In all honesty, my favorite part of the manga is the chapter with the umbrella. It points out that for all of Tomoko’s anxiety and social withdrawal, people are willing to be helpful to her and show her kindness (meaning she can find friends if she looked for them). And while that is in this episode, it takes up only five minutes of this 23 minute episode (20 if you forget about the opening and closing). The remaining time is spent on her forgetting her textbook and trying to catch her brother’s cold.
It’s still enjoyable to watch (and still slightly cringe-worthy), it does show that there is a set format for this series, which isn’t bad (formulas can give storytellers good jumping off points for their stories), but does seem to diminish the impact of Tomoko’s suffering. If the story is always set to make her suffer, then why are we watching this series either hoping or expecting that something different will happen?
Which is why the umbrella section works so well in this episode. especially after last episodes 1-2 punch of misery on Tomoko, seeing her receive ANY amount of kindness is refreshing. It makes the episode stand out, even this early in the run. I hope that they do break away from the formula, though. Otherwise, it will be monotonous and boring to watch.