The conclusion of the Kaoru arc is about as contrived as humanly possible. They are first picked up by a semi-truck at the rest stop. They end up conveniently staying at a hot spring inn. After that, they wander around the local town which is on the beach before they are rescued by a familiar face. They also argue and frolic a bunch in between.
Since I’ve brilliantly summarized the episode above in my fancy MS Paint graphic, I’ll just cut to the chase and get to what I liked and disliked in this episode.
The relationship between Kaoru and Junichi is probably my favorite on a basic “the world would be a better place if all relationships looked like this” level. They argue with each other over minute things, but it never becomes hostile. They even trade barbs back and forth about each others weak points. It’s more like they are best friends who just happen to be dating though they don’t know how to do the dating part well. There’s just something fun about these two just having fun together that makes me feel better.
As for the bad parts of this episode, there are a few. The frolicking on the beach montage at the end was a way to cover up for the fact that they only had 18 minutes of content to fit into 22. The constant reminders that Kaoru had lost her bra because of a monkey were annoying. Junichi instantly falling asleep when Kaoru wanted to talk seemed a bit insensitive. The contrivances in this episode beginning with the semi-truck showing up at an empty rest stop all the way to Umehara showing up on his fishing boat are ridiculous as well. Probably the worst part of all was that by the end of the episode, it’s pretty much illustrated that their relationship hasn’t really developed at all. They had fun on their journey, but that was about it.
Next week sees the return of the Sae arc. That wasn’t a particularly memorable arc from the first season apart from the fact that it had a narrator. Actually, Nakata Jouji was probably the best character in that arc. I hope he’s back to voice the narrator again. I’m assuming this will have Sae actually working at the cafe now, but still lacking in confidence so Junichi the Instructor will have to come in. At least the Haruka arc is in 2 weeks.