by Theron Martin,
Kosaki mentioned once in the first season that she had a younger sister, and her sister Haru did appear briefly in episode 5 of this season but was never formally introduced. (The story involving Marika's parrot was apparently adapted out of sequence, hence the reason why Haru wandered off before Raku met up with Kosaki in that episode.) Here, though, she gets her full and proper debut as she ages into high school, which also finishes out the introductions of all of the characters who appear in the opener. And as one might expect, her presence is just going to complicate things further for Raku.
Possibly the best joke in the episode is that, based on what Haru has heard, Raku has quite the reputation: despite having a gorgeous girlfriend, he also has shady family connections and is positively beastly when it comes to stealing the hearts of pretty girls. (I, at least, consider this a joke because, while you might occasionally see other boys get aggravated by a male harem lead having so much nubile female attention, you almost never see this expressed as a negative by other girls in anime.) That Raku accidentally catches glimpses of her panties on two different occasions on her first day certainly does not help the impression he makes on Haru (never mind that it wasn't his fault on either occasion that he saw them), and Kosaki is unable to convince her that Raku actually is a decent guy; Haru instead just feels that her older sister is too taken with Raku to see his true nature, and the fact that he was feeding animals or helping her carry papers to the teacher's office be damned. The catch here, of course, is that she is completely unaware that Raku is also the “prince” who saved her when she was being harassed by some older guys on her way to school that first morning; she never saw his face because she got so anxious from the confrontation that she passed out. At the end of the episode she has Raku's locket, which he had dropped, so she is eventually going to find out the truth, and then all kinds of emotional hell will no doubt ensue for her. Watching how the other girls react when Haru finally figures things out should also be amusing.
So based on this episode, Haru is going to fulfill the role of the girl who sees Raku as the Enemy of Womankind but still winds up falling for him anyway. That overlaps her a bit with both Chitoge and Seishiro, so that may mean that this particular harem scenario has reached its expansion limit. The potential for sisterly romantic conflict is a little interesting, but she does not add the immediate spark that new additions did in their turns. Potentially more interesting is that Paula McCoy, Seishiro's rival from episode 2, is also back and a student at the same high school, so she is now looking like a regular cast member. The consequences of that remain to be seen, as she only briefly meets and interacts with both Haru and Seishiro this episode, but probably have more potential to be lively. At least Haru does set up one of the other actually funny moments in the episode: that Marika's first reaction to hearing that Raku saw Haru's panties was to wonder what type she was wearing today.
By the standards of this franchise, the fan service quotient is upped considerably for this episode, with some late bathing scenes proving sexier than anything else to date this season. Otherwise the artistic effort is pretty standard except for one perspective shot which weirdly elongates a bed. (This is a common problem in anime, though.) The character designer did do a good job of making Haru look like her sister but also still her own distinct character, however. A new closer focuses on Haru and her dreams of her prince, which features a horse which is probably meant to have a strawberry for a tail but sure comes off looking like the horse has a giant strawberry jammed into its rear. Seriously; watch the closer and try to tell me that you don't immediately get that impression, too!
Overall, despite the new character introduction, this is a pretty blah episode.
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