Shinobu Morita is AWOL for this block, having headed off to America for a job. The problem, however, is two-fold: most of the humor is now gone (a majority of the humor is his insane antics) and the plot of the Shinobu-Hagu-Yuta triangle is grinded to a complete halt. This is unfortunate: that plot was actually kind of cute and interesting. That means that most of this block focuses on the Ayumi-Takumi-Riki love triangle, which is unbearably dull.
Takumi’s best role in the series has been to be the proxy adult, the only grounded person in a cast of weirdos. He is, however, the reminder that the manga was written for a Josei audience. Ayumi is hopelessly in love with him, but he can’t see her as anything other than a friend. His love goes to Rika, an older woman whose husband died in an accident before the series and who constantly pushes him away. That should be interesting, right?
Of course it isn’t. Takumi himself is a blank slate character. His attraction to Rika is one which, I can only assume, is meant to be wish fulfillment for the older women reading the manga and, by extension, watching the series. It’s bland and moves at a snails pace and causes the audience to only like Takumi less (especially since Ayumi is second only to Shinobu for best character in the show).
I hope Shinobu returns soon. This series has grinded to a screeching halt in the meantime and fully went melodramatic. I can only hope that it will end soon.