There’s no question that Tonikaku Cawaii is a couple show. A romance about two people who’re married by the end of the premiere certainly qualifies. Up to this point it’s been not just that, but basically a series where the entire world has been those two people. Apart from small cameos like the Kuroneko driver or the licensing office clerk, it’s been just Nasa and Tsukasa. But as I’ve found myself saying quite frequently about this show, there’s more to it than what you’ve seen so far.
That includes the cast of course, and the process of changing that begins with this third episode. How welcome that is depends on a couple of factors I suppose – how much you like Nasa and Tsukasa, and how much you like the new characters. I like the former an awful lot – I think they’re an extremely winning couple. As for the bathhouse sisters, they’re not my absolute favorite element in Tonikaku Cawaii if I’m honest. But I do think this series works better when the world is expanded, and this setting is definitely a part of that.
Those sisters are the Arisugawa siblings. Younger sister Kaname (Serizawa Yuu) is 15, and elder sister Aya (Uesaka Sumire, who seems to be in just about everything these days) 17. We meet Kaname first, and she’s hardly a shrinking violent. It’s clear she has a long-standing sibling style relationship with Nasa, who she loves to torture despite the fact that he saved their family business after their father pillaged the accounts and abandoned them. Aya seems more complicated – when Kaname hears Nasa and Tsukawa are married (and is stunned) she unilaterally decides that Aya will not be made privy to this information.
For the record, these old family-style sento are often run much as described here. There’s usually a woman manning the front, and the women (it’s always women in my experience) don’t hesitate to enter the men’s bath to clean or even schmooze with the regulars. It’s usually an obaba though, which somehow is less awkward – certainly I would imagine it’d be for Nasa than Kaname strolling in to make double-entendres about his junk. Meanwhile Tsukasa meets Aya on the women’s side, and wisely plays along with not revealing the whole truth.
Aya is an odd duck to be sure, a rather overwrought personality on the whole. But even if Nasa honestly has no idea it’s pretty obvious to the rest of us that Aya has a thing for Nasa. The aforementioned business-saving has something to do with it – Nasa is a master at anything involving technical know-how and not common sense – but the two were also classmates in middle school. But while Nasa certainly has a libido (as Kaname has apparently seen first-hand evidence of) he seems to have never cast it in Aya’s direction.
This is not exactly the onsen episode of Nasa’s dreams, but it’s amusing enough. I prefer the sisters in small doses and this dosage is pushing it, but it’s an introduction episode for them. I also really enjoyed the cooking sequence at the beginning and the misunderstanding at the end, which are full of the simple charm that’s common to the domestic moments with Nasa and Tsukasa. But while this episode certainly expanded the narrative’s world, it left all the big questions pretty much unaddressed. Will this person have anything to do with answering – or at least asking – them?