The layers are deception are slowly being peeled back, one by one.
Chihaya's early days at the Ward Office, where she - like Lucy - dressed frumpily, saving her creativity for her cosplay moments. I'll be honest and say that while I understand what the show was trying to do here, it doesn't really explain anything as far as I'm concerned. It seems as if Chihaya was drawn-in by Ichimiya's sob story about being a father figure to his sister, and developed a sort of quasi-brocon affection towards him when he slipped into Onii-san mode with her. Is that really a strong basis around which to build a relationship? I suppose there's an implication there that Chihaya's stern exterior is a front and she's actually a lonely kid underneath, but the whole thing is pretty much a whiff for me. What did work, though, was the scene where he told her to make sure she didn't catch a cold cosplaying in a suggestive outfit at Comiket, and she first kissed and then slapped him. "I'm unable to put into words how I feel about that." she says, "So I expressed it objectively." It was the best moment so far centered around that pairing.
grade-school picture of him), who she describes as "her type" though she did refuse when he asked her out in the same sort of anti-Yutaka attack he tried with Lucy. That whole dynamic is an odd one, too, no less so because we find out later in the episode that Kaoru is engaged to be married. I'm not sure to who - I can't imagine it could be Jyouji (maybe it'll be Momoi for all I know), but the timing of all this is suspicious to say the least.
Lucy and Chihaya off to buy a skirt for the date, and the three-way dinner between Lucy, Saya and Kaoru where the Jyouji flashbacks play out. The salient point that emerges from the shopping trip is confirmation of Lucy's low opinion of herself, which Chihaya rightfully scolds her for. Lucy can't even imagine why "someone like me" could even be in a middlebrow boutique looking at skirts, never mind the object of real affection from a guy who isn't a complete loser. It's still not 100% clear how Lucy got the way she did but it's quite sad to see, and despite Chihaya's continued attempts to denigrate Hasebe in Lucy's eyes - which even she is starting to lose her enthusiasm for - she tells Lucy that her lack of self-respect is also a lack of respect for the people who think highly of her, especially Hasebe. It's an excellent and very penetrating observation that fits the moment perfectly, and one we don't see made in anime often enough.
Tosho card", a sort of bookstore-only gift certificate - often with limited-edition art - that's given to frequent bookstore shoppers when they spend enough.
Hasebe's devastation at hearing this news is the last nail in the coffin of any self-deceit that he's not nuts about Lucy. When he finds out the truth he smashes his phone in disgust (and relief) and tells Lucy he was planning on getting rid of all the girls' numbers and emails anyway, because "she's the only girl he needs". Lucy is incredibly dense (and naïve about relationships, as witness her cluelessness about the implications of telling Hasebe she’ll “Do her best to accompany him till the end!” of their date) but even she must surely start getting the picture soon (subconsciously she probably has already) - it's only her truly impressive lack of self-worth that's allowed her to believe Hasebe isn't nuts for her for this long. Hasebe has admitted the truth to himself - the question is, what will Lucy do once she's finally done the same? Presumably that's what this season is building towards, with what happens afterwards likely a part of any second season that might come down the line. Given the solid if unspectacular week 1 sales for the first volume (about 4200 units) that seems like a real possibility, though no sure thing. Given that this is one of the better romantic pairings of any anime for a good long time, I certainly hope it happens.