Swimsuits and keys.
Another week, another Nisekoi, except this time it’s swimsuit time. This is, after all, a high-school romcom, and every high-school romcom needs a swimsuit episode, whether it is at the beach or the pool. However, this fifth episode of Nisekoi, appropriately titled “Swimming”, manages to be more than just fanservice. Don’t get me wrong, “Swimming” had more fanservice than Nisekoi episodes one through four combined, but it also contained some vital plot development that will undoubtably have important ramifications in future episodes. Well, as important as plot development gets in Nisekoi, at least.
“Swimming” sees Miyamoto Ruri once again taking the initiative in setting up encounters between her friend Onodera and Ichijō, a role she played in “The Visit” as well. This time, however, Miyamoto really went all-out, by somehow signing Onodera up for a swim meet with the swim team (that Miyamoto is on) despite the fact that Onodera can’t swim, simply to set it up so that Ichijō would be responsible for teaching Onodera to swim. Setting up two teenagers with crushes on each other to spend time together in such an intimate manner is bound to cause tension, and it is this tension that Ruri hopes will blossom into love.
Miyamoto, Ichijō, and Onodera aren’t the only ones at the pool, though. Kirisaki and Maiko are there as well – Kirisaki to help her “boyfriend” instruct Onodera, and Maiko to, well, troll, as Maiko is wont to do. Unfortunately for Onodera, Kirisaki might be an excellent swimmer, but she is also a horrible instructor. Onodera does get a bit of relief, however, when Miyamoto coaxes Ichijō and Kirisaki into stating that they really weren’t up to anything lewd in the warehouse scene featured in the previous episode.
As aforementioned, though, one would be incorrect to assume that this episode was simply about swimsuits and swimming. Rather, we do get a moment of what I like to call significant “plot tease” wherein Ichijō notices a suspicios-looking key that Onodera left by her bag and uses it to attempt to open his gaudy locket. The tease part comes in wherein it is revealed that the key was not for the locket, but rather, for the girl’s locker room, much to Ichijō’s despair and misfortune. He’s only extricated from the situation when Miyamoto chooses to believe that he didn’t know what the key was for. All that aside, Ichijō does actually succeed in teaching Onodera some basics of swimming, albeit only to the level wherein she still needs a kick board.
The following day, however, Onodera’s lack of skill becomes the least of their worries as Kirisaki’s legs cramp whilst swimming. She nearly drowns, but is saved by Ichijō, who then attempts to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on her. Ichijō, however, really should have checked himself whether Kirisaki was breathing or not, rather than relying on the troll Maiko to do that for him. As expected, violence ensues. I must say, near-drowning has never been this funny.
All in all, it was another enjoyable episode of Nisekoi, if perhaps not quite as funny as last week’s. Still, we got tons of Miyamoto moments, which are always fantastic. I liked Ruri in the manga, but I think I like her even more in the anime, for some reason. Is it because all those Shaft directing touches make her stares and contemplative faces even more awesome? I don’t know. Needless to say, though, Miyamoto is a great character, not only because she frequently is the one responsible for moving the plot along, but because she does that in style.
Speaking of plot, Miyamoto’s confusion over the nature of Ichijō and Kirisaki’s relationship is quite intentional, since it is clear that the two are actually getting quite close to one another, in some sort or another. They might not have any chemistry, but proximity is an important factor in love, and they certainly have that in spades. Plus, whilst Ichijō is the sort of guy who would probably save any drowning individual, the fact that he saved Kirisaki may give her some things to think about.
Otherwise, this was the swimsuit episode, and it certainly delivered on swimsuits. I’m not normally one for fanservice…but how Shaft made this episode is how fanservice should be done. The fanservice in this episode was probably more effective in all of the fanservice in Infinite Stratos seasons one and two combined, and it was combined with humour that isn’t solely based on the fanservice itself.
Anyways, it is Nisekoi. If you’ve stuck around this far, you know what you are in for. Still, we should be getting some new additions to the cast in the next episode or two, so there’s always that to look forward to.
Episode Rating: 7.5/10
- That blood loss.
- Tōyama Nao is fantastic at stuttering. A weird compliment, perhaps, but I’ve noticed it in a handful of her roles. Besides Kirisaki, Sasaki Chiho from Hataraku Maō-sama and Yuigahama Yui from OreGairu come to mind.
- Those after-credit omake skits were hilarious, especially Ichijō’s enka.