When you're interested in someone, there are questions about their past that you shold not ask.
What They Say
Ryoshi hunts down answers about Ryoko's past with Onigashima High's student president. But he'll have to gain her trust to find out the truth.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the series progresses, we've gotten a good look at Ryoshi and the kind of guy he is. While he stated off as a pretty decent stalker to begin with, he was found to be useful within the Otogi Bank club and has managed to slowly but surely get closer to Ryoko. But as he gets closer to her, seeing the side of her that she hides from many with that tough exterior, he's learning more and more about her. But a lot of her past still eludes him and learning that Ryoko has a past with the club president has him even going to Ringo to try and understand what it is, not that she'd divulge anything like that to her.
This brings us to Ryoko's past a bit where we see that the things that happened between her and the president led to her being somewhat ostracized, with the girls being catty in claiming that he must have dumped her. Ryoko gets fairly withdrawn after this but she slowly starts to come back to reality after Ringo is sent off to get some paperwork delivered to her and she forces herself into Ryoko's life, becoming a friend without Ryoko having all that much choice in it. It's definitely cute seeing Ringo making it a fact whereas Ryoko doesn't even think such a thing has happened. Ringo's persistence and personality does the trick though and we know how it works out as she worms her way into Ryoko's life pretty easily, which has led to Ryoko having other interesting friends, even as she's still a bit on the social outside.
The episode does a good job of bringing us back to the past to see how Ringo and Ryoko became such good friends and the way they bonded together. Some of it is a bit too emotional considering the context, such as the fight Ryoko gets into with a bunch of the hoodlums she encounters picking on a weaker student, but that fits with the way they're trying to make it dramatic. It's just a bit too much in the context of what was going on. But understanding all of this explains why Ringo is so adamant that Ryoshi must find his own way to become strong and get closer to Ryoko so that she can open up to him in the same way she opened up to her, which is what's needed to truly solidify their relationship.
Okamisan has worked a couple of interesting episodes into its narrative so far and doing an episode that focuses heavily on Ryoko's past, as well as Ringo, is certainly expected and this is at about the right point. That they tie it into Ryoshi wanting to get to know her better so he can get closer works nicely and it's kept pretty much in tune with the real world nature of much of the series. Some of the things from the past make an amusing nod in the present, such as when her friends at the boxing gym see the two together at the end, but by and large this is about Ryoko and Ringo and it goes a long way towards making Ringo far less annoying than I found her to be for the most part. She's the standard short and cute girl who speaks of innocence that I generally dislike but they use her well here and she provides the right balance to Ryoko's personality and gives Ryoshi spot on advice not just for him, but for men in general interested in women.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.