The episode opens with a light-hearted moment: Shinozaki stumbles upon Shiori working late in the office, preparing a simple dinner of cup noodles. To his amusement, he catches her singing to herself, thinking she’s alone. When Shiori notices him, instead of feeling embarrassed, she playfully invites him to join in.
Elsewhere, Shinozaki’s coworker has a chance encounter with Kurusu. Noticing her late hours, he offers her a drink from a vending machine and gently suggests she head home and rest.
The next morning, Shinozaki’s fatigue is evident. The weight of the impending competition results seems to be taking a toll on him. His anxiety contrasts sharply with Kurusu’s situation. After receiving praise from her superior for her draft, she’s tasked with adding an illustration. This seemingly simple request sends Kurusu into a spiral of stress, given her self-confessed inability to draw. Shinozaki, witnessing her distress as she sprints through the hallway, asks Shiori to offer some comfort.
Shiori’s interaction with Kurusu is heartwarming. They bond over their shared love for Meowtaro, and Shiori offers words of encouragement. She reassures Kurusu that it’s okay to have weaknesses and advises her to communicate her limitations to her manager. Taking this advice to heart, Kurusu opens up to her boss and sobs, leading to a touching moment of understanding and support between them.
Burnt-out gifted kids, WYA?
However, the episode’s climax is the competition results, which come with a series of unexpected twists. First, there’s the spectacle of Shinozaki, or so it seems, donning a Meowtaro suit. The sight of him in the adorable outfit draws attention, especially from the women in the office who are eager to hug the person inside. Shiori, feeling a pang of jealousy, also approaches for a hug. But in a comedic turn of events, she discovers that it’s not Shinozaki inside the suit but Akina, leading to a hilarious moment of disappointment.
The final surprise is the competition’s outcome. Despite all the buildup and anticipation, neither Shinozaki nor Kurusu clinch the title. Instead, the victory goes to Shinozaki’s coworker, who hadn’t even put in a genuine effort. The episode concludes on this ironic note, leaving viewers both amused and eager for the next installment.
Opinions / Analysis
We’re nearing the end of the season, so why does this feel like a middle-of-the-season episode? We got so little progress with Shiori/Shinozaki.
Also, I NEED MORE AKINA/HAYAKAWA! Where is the romance?! What even is this show? Did I just watch a slice-of-life office show?
Not only that, but all that bullcrap last episode about “Ooooo we’ll take Akina from yooouuu” absolutely fails. Entirely. Like even the boss admits she forgot about it. What kinda crap is that? Now you’re just lying to us?
I swear, this could’ve been a really cute sequence if maybe Shinozaki began to crack under stress and pressure and Shiori and him had a really soft cute moment late at the office where she helps him — or something like that. We would’ve gotten romantic development as well as seeing Shinozaki as an actual capable guy.
Instead, we got literally nothing because nothing happens. At the end of this episode, we’re just back to Status Quo.
Come on, My Tiny Senpai. You can do better! I’ve seen you do better!
I’m not feeling any urgency at all. Will the final episode even be with watching?