In the previous episode of Pin to Kona (ぴんとこな), everybody got dressed up . . .

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. . . and Kyonosuke (Tamamori Yuta) finally worked up the courage to confess to Ayame (Kawashima Umika), and this time she didn’t interrupt him by talking about Ichiya (Nakayama Yuma)!

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Can’t say that she looks particularly happy with this turn of events, though:

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But since this is now a full-fledged romance drama with barely any drama, I know what comes next – the most irritating part in any romance story and the reason I have trouble with them – pointless delaying tactics on the way to the inevitable.

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And here’s the method of delay the writers have chosen – a new character we haven’t met before. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate when they introduce a new character deep in a drama in order to prolong a conflict that we know is already a fait accompli?

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Her name is Mizuki, she’s a model, and she was Kyonosuke’s first love. She claims that she’s afraid because she’s being followed by a stalker, but as they walk together (and she makes a point of locking arms and walking close to him) there’s a photographer in the bushes snapping every detail of the scene. It’s pretty clear that Mizuki has set him up in order to get some publicity for her faltering career (we found out she was having trouble in the previous episode).

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After the events of the party, in which Yuna (Yoshikura Aoi) did her best to humiliate and depress Ayame, Ichiya finds it necessary to say that Yuna doesn’t need to worry about Ayame anymore.

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But he also tells her what he learned from Shohei (Matsumura Hokuto) about what he and Yuna have been doing together.

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Rather than getting angry, he calls a truce, saying that they need each other and should stop trying to hurt one another.

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Do I really have to watch the rest of this episode? I know Kyonosuke has just fallen into Mizuki’s trap, that those photos that were taken are going straight to the tabloids, where they will break Ayame’s heart (again), and create the necessary stumbling-block to drag things on. Watching Kyonosuke being stupid enough to get tangled in Mizuki’s web is just nauseating.

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There’s at least a touch of humor when Kyonosuke gets back home and reacts to the events of the day.

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The next morning, Ayame finds out that her apartment building is scheduled for demolition, and she has to move out. Well, that’s an interesting development.

Kyonosuke getting told about the inevitable tabloid article – not so interesting.

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Nice touch having his father be the first one outraged by it, though.

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Ayame comes to school more concerned about where she’ll live, but she overhears others despairing over Kyonosuke’s supposed relationship.

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Do I even have to tell you how this conversation is going to go?

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And if you think it can’t get any worse, Kyonosuke gets a call from Mizuki. Wanna bet that she’s going to play the victim instead of the perpetrator and get him even deeper into the muck?

Oh, and Ichiya sees the article about Kyonosuke, too. No clear reaction, yet.

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The dastardly duo – Shohei and Yuna – have their own issues:

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This incident might make Ayame realize that she actually likes Kyonosuke (otherwise she wouldn’t be angry about him going out with someone else) . . .

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. . . but only if Kyonosuke doesn’t mess up any further, and we’ve got half an hour left for him to do that.

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Speaking of complicating things unnecessarily, Kyonosuke’s father still has immense trouble communicating with his son. It’s getting really critical now, though, as he needs to make some drastic medical decisions but can’t even come out and explain the situation to his son.

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All he manages to do is vent his frustration, and it’s pretty clear that he’s getting angry with his son when he’s really just unhappy with his own situation.

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Kyonosuke looks like he needs some advice . . .

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. . . but Shizu decides to take an approach simultaneously more direct – approaching Ayame herself – and indirect – asking Ayame to bring medicine to Kyonosuke who is performing in Osaka. Shizu claims that she can’t go because she’s also sick.

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This is . . . the stupidest and most roundabout way of resolving this situation . . .

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. . . and of course, the writers only chose to have Shizu come up with this plan because it allowed them to increase the tension – there’s too much time left in the episode otherwise.

Sure enough, after Ayame has a cute moment baking gingerbread cookies to take to Osaka, the crap hits the fan:

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I thought Yuna would be the most hateful and hated character in this drama, but the writers sure managed to top themselves with Mizuki. Now, if only they could make more characters that I like . . . .

Actually, Ichiya might finally win some points in this episode.

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I’d better not say anything more or I’ll ruin it for all of you – the ending was somewhat redeeming for the episode. While it had a good dismount, the pacing was extremely slow and tedious throughout. It really felt like Sprout this time, even down to the similarity in the names of the character I hated (Mizuki in this one, Miyuki in Sprout).

The fact that it was demonstrably predictable sure didn’t help matters, nor did Ayame’s weak reactions to everything. Kawashima Umika-chan really disappointed me this time – she showed neither sufficient emotion with regard to her apartment building being up for demolition, nor the trouble with Kyonosuke. Her response to Shizu’s plan was also . . . I think the right word for it is lame.

For the first time in this series, I didn’t really think Tamamori-kun held up his end of things, either. He also had rather understated reactions to everything. Kyonosuke has always been gullible, but he’s also been very expressive until this episode.

None of that is the weirdest thing about this episode. The strangest thing by far was the fact that it felt like the last episode. In fact, the only major conflict already introduced that hasn’t been dealt with is the illness of Kyonosuke’s father, so . . . what are they going to do for the next two episodes? Answer: they’re going to have to introduce new conflicts to keep things going.