It’s quite safe to assume now that Hourou Musuko is indeed a slice of life. Yes, it might be in a strange premise with unique aspirations for each character as a result, but it takes it’s pace loftily, with no rush to make a story happen. In fact, this episode emphasized how the focus lazily passes by a multitude of characters, making small steps forward for them as each event passes.
Focus wise, the story continues on with the interactions of Chiba with the other characters, especially Nitori, but also makes strides to significantly develop Yoshino…and a lesser extent Anna.
With this episode we get to see more of Chiba’s…complexities to put it softly. Yes, she might have a brush-off attitude when it comes to anyone except Nitori, but her reasons for doing so do have some ground. The way she’s struggling to write this play while also handling her conflicting emotions between loving Nitori and despising Yoshino naturally plays out. It accents that move from innocence as all of them entered middle school. The way that Chiba handles her emotions…aka going to church, bluntly stating her mind, all tie into the struggles of growing up and coming to terms with oneself. The story isn’t making a big statement in this regard, but gently reminds us of those times we experienced as we stroll through the story.
We also catch glimpses of Yoshino’s crisis and her path through it with Nitori. After what was a dramatic coming to terms with her puberty, we face how each support one another in pursuing their dreams nonetheless, in becoming their other gender. Add onto this a Nitori who’s still trying to figure out his emotions for Yoshino, add in a play that serves a larger purpose, and you get a magical glimpse into a rare situation that examines two crises, admittedly one more common than the other. It’s nice though that they can still be friends and support each other through the ordeal, but it’ll be interesting to see when that support isn’t all cheery, as Yoshino hints at this episode of her lingering conscience of her figure.
However, one of the more subtle developments come from the side of the side characters, Anna. Indeed growing fans will come to appreciate her emotionally restraint character, but there are many hints through the episode that we will be seeing more into her own struggles and interactions, especially with Nitori. The symbolism that revolves around the keychain she selected, apparently as an apology towards Nitori, either indicates poor taste in keychains or something else. Either way, I personally am excited to see more of her character, which is a unique personality set in itself.