The episode kicks off with a rather comedic yet tense situation: Shinozaki and Shiori find themselves crammed inside a locker, trying to give a couple their privacy as they share intimate moments. This unexpected situation arises when the duo is assigned the task of searching for a specific item among old merchandise in the basement. Their mission takes an unexpected turn when a couple enters the basement, thinking they’re alone, and begins to get affectionate. As the couple moves closer to where Shinozaki and Shiori are, the two have no choice but to hide in a nearby locker.
Inside the confined space of the locker, the proximity between Shinozaki and Shiori leads to several risqué moments. The tension is palpable as they try to navigate the tight space without drawing attention. In a desperate bid to escape their predicament, Shinozaki has to sensually retrieve Shiori’s cell phone from her back pocket to send a message for help. Their plan eventually works, allowing them to slip out unnoticed — although it visibly shakes both of them.
However, the aftermath of their close encounter lingers. That night, both are plagued by memories of their unintentionally intimate moments, leading to a restless night. The next day at work, their shared awkwardness is evident. They exchange frequent glances, and their changed demeanor doesn’t go unnoticed, especially by Akina, who speculates about a possible romantic development between them.
As the day progresses, Shinozaki musters the courage to address the elephant in the room. He invites Shiori for a private chat after work, hoping to clear the air. Shiori, on the other hand, lets her imagination run wild. She daydreams about Shinozaki confessing his feelings for her and, while the thought is embarrassing, she doesn’t entirely dismiss the idea of accepting his feelings.
However, a twist awaits. During a lunch break, Shiori overhears that Yoshida, the man she had witnessed in the basement, has been re-assigned due to his romantic escapades. This revelation makes her ponder the consequences of workplace relationships. She wonders if dating Shinozaki might change their dynamic and jeopardize their careers. These thoughts are further compounded when she witnesses the same couple from the basement sharing another intimate moment. The idea of her and Shinozaki in a similar situation unsettles her.
When the anticipated conversation between Shinozaki and Shiori finally takes place, Shiori, preempting a confession, shuts down the possibility of a romantic relationship. This leaves Shinozaki, who indeed seemed poised to confess, feeling hurt and dejected but trying to play it off. The episode concludes on a humorous note, with the audience being nudged to find amusement in Shinozaki’s predicament.
Opinions / Analysis
This episode is surprisingly enjoyable. Shiori definitely seems to take pride in her work, and the idea of a romance — even if she wants the romance — being detrimental to her job is powerful enough to stop her from persuing this.
Honestly, that’s not a bad thing! Romance should not be on everybody’s top-priority list. I respect that about Shiori, honestly. And it’s pretty rare for an ecchi-infused anime (even if it’s “Soft Ecchi”) to have the girl reject the guy. After all, it’s normally made for heterosexual dudes, right? So if a man sees that, he might feel awful, and not want to watch anymore, because perhaps he sees Shinozaki as a self-insert character.
So yeah. That’s pretty brave!
This is one of the weird anime this season that’s gotten better as it went on. The layers are layering and I appreciate it!
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