So adorable. It took a while to reach here, but it was well worth it.
Courtship rites seem quite unfair for men. Kaoru has the courage to confess to Ritsuko, and she rejects him. He decides to respectfully (but sorrowfully) back off.
He even has the fever-induced courage to ask her why she gave him the mittens when he knew she was in love with Sentarou. And what does he get for all his trouble?
That’s right, she accuses him of not having any confidence! No, he wasn’t keeping his distance because he doesn’t have any confidence. He was keeping his distance because he genuinely likes and respects you and because you rejected him. Kaoru does all the hard parts with dignity and respect, and it’s still not good enough!
Oh well, it worked out in the end, I suppose.
This show continues to struggle with showing the passage of time. In this episode we have another time skip where Kaoru says that it’s summer. But you have to piece together the pieces and remember that it was just winter to actually realize how much time has passed. It still doesn’t feel like any time has passed at all, though. The creators need some way to *show* that time has passed rather than just telling us: for example, show some actual changes in the characters.
Now we know how Kaoru feels about Sentarou.