Wow, it’s been a while since I wrote a Sprout review. No episode aired on August 25th because of the 24-hr TV telethon, then summer (the practical season, not the calendar one) ended, complicating the schedule of our wonderful and dedicated subtitlers. Thanks to arisu_subs for continuing to subtitle the series in the midst of other obligations.

Sprout Title

This episode picks up with the scene at the end of episode 7, with Souhei (Chinen Yuri) spotting Hayato (Lewis Jesse) kissing Miku (Morikawa Aoi), and not liking it very much.

The KissSouhei Looks On 1Souhei Looks On 2

Clearly, the weight of the story has shifted to Souhei and Miyuki (Kojima Fujiko), the once perfect couple now facing unexpected flaws in their relationship.

With that shift, the white cards that used to show Miku’s thoughts now contain Souhei’s, and we also hear his internal monologue.

Souhei Thinks! 1Souhei Thinks! 2Souhei Thinks! 3Souhei Thinks! 4

I’m hoping that the point-of-view shift will bring even more life to Souhei’s character, and it’ll also be interesting to see Miku from a distance.

Not Much Fun for Souhei

The story continues with the parents of Ikenouchi household leaving town for a retirement celebration trip.

No Parental Supervision 2

Souhei is given responsibility to take care of the house for the night that they’ll be away, which is . . . interesting.

No Parental Supervision 1

Takigawa (Hashimoto Ryosuke) will also be off on fan business.

Takigawa 1Takigawa 2

Kiyoka (Kawakita Mayuko) is left with household responsibilities as well, but when she tells Souhei and Miku that she actually plans to skip out, they resist . . .

Kiyoka Has Plans 1Kiyoka Has Plans 2Kiyoka Has Plans 3

. . . but she leaves anyway, leaving the two of them alone in the house.

Kiyoka Has Plans 4Kiyoka Has Plans 5

Will this lead to a breakdown of the equilibrium? Well, Souhei has a suggestion:

Souhei Has an Idea

So, Arata (Yasui Kentaro) and Takeru (Tanaka Juri) come over, and talk about how it would be to board in the huge Ikenouchi house:

Arata and Takeru 1Arata and Takeru 2Arata and Takeru 3

After trying her two best friends, Miku calls Hayato up, and he doesn’t hesitate for a second:

Hayato Confirms 1Hayato Confirms 2

Souhei’s response when Miku tells him Hayato’s coming was . . .

Souhei's Reaction 1Souhei's Reaction 2

. . . and when she says that she thought Souhei could have invited him:

Souhei's Reaction 3Souhei's Reaction 4Souhei's Reaction 5

Poor Souhei. And since Miku would be the only girl, she suggests that Souhei should invite Miyuki:

What About Miyuki? 1What About Miyuki? 2

Ah, but neither Souhei nor Miku knows that Miyuki has a thing for Hayato. I think we can see where things are headed here – one of them is going to find out.

We get a fun little scene between Souhei, Arata, and Takeru . . .

Soccer Buddies 1Soccer Buddies 2

. . . while Miku helps Miyuki settle in:

Miku and Miyuki 1Miku and Miyuki 2

This scene gives us an unpleasant taste about Miyuki. She comes off as fake and petty. That smile hides an intense jealousy, and if everything plays out in a satisfying way, that flaw in her character either needs to be fixed or will ultimately lead to her demise. Wait . . . do people meet their demise in stories like this?

Miyuki Has Issues 1Miyuki Has Issues 2

Miku goes shopping for groceries with Arata and Takeru, deliberately leaving Miyuki alone with Souhei. Is she doing it deliberately to prove to herself that she’s with Hayato now, or does she not even think about it anymore?

Out for Shopping

On the way, Miku predicts that they’ll meet Hayato’s younger brother Kou (Jinguji Yuta) at his favorite shop, and sure enough, he’s there:

Meeting Kou 1Meeting Kou 2

With Hayato’s arrival, the house is once again full of people, and bustling with activity.

Hayato Enters

The couples meet, and Souhei’s eyes follow Miku. Miyuki, of course, notices.

The Couples Meet 1The Couples Meet 2The Couples Meet 3

Hayato has a subtle sense of humor:

Hayato's Humor 1Hayato's Humor 3Hayato's Humor 4Hayato's Humor 5

It’s dinner time, but the soccer buddies (Arata, Takeru, and Kou) find out that the Ikenouchi household doesn’t get the game, so they bolt to Arata’s house midway through the meal.

No BS? 2

Takeru, though, has one last thing to say to Hayato, recalling that hug Miyuki gave him:

Takeru and Hayato 1Takeru and Hayato 2Takeru and Hayato 3

Hayato looks a bit more guilty about the incident than he ought to be. Does he have feelings for Miyuki? (I’m really, really hoping the answer is no to this one)

Hayato's Reaction

Anyway, it’s just the two couples in the house now, and we’re way past the halfway point in the episode, so . . . is something going to happen, or not?

This was a slow, sleepy sort of episode, continuing the tortured pace of the last episode. Heck, even the characters went to bed in the middle of it:

The Characters Go To Sleep 1The Characters Go To Sleep 2

Emotional turmoil was also minimal. While the ending signaled that the next episode will be a bit more involved, the way the cliffhanger was handled disappointed me. It was . . . weak. I think it was literally the least interesting way that they could have introduced the next stage of the conflict.

So, let’s hope we get some real fireworks in the next episode, because this drama is once again testing my patience.