With Valentine’s Day approaching, episode 5 of Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable showcases our lovely gals making chocolates to share at school as part of the Japanese high school tradition. The episode contains very little ecchi content, instead putting emphasis on Minami and Sayuri’s deep and conflicted emotions about who Tsubasa truly is to them. As Minami and Sayuri bake and hand out chocolates, the love triangle in Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable gets ever more interesting on this romantic day.
Super Bitter, Super Sweet
At the start of the episode, Minami, Tsubasa, Sayuri, and other friends from school hit up karaoke for some fun. Minami is, unsurprisingly, a charmingly good singer and entertainer as she belts out her favorite song. Without hesitating, Minami brings up the subject of Valentine’s Day, which of course would send any group of growing teenagers into an embarrassing frenzy. Tsubasa starts to think whether he’ll receive chocolate from Minami or not, and feels a pang of jealousy when she mentions she’ll be giving chocolate to another guy.
There are two important kinds of Valentine’s Day chocolate in Japan: “obligation/courtesy” chocolate (giri choko), and “romance/favorite” chocolate (hommei choko). The “giri choko” is given out of politeness and Japanese customs, as even non-romantic coworkers in Japan will give each other chocolates on Valentine’s Day.
The second type is chocolate that you give to someone you have a romantic interest in. Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable episode 5 touches on this culture quite a bit as one of the girls in the karaoke scene even jokes about giving the boys some “giri choko”.
Minami is the kind of social butterfly to give chocolates to dozens of people, as she brags about making over 50 pieces of chocolate to give away last year at school. Sayuri, a dedicated gamer, has little experience in the kitchen, but calls Minami for advice on how to make chocolates.
After a hesitant, but brave, question to Sayuri about her feelings on Tsubasa, Minami has an accident in the kitchen which leads all of her beautiful chocolates covered in soy sauce and ruined.
Though obviously upset about the accident, Minami shows up to school with bought chocolate: Hokkaido’s famous and exclusive white chocolate Black Thunder bars. This candy is one of Hokkaido’s most famous souvenirs, and you’ll find it all over the prefecture.
Something that really shocked me about Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable episode 5 is how a boy in Minami’s class responded to her giving out bought chocolate instead of homemade goods. Minami may come on strong when she flirts, but she is actually a kind and caring person, so it’s hard to imagine someone being unkind to her over something so trivial as Valentine’s Day candy.
My favorite part of the episode is when Sayuri steps in, defending Minami and telling the rude boy in her class that she’ll “pound” him if he treats Minami that way again.
Feeling crushed by the thought of letting her classmates down, Minami breaks down in tears before Tsubasa. In a heartwarming way, Tsubasa lifts her spirits by playing the exact same song she had sung in karaoke on the piano. It’s no wonder these girls are already falling head over heals for Tsubasa – he really knows how to cheer a woman up.
The episode ends with Sayuri giving chocolate to both Tsubasa and Minami. Episode 5 is filled with many warm and light moments, yet it also harbors subtle tones of jealousy and emotional tension stemming from the unavoidable love triangle.
We’ll have to wait just a few more days for Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable episode 6 – which will be the halfway point of the series. There are more characters to be introduced, so I look forward to seeing how the anime’s romance shifts from here.
Images via Crunchyroll
© Kai Ikada, Shueisha / Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable Production Committee