Kotoura-san is determined to keep the audience on tenterhooks, not letting them settle into any sort of comfort level. After the drama of episode 1 broke Haruka down and then lit a candle in the darkness named Manabe-kun, and episode 2 reminded Haruka of the bullying of her past by the jealous Moritani, only to have Manabe be a stand up guy and defend her as well as confess his interest in her and bring Haruka some new friends, episode 3 seems like it’s the time where the funny parts are going to start, and we’ll leave that sadness behind.
And the show seems like it’s going to deliver on that. We get some fun scenes about Haruka and Manabe walking into class together to find that their classmates have put a love umbrella on the board with their names under it – and Manabe chastises them for leaving the hearts off of it! There’s also the ongoing saga of Daichi and Yuriko, the senpais in the ESP Research Club, who have a very close relationship, but will only admit that they are childhood friends. And Daichi manages to tease Haruka enough to get wrapped up and hung from the ceiling. And the other bit of fun is that they go out for karaoke, although they find out that Haruka is… not a good singer, but everyone still has fun. The last bit of joking is about Manabe’s lunch, and how Haruka should make it for him, rather than buying bread or convenience store lunches. And it’s as they split up the next day that the show again pulls the drama out.
Moritani hasn’t forgotten that Manabe likes Haruka, and not her. So when a bunch of her family’s dojo students say they’ll do anything for her, she gets a wicked look. And as Haruka and Manabe split up on the way home, we see 4 goons watching them. From there, the show raises tension excellently, not letting on whether they’re after Haruka or Manabe. And given the way anime has been going lately, my fear was that they were going after Haruka. But these guys didn’t go that far, and were actually after Manabe. And when he realizes that they’re after him in particular, he decides to take the gloves off. I’ll be honest, I thought his boasting about his karate skills in the first episode was just being a goof, the normal high school boasting. But when the goons get back to the dojo, they’re a mess, and Moritani wants to know what happened. And she’s not very reassured by they’re “I don’t think he’s dead”.
So as Haruka wonders where Manabe is the next morning, the teacher walks in with an announcement, and she knows immediately. But so does Moritani, and Haruka knows that Moritani does, and Moritani knows that she knows. And as Moritani loses her cool, realizing it’s her fault, and afraid she’ll be exposed, the only thing Haruka says is “It’s ok” before running out of the classroom to the hospital.
Happy to see Manabe is not too hurt, she is outside the room when she overhears his thoughts about how he’s glad that Haruka wasn’t there, and wasn’t directly involved. Hearing this, Haruka realizes that she’s still causing trouble for other people, and even though she’s been so happy, she’s still a problem. And with that, she vows to disappear and does, leaving Manabe wondering where she is, and sad that he couldn’t protect her.
Moritani is the bad again. After getting verbally smacked down by Manabe after bullying Haruka, she turns her ire on Manabe himself. Lying to the men from her dojo, she says that he’s been stalking her, making them think he’s a bad guy. And after they return all beat up, she realizes that she’s screwed up, but won’t admit to herself that she’s at fault. It takes Haruka accepting and forgiving her, without mentioning her misdeeds, to realize that Manabe was exactly right, and Moritani has been wrong, so wrong. Perhaps this is the thing that changes her from an enemy of Haruka to a friend of Haruka. But Haruka will have to come back before that can happen.
Besides Moritani’s ugly jealousy, there’s not anything the show’s doing wrong, in my opinion. It might be a little overdramatic, but it works for the show, and it’s consistent.