Hold on, are we watching “Terrace House” or a spinoff of “The Bachelor”? Because it looks like everyone is receiving a rose this week, as Haruka, Emika and Hana — who all have flower kanji in their names (hence the previous episode’s title “The Third Flower”) — come clean about their respective crushes.
Speaking of coming clean, we start the episode with everyone slapping on face masks and covering their eyes with zucchini slices for a DIY spa session in the living room. The scene is full of banter and flirtatious moments between the housemates (giving the commentators more material to riff on thanks to Ryo and Emika’s repartee), culminating in Hana getting overwhelmed by Ryo’s direct eye contact and having to cover her face while talking to him. Emika and Haruka both raise their sculpted brows when Hana tells Ryo that her reason for coming to “Terrace House” was to promote professional wrestling, which is very different from the “I want to fall in love” answer she gave earlier.
So, off we go to the women’s bedroom. In an attempt to coax Hana into explaining herself, Haruka announces that she has feelings for Peppe. All those hours spent playing Pokemon Go really brought the two closer together. In turn, Emika admits that she’s harboring some warm feelings, too — for Ruka, no less. Those two may not have had the best chemistry during their first date, but they have recently been playing a Super Smash Brothers game into the wee hours of the night. It seems as though Hana’s quest for love is putting everyone in the mood for romance.
The next day, Haruka proves herself to be a solid wingwoman, reporting to Hana all the dirt she got on Ryo after having lunch with him. His last relationship ended two years ago and his ex wasn’t Japanese, but the real kicker is that he really enjoys pampering his girlfriends. As in, he wants to brush their hair and cook breakfast for them.
Our favorite pink-haired wrestler will have to battle some personal demons before making Ryo her personal hairstylist, though. She admits to her colleagues that the more she likes someone, the more she becomes too self-conscious to interact with them. She’s especially nervous that Ryo will be turned off by her aggressive wrestling act when the entire house comes to watch her match later that week. Her colleague with the fantastic moniker Jungle Kyona (the kanji for kyōna literally translates as “screaming woman”) wisely tells her, “You should want to be with someone who accepts you and your work, who likes you for who you truly are.”
With those words of wisdom in mind, we move on to the wild world of wrestling. All the housemates gather ringside to see Hana kick butt. Ryo dishes out some smack talk to support Hana until she throws her opponent into the audience, forcing Haruka to jostle some poor man out of her way as she attempts to escape the fray. The whole thing is hilarious and the most action-packed thing we’ve seen all season.
Afterward, to celebrate Hana’s performance, Ryo offers his and Ruka’s cooking skills to make omuraisu (rice omelet). Ruka does not fail to astound us with his interesting techniques for handling eggs. I have to hand it to him, he definitely shows creativity in the kitchen. I would never let him prepare a meal for me, though.
The next day, the women go out to buy some cute loungewear and gab over gapao (Thai chicken and basil stir fry). I love how the friendships between Haruka, Emika and Hana have blossomed in such a short time, especially when I think back to the “fight” between Haruka and Risako in Episode 9. These three are clearly becoming close, with Emika playing with Hana’s braids while they giggle and come up with a strategy for Hana to ask out Ryo.
Moving on, what is the deal with pajamas? All the men on the show, the male commentators included, get dreamy looks on their faces when they say they have a weakness for women wearing PJs. Which is good for Hana, because the ladies decide that Hana should invite Ryo to dinner while dressed in her brand new plaid pajamas. But Hana, the fearless fighter, just can’t muster the courage to do the deed. Thankfully, Ryo can read social cues, so he asks her out instead.
Finally, with all this romance brewing, let’s not forget the bromance that Peppe and Ryo have going on. The boys confess that they’re inspired by each other, with Ryo being officially named captain of the Yokohama B-Corsairs basketball team and inching closer to his dream of joining the national Olympic squad and Peppe diligently working toward completing his standalone manga, so they make a pact to check in with each other at New Year’s to make sure they’ve achieved their goals.
Just when my heart can’t stand any more sweetness, the conversation switches to love lives and Peppe admits that his type is Haruka. If you ever thought video games couldn’t inspire romance, you’ve just been proven very wrong.
The Japan Times is 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) and air on Fuji TV on Tuesdays.