Episode 7 of “Terrace House” picks up on the rooftop of the house without missing a beat. After the other members turn in for the night, Haruka and Risako remain to see who can get more alone time with Kenny, but eventually Haruka throws in the towel. For the moment, anyway.
Kenny asks Risako if Haruka has a crush on anyone in the house, and Risako confirms that Haruka does but refuses to say who it is. Haruka recently mentioned that she’s kind of over Ruka and is now into Kenny, but Risako obviously doesn’t want to encourage this romance as she has also flipped from Ruka to Kenny.
Risako changes the subject and asks Kenny if he likes Kaori. He says he doesn’t, adding they don’t hang out much. Just as Risako mentions that, well, she and Kenny never hang out, Kenny reverts the conversation back to Haruka — gah! Kenny, stop torturing this poor girl.
For the rest of the episode, we see Risako and Haruka playing tug-of-war over Kenny, both of them trying to prevent the other from nabbing any alone time with him. While Kenny is teaching Risako how to make coffee, Haruka pulls him aside to ask about their upcoming date. Just as they are confirming the details, Risako comes over with the quintessential millennial problem: Does anyone have a phone charger? Instead of hunting one down elsewhere, she just plops down on the couch and puts an end to their conversation.
The next day, Risako and Kenny have their first official date, which involves shopping for Mother’s Day presents and getting lunch at Little Bondi cafe — when it finally happens. Kenny pays for the meal. This sets off the narrative for the rest of the episode as Risako can’t stop talking about his grand gesture.
That night she tells the girls about the date, including that Kenny paid for her meal, which made her feel like a real woman. Haruka politely listens at first but tries to throw cold water on the whole situation by saying that any 32-year-old would naturally pay for a 20-year-old, a biting comment that doesn’t get much reaction out of Risako or Kaori, but gets commentator You to re-enact the moment with dramatic flare.
Finally, the man of the hour, Kenny, shows up back at the house more than a little tipsy. The girls see this as a chance to mess with him, inviting him to their girls chat and asking him about the date — where he paid for the meal! When he leaves to put away his stuff, Risako abruptly mentions that since day one she knew she and Haruka would be interested in the same people, effectively drawing a line in the sand and bringing this particular love triangle to the surface.
When Kenny returns, Risako thanks him for, yes, paying for her meal with a deep bow as Haruka watches. Kenny even tells Haruka that he had so much fun with Risako because she acted so womanly on their date. Great, now he’s torturing Haruka.
A few days later, Haruka and Kenny have their date, a concert in Daikanyama. One of the performers that night is none other than Yusuke Aizawa, the infamously innocent ukulele player from “Terrace House: Aloha State” two seasons ago! What a small, unscripted world we live in!
After the show, the two grab dinner and let all of their feelings out. Haruka flatly tells Kenny that she found him very unattractive the night when he came home drunk and complained about having to get up and perform at a concert the next day.
Instead of trying to save face, Kenny confesses that recently he’s been frustrated with his band as he thinks he’s not getting any better while his former bandmates are succeeding in the music industry. Haruka empathizes, saying that although she’s been cast in TV shows and movies, she’s still jealous of other actresses who get to work in high-profile roles or with talented directors.
The conversation reeks of “rich Tokyoites,” but still it’s honest: Here are two young people who’ve landed their dream jobs and are now wondering what comes next. It was honestly a welcome conversation that reminded me of when Kenny and Kaori talked so openly about work and money.
With her first direct question being a hit, Haruka follows up with another: Do you like Risako? Kenny lobs back a very blunt answer: Yes. So it seems like the game is over since the two are into each other and Haruka isn’t a contender. But wait, what’s this? Kenny pays for the meal. What does this mean?
While the Risako-Kenny-Haruka love triangle is boiling over, a new love triangle is bubbling underneath. Ruka returns from Hokkaido (I swear I saw him bring back a bag of Shiroi Koibito cookies), and he has a story to tell. Instead of confessing to housemate Shohei that night, he chooses to wait until the two share a candlelit dinner alone. Excuse me, where is this going?
Ruka finally spills the beans that he had an epiphany while vacationing. He doesn’t like Risako, and he doesn’t like Haruka. Instead he likes Kaori, the roommate Shohei has been courting from the start. Ruka essentially asks Shohei for permission to pursue her, saying he wants to be with Kaori and “watch her flourish” in her career. With a shocked expression — but definitely not an angry one — Shohei tells Ruka to “go for it.” And just like that, another love game is on.
The Japan Times will be posting weekly recaps of “Terrace House: Tokyo 2019-2020.” Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section. New episodes of “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020” stream on Netflix and Fuji TV on Demand (FOD) on Tuesdays, and will air on Fuji TV from July 8.