in his personality makes him act this way and why he would want to be with Richan so much despite the fact that she’s always absorbed in her books – in the end, he’s just a caring guy. It causes him problems, but oh well, he’s just like that. It makes him truly admirable as a main character, and makes me cheer him on even more in his relationship with Ricchan.
To conclude on a good note, I’d like to note how it took me 10 episodes to realize just how similar I am to Ricchan… I may just slightly fangirl similarly about anime just like she does over books… Just slightly.