I guess there’s a Sohma for everybody, and Arisa is no exception.
— Some people fall in love at first sight, which is apparently what happens here. A clumsy dude talks to Arisa once, and as a result, she is instantly enamored with him. Just like that, huh? Yup, just like that.
— I wish the episode would at least show these two having a deep, fulfilling conversation or something — anything to convince me that there’s an undeniable connection. Like maybe her shift is ending, so she ends up having an intimate talk with a stranger on her way home. It can happen. But as far as I know, no such thing occurs. Instead, the dude simply feels that her “joyous laughter” is so comforting that he could stare at her forever. Uh, yeah…
— Funnily enough, Arisa and her romantic interest don’t get the entire episode to itself. Right after the OP, we get to watch Tohru and her boys hit up a haunted house attraction at… uh, the department store? Is this a Japan-only thing?
— Not surprisingly, Tohru’s a scaredy-cat who screams at everything. Alright, let’s have a quick laugh and move on. But the episode doesn’t move on. We get to watch her scream over and over. She then closes her eyes and screams over and over.
— Hatsuharu tries to help Tohru by inventing a sad and sympathetic story for one of the ghosts. He gets so into it that he tears the head off of one of the animatronics. At first, the kids get yelled at, but when the manager (I assume he’s the manager) hears the same sob story, he starts blubbering. What the hell am I watching?
— I feel like this portion of the episode is the anime equivalent of a shitpost. Arisa’s side story isn’t long enough, so to buy some time, let’s just shitpost about a wacky trip to a haunted house attraction.
— With the episode more than half over, we finally revisit Arisa and her romantic interest. She hasn’t seen him again ever since their first encounter. So what does she do when she spots him randomly walking by on the streets? She yanks his shirt from behind. Chill, girl. You barely know this guy. You’re coming on a bit too strong.
— Arisa’s stomach conveniently growls, so he invites her to grab a bite to eat with him. Oh cool, they get to have their first date already. So I’m thinking, “Man, I hope this guy is at most a college student or something,” but c’mon, we know better. We know how much anime loves to pair young girls up with adult men.
— We learn that the guy’s name is Kureno, and (of course) he’s 26. Arisa is a junior in high school, so what does that make her? 17?
— Good question, Arisa! But it shouldn’t be your only question. Too often, people get too wrapped up in the legality of things. Just because an act is illegal, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong to do (e.g. marijuana use in some places). Conversely — and more importantly for our purposes — just because some act is legal, it doesn’t mean it’s right to do (e.g. being engaged to a 12 year old).
— Kureno also adds that he had never been to a conbini before he met her. Arisa can’t believe her ears, so he explains that it had never been necessary for him to visit one. He even confesses, “I live and work as I’m ordered to.” Oh boy, I bet he’s a Sohma… well duh, of course he is. Of course she has to fall in love with someone unattainable.
— Here’s the goofy part: Arisa just loses her shit. She’s offended, you guys. She’s offended. After all, it was love at first sight for her, so how dare he say that his visit that night was unnecessary! Dude, it’s only your second encounter. Chill out! Who flips out over an innocuous statement? This is a clear sign that maybe she isn’t emotionally mature enough to enter a relationship with a grown man… but y’know… anime and all…
— These poor waitresses probably just wanted a nice and peaceful lunch service.
— Eventually, Arisa storms off with Kureno chasing after her. It’s like straight out of a cheesy soap opera. When he finally catches up to her, he makes amends by confessing that he was happy to learn that she wanted to see him again. He then flashes her that authentic smile. Ooh la la. Finally, he holds her face in his hands (I guess he’s not cursed) as if he’s about to kiss a fucking high school junior whom he has only met twice. These people are weirdos, man. And that’s putting it mildly.
— But Kureno suddenly realizes something. And just like that, he knows he must stop before it’s too late. Kureno leaves Arisa standing there without an explanation, and despite her fiery temper, she is suddenly rendered speechless.
— Right before the episode ends, we learn why Kureno walked away: he and Akito are engaged in a rather “special” relationship. It’s crazy enough that every single Sohma is weirdly bound to Akito in some sort of sick and twisted codependent relationship. But now the Sohmas are leaking out into the real world and thus getting real people swept up in their madness. I always thought, “Okay, Tohru is hanging out with those weird animal boys, but at least she still has her two best friends. They can keep her grounded in reality.” Welp, so much for that!