Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki
by Kim Morrissy,
How would you rate episode 13 of
Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki ?
The Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki anime is back with a half-length OVA episode. This one focuses on the soft-spoken and angelic Kikuchi, who despite her valuable supporting role spent most of the anime's runtime on the sidelines. As usual for these kinds of bonus episodes, this was nothing too substantial as far as the story went, but it was nice to spend time with these characters again.
Funnily enough, even though this was her spotlight episode, Kikuchi still spent most of it shrinking away from social interactions. It's quickly established that she has a good rapport with her co-workers at the café she works part-time at, but when Tomozaki and the others show up unannounced, she avoids serving them herself and instead watches them anxiously from a distance. Honestly, I can't blame her one bit because I would absolutely do the exact same thing in her shoes.
What makes this episode interesting is the contrast between the positions of Kikuchi and Tomozaki. They've always been good foils for each other because they're both introverts who spend a lot of time simply watching other people. Although Tomozaki is part of a group with Hinami, Yuzu, Mizusawa, and Takei, he doesn't actively contribute much to the conversations, only making thoughtful comments here and there. But the fact that he puts himself out there at all makes him different from Kikuchi, who can only really thrive in a one-on-one environment.
My favorite part of the episode is when Kikuchi's co-worker remarks on how good-looking everyone in Tomozaki's group is. There's a brief fake-out moment when he suggests that one guy in the group isn't handsome, but when he describes the guy as buff instead it becomes clear that he's talking about Takei rather than Tomozaki. Little observations like this go a long way towards affirming Tomozaki's evolution. It's one thing to have a friend tell you about how much your appearance has improved, and quite another for a stranger to casually acknowledge you as handsome without a second thought. The latter is when you really know you've made it. Kikuchi's quiet pride represents how we're all feeling about Tomozaki.
Other highlights of this episode include Mizusawa's extended talk about his crush and Hinami's reaction to it all. It's a reminder that their dynamic was one of the more interesting in the series. They're playing 5D chess against each other and everyone is oblivious to it, except for Tomozaki who was there when Mizusawa actually confessed to her. Ultimately, the conversation doesn't really go anywhere, but once again it's nice to see the sharp character writing persist even in a "filler" OVA.
Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki is currently streaming on Funimation Entertainment.
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