One super smart friend isn’t good enough? Now you gotta have two? Well, be careful what you ask for. In Dostoevsky’s The Double, the main character also encounters a doppelganger of himself — a double who ends up being more well-liked by society than the original. In the end, the man eventually goes mad and gets locked up in an insane asylum. Let’s just hope Rio doesn’t share the same fate.
— The episode opens with Sakuta dreaming about his first ever encounter with Shoko. I really don’t put too much stock in dreams, but I often see so many people freak out about them. Oh no, my wife was dreaming of a guy! That means she must have feelings for him, latent or otherwise! Pfft, whatever. I’m only gonna worry about what I can control, which is what I do when I’m awake. It only makes sense that I hold others to the same standards. Dreams are just dreams. They’re fun to think about, but they’re only as important as you want them to be.
— On the other hand, imouto really needs to get a life. Does she really give him a generic visual novel wake-up call every morning?
— I’m fine with most of the dialogue in this show, but I would agree that very few siblings would talk like this.
— I bet you Neo-Shoko is the same as old Shoko. I mean, do they even look all that different? No, right? Sure, she doesn’t recall ever meeting a Sakuta, but people conveniently lose their memories all the time in these stories. The fact that she doesn’t recognize him means relatively nothing.
— Neo-Shoko appears to be much younger than the original Shoko, but then again, we only know of the latter from Sakura’s memories. And well, memories are unreliable.
— Still, Neo-Shoko has already started dropping by Sakuta’s apartment regularly to visit the cat. Must be nice to be an anime character. No parental supervision and hot girls come in and out of your life all the time.
— Why even adopt the cat? It looks happy enough here. Don’t separate the cat from its best bud!
— Why is Kaede being all clingy all of a sudden? She didn’t seem to really care when Mai suddenly became her brother’s girlfriend.
— Sakuta wonders if Shoko has either a big sister or a relative around her age. Uh, even if she did, why would they have the same first and last name?
— Eventually, the guy resigns himself to the fact that he’ll need to ask for Rio’s help once again. Boy, I can’t wait to see what crazy concept she brings up next!
— Uh, is Rio taking a picture of her chest? Why is the music so ominous? I thought at first that this next arc would focus on Shoko, but I guess Rio’s up next.
— Apparently, the girl wears contacts now. Too bad. Glasses are cute on girls.
— Rio also doesn’t really seem to have much energy to deal with Sakuta’s issues, especially since he’s not actually in any trouble at the moment. Or maybe she has bigger issues to worry about.
— Sakuta wonders why she’s wearing her uniform. Rio claims that she’s going to drop by the school later to attend to some club activities, but I dunno, something feels fishy here. I’ll just cut right to the chase: I just hope she’s not dealing with some enjo kosai related issues. I doubt it’s that, though. Enjo kosai seems almost too plain for this show. We need some kooky scientific idea instead.
— Our protagonist eventually drives his friend away by musing that she would look good in a yukata thanks to her large breasts. This is why I hesitate to say that he’s the best male main character this season. I don’t mind him being sarcastic and sassy, but that was a bit much. C’mon, don’t talk about your friend like that.
— Then he goes and teases Tomoe about her flat chest. Meh.
— Mai then shows up to the diner as a surprise, because her shoot wrapped up early. So is Mai worried about Shoko? Not yet. In fact, they start talking about making out, but talk is about all they do. When Mai suddenly spots Rio heading into a net cafe, the couple decides to investigate together. I would actually love to see more teamwork out of these two instead of Sakuta just running off on his own to deal with all these girls’ problems.
— When they initially can’t locate Rio within the net cafe, Sakuta decides to call his friend up. But oddly enough, he quickly discovers that he’s simultaneously talking to her and not talking to her at the same time. In other words, there are now two Rios. No wonder the other Rio made a face when they were talking about doubles.
— So how do we tell the two apart? Well, the Rio in the net cafe looks like the original Rio, i.e. she’s wearing her glasses and has her hair down. On the other hand, the other Rio is obviously trying to make herself look more appealing. Before she can even cook up some quantum theory related theory, why bother? I mean, is it even necessary in order to understand what we’re seeing before our very eyes? If anything, I think all the scientific mumbo-jumbo only serves to muck up our understanding of the story.
— I mean, let’s face it… what’s Rio’s biggest problem? She’s in love with Yuuma, right? But she can’t bring herself to confess to him for a variety of reasons. One, he already has a girlfriend. Most people don’t want to stir up drama. Two, does Rio seem like the type who would really put herself out there? Does she really seem like the type who would wear her skirt a couple inches higher? Put her hair up? Wear contacts? Flirt a little? Maybe even take some suggestive selfies? That’s not Rio, right? As far as we know, anyways. That’s the problem with taking risks. I could try to completely change myself in both personality and appearance, but it would feel weird. I would feel like I’m not being myself. Nevertheless, feeling weird pretty much sums up the teenage adolescent experience. This is where we desperately try to understand not only who we are as a person, but also who we eventually want to become. Maybe Rio thought she was satisfied with who she was, but not anymore.
