Ootsuki Hijiri is about to enter his second year of high school–but he’s spending his spring break before school starts moving into a sharehouse with new roommates. His mother is friends with the building’s owner, and their son–“Igarashi”-san–lives there with three other people (four now, with Hijiri). While Hijiri’s mother had assured him that Igarashi was a lovely person who would help out Hijiri with any problems he might have…first impressions suggest otherwise.
Igarashi definitely does not come off all sunshine and daisies, but before Hijiri can get too overwhelmed, voices from behind herald the arrival of three new faces–the other residents of the sharehouse! They were out getting food for Hijiri’s welcoming party and are eager to introduce themselves.
Amamiya: “I’m Amamiya Riku! I work at a daycare center!”
Matsuyuki: “Matsuyuki Kei; I’m a college student.”
Hoshi: “…I’m Hoshi.”
They further do the honors of introducing Igarashi and then proceed to do their best to help Hijiri get settled in, taking his luggage up to his room before settling down for dinner, toasting to the new arrival.
When asked what brings someone so young to the sharehouse, Hijiri explains that his mother is being transferred overseas for work, and to save Hijiri from having to go with her, she’s asked her good friend–Igarashi’s mother–to take him in.
Matsuyuki furtively asks Hijiri for his first impressions of Igarashi, but before Hijiri can voice his confusion at the question, Hoshi jumps in with, “You think he’s creepy, right?” and after the trio make sure Igarashi is distracted, they let Hijiri in on a few secrets.
Matsuyuki: “He seems a little scary at first blush, but he’s really a nice guy.”
Amamiya: “Yup. Though he’s a little tough to read since he hardly ever talks.”
They urge him to take the time to have a conversation with Igarashi, confident that Igarashi will appreciate the effort, as he’s not a bad person despite appearances.
Amamiya then goes on to remind Hijiri of the one rule he must abide by while under their sharehouse roof: Never ever enter the others’ rooms uninvited.
Igarashi returns, and before they break, the group let Hijiri know he’ll be in charge of the next evening’s meal. It’s a rather quirky group of roommates indeed.
Hijiri is in the middle of unpacking, relieved to see that he’ll likely fit in just fine here, when Matsuyuki pops in to remind him to hop in the shower–as he’s the last one. Seeing that Hijiri is still unpacking, Matsuyuki offers to help, and when Hijiri assures him there’s no need to go out of his way, Matsuyuki brushes off the concern–it’s not something he’s used to doing, but a certain daycare worker could probably help out.
Speaking of the devil, Matsuyuki catches sight of someone out of the corner of his eye and waves them over.
Matsuyuki: “Get in there and help Ootsuki-kun unpack.”
Hijiri: /THAT’S NOT AMAMIYA-SAN./
In the bath, Hijiri reflects on the awkward experience of unpacking with Igarashi–but since the others maintain he’s a nice guy, he probably is.
The next evening, Hijiri is in charge of dinner, and…
It leaves something to be desired.
Hijiri admits he’s not really good in the kitchen–contrary to popular belief that sons of working mothers should be able to take care of themselves, Hijiri is a mess when it comes to chores like this.
But as the trio are gaping in shock at his useless cooking skills…Igarashi is actually eating it and seeming to enjoy it even, claiming that if he thinks of the meal as fish guts, it’s a perfect bitter flavor. While having your cooking compared to “fish guts” is hardly high praise, Igarashi seems to be enjoying the meal, and the others agree to tuck in as well.
Afterwards, Hoshi reminds Hijiri that the fact that they all finished the practically inedible food Hijiri prepared was all thanks to Igarashi.
Hoshi: “If Igarashi-kun hadn’t taken that first bite, none of us would’ve even touched our plates probably… So see? It’s all thanks to Igarashi-kun, right? He’s a nice guy, right? You see now, don’t you??”
Hijiri is more than a little confused at his roommates’ insistence that he see Igarashi as a “nice guy”. He wonders if they’ve realized that he was initially afraid of Igarashi and are just trying to make him feel less unsettled around the guy.
He feels ashamed that he’s come off this way and resolves to try and be more proactive in being friendly with Igarashi.
He starts off slow–offering a morning greeting, and while there’s a bit of difficulty initially, mostly involving Igarashi outright ignoring him, he eventually receives a Good morning in return–it’s a step in the right direction!
When Igarashi returns home that evening, he cheerfully welcomes him back and pours a cup of warm tea, prodding Igarashi for hints as to what his favorite food is. When Igarashi wants to know why he’s asking, Hijiri explains that he’s planning on cooking Igarashi’s favorite meal the next evening–though all he receives in response is a narrowed, suspicious gaze.
The other three roommates are in good spirits, approving of the way Igarashi’s mood has improved since Ootsuki’s arrival. His very expressions have softened, even–it’s obvious to onlookers. Hijiri doesn’t quite understand; how has he had any remote effect on Igarashi?
Igarashi arrives home in the middle of the conversation, and Hijiri quickly sets out dinner for him and the others. When Igarashi notices Hijiri staring at him and calls him on it, Hijiri quickly apologizes, not having realized what he was doing.
He doesn’t notice anything improved in Igarashi’s mood…but then again, he’s still new in the house, so that’s hardly unexpected.
Hijiri: /But thinking that he might be growing fond of me…makes me kind of happy!/
Igarashi catches him hauling in a bag of fertilizer later, and when he asks what it’s for, Hijiri explains that he kind of wants to start a little garden on the veranda outside his room. He asks Igarashi for some suggestions on what he should grow–explaining that he’ll grow whatever Igarashi likes.
After a length pause, Igarashi bites out, “…Please stop that.” Hijiri is confused–stop what? “Please stop trying to strike up conversations with me. What’s the point in sucking up to me? Or are you plotting something?”
TO BE CONTINUED…