— But what if there were two of me? What if there was a control and an experimental group? Welcome to A/B testing. The old Rio had all the time in the world, and she has gotten anywhere with Yuuma. It’s now time to test the variant.
— But hey, that’s just my speculation.
— Anyways, let’s just call them Cute Rio and Sexy Rio (even though glasses can be pretty sexy). Cute Rio doesn’t want to make a mess of things, so she’s been avoiding places where she and Sexy Rio might bump into each other. As a result, she’s been sleeping in a net cafe.
— Typical anime protagonist Sakuta thus can’t help himself and offers to let Cute Rio stay over at his place, but Mai naturally balks. So is Cute Rio going to stay at Mai’s place instead? Well, they’re not even friends. So the next best solution? Let’s all stay at Sakuta’s house! Of course.
— Mai and Rio are going to sleep in Sakuta’s room. Meanwhile, he’ll sleep in the living room much to his imouto’s chagrin. Seriously, I’m weirded out that she’s suddenly so clingy. It’s gross.
— While Rio is taking a bath, she offers up her interpretation of what’s going on. Something about quantum teleportation.
— Aw, the cats are sleeping together. Sometimes, you’ll find it difficult to introduce a new cat to a home that already has one, but I guess these two don’t mind each other one bit.
— Later that night, Mai sneaks out of Sakuta’s room to visit him. This would be sweet if they would just go the extra distance and just make out like they want to. These two constantly talk about being a couple, but they don’t actually get the chance to act like one.
— Case in point, Mai had planned on spending the next day with Sakuta, but because of this Rio issue, she already knows that her boyfriend will be visiting Sexy Rio at school. She willingly accepts his request to watch over Cute Rio as if the latter needs to be babysat or something. Plus, why does Mai have to make it up to Sakuta at all? He knew what he was getting into when he asked a celebrity to be his girlfriend. She shouldn’t have to feel guilty that she’s busy with her job on top of schoolwork.
— Sakuta then tries to kiss Mai, but apparently he’s only smooth with his words. The girl says that this is enough for now, but then also claims that they can keep practicing until he gets good at kissing her. Uh-huh…
— The next morning, Shoko drops by once again. Even she can’t help but notice that the harem is getting a little too full these days…
— When our protagonist finally drags himself to school, he finds Sexy Rio longingly staring at Yuuma during the guy’s basketball practice. Eventually, they talk about why she even fell in love with the guy in the first place. Well, it’s because she wanted to buy bread, but couldn’t. So when the guy gave her a choco-cornet, she fell for him. That’s it, she says. Totally timing and nothing else…
— Meanwhile, she blushes as she stares at a shirtless Yuuma getting all wet. Being a nice person is great. Being nice and hot is greater. I mean, c’mon, it’s just a crush so why deny it? You’re not automatically shallow if you’re drawn to someone because they’re hot. These are teenagers with raging hormones running through their bodies. Let’s not pretend that a star athlete isn’t a turn-on.
— Anyways, they finally start talking about the situation at hand, and Sexy Rio agrees with Cute Rio that quantum teleportation might be involved. But they don’t agree about everything. Earlier, Cute Rio had insisted that she had no clue why this was happening. Sexy Rio calls this a lie. Sexy Rio has a theory, but alas, the episode is coming to an end, so we can’t hear what her theory is.
— Still, this only serves to reinforce the idea that Sexy Rio is more daring than Cute Rio. Sexy Rio is more of a risk-taker. Like her doppelganger suggests, Cute Rio probably does have an inkling as to why there are two versions of her. But she’s embarrassed. She’s too embarrassed to say it out loud.
— Back at Sakuta’s apartment, Mai’s manager is shocked to hear that the girl has a boyfriend.
— Sakuta gets a brief chance to chat with Yuuma, and the latter is perceptive enough to realize that Rio is going through something right now. Too bad he’s not perceptive enough to also notice that she’s crushing on him. Well, maybe he does, but he doesn’t feel comfortable talking about it. Still, he tells Sakuta to let him know if anything comes up, so…
— When Sakuta calls home, Mai says that she needs to tell him something face-to-face. Hmm, let’s hope it’s not bad news. Again, I just want to see them act like a couple and not just talk about being one. But who knows? Maybe it is bad news.
— When the call ends, Saki, Yuuma’s girlfriend, has a bombshell to drop on Sakuta. Apparently, Sexy Rio has been pretty cheeky lately. Not only that, she’s not even trying to disguise her identity.
— But so what? Sexy Rio’s photos don’t even approach the level of softcore porn. This is nothing. Oh no, I can see her cleavage in one of the shots! Is it taboo to post fully-clothed selfies of yourself on Twitter? Actually, I don’t know. I think people who have lived in Japan will have to help me out here. But even if you try and attribute Saki’s outrage to cultural differences, I’d still say she’s being silly. Until Sexy Rio makes moves on her boyfriend, this is much ado about nothing.