Official couple alert!! It has taken 33 episodes but we finally have our first pairing in Emika and Tupas. I’m not counting Risako and Kenny because ol’ Riri insisted they were still in the “talking” phase of their relationship when they moved out of the house together. Yama-chan, the resident cynic in the studio, argues that Emika is only humoring Tupas because she wants to do some damage control for her reputation after getting bashed by “Terrace House” fans on social media, but I see genuine chemistry between the two.

Then again, maybe I’m just feeling generous since this is the first episode to air after Valentine’s Day.

Regardless, it’s fitting that the episode begins with Hana, Emika and Vivi taking stock of their current love lives. Vivi is still harboring feelings for Ryo, mentioning that she thinks she’ll “see him again at some point” and looking hopelessly smitten. Hana went out for dinner with Kai in the previous episode, and while she can talk to him with ease, she views him as just a friend.

“When I’m around him, he doesn’t particularly make me feel like a woman,” she says. (Note to self: It’s always a good time to revisit Aretha Franklin’s “Natural Woman.”) As for Emika, Tupas has already made his feelings known for her and they have one date in the works before she moves out of the house.

With Ryo’s departure in the previous episode, it’s time for someone new to make an entrance. We’re treated to the usual scene of the incoming member breaking the news to their friends, who always feign total surprise. The mystery man seems to have a lot of confidence in himself, which makes sense since he’s the CEO of a start-up.

“We’re pioneers in the industry … we’re considered a high-end brand,” he says. But no matter how high-powered they may be, “Terrace House” inductees always have one topic they can’t avoid discussing — dating. Watch out, ladies. Apparently the new guy can be quick to fall in love.

Speaking of dates, off we go with Kai and Hana to an indoor trampoline gym called Trampoland! (Dear future husband: This is where we have our first date.) After a bit of enthusiastic bouncing, Hana raises the stakes with a little jump rope challenge — whoever stays jumping for the longest time gets to demand something from the loser. Hana has terrible form and she’s laughing so hard that it seems inevitable that Kai will be the victor. Lucky for her, Kai messes up, so Hana demands he paint her portrait.

Jump around: An outing to an indoor trampoline center has Kai (left) and Hana jumping for joy on 'Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.' | © FUJI TELEVISION / EAST ENTERTAINMENT
Jump around: An outing to an indoor trampoline gym has Kai (left) and Hana jumping for joy on ‘Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.’ | © FUJI TELEVISION / EAST ENTERTAINMENT

Back at the house, Kai tells Vivi that the trampoline date was a success. He gushes about Hana, saying, “When I see her, I see a genuinely beautiful spirit. Her eyes shine from within.” (Note to self: Play Jesse McCartney’s “Beautiful Soul” after Aretha Franklin.) Vivi, ever the wise sage when it comes to romantic advice, tells him to be proactive and take the lead in planning another date with Hana.

And the dates don’t stop there! Next up, we hit Yomiuriland amusement park with Emika and Tupas. They go at night to take in the elaborate light installations and, after a ride on the Starlight Bandit roller coaster, Tupas feels brave enough to initiate some hand-holding. Emika fumbles, placing her fist in his palm, but Tupas is resilient. They sit on a bench for a heart-to-heart and Tupas goes all in. “I really like you,” he says. “Will you be my girlfriend?”

“If you’ll have me,” Emika responds, looking both happy and embarrassed. Soon the newly minted couple are holding hands (properly this time) and making plans to leave “Terrace House” so they can spend more time together. They seal their new relationship status with a kiss.

I want to hold your hand: Tupas (left) makes a move while on a romantic date with Emika (right) on 'Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.' | © FUJI TELEVISION / EAST ENTERTAINMENT
I want to hold your hand: Tupas (left) makes a move while on a romantic date with Emika (right) on ‘Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020.’ | © FUJI TELEVISION / EAST ENTERTAINMENT

The panelists are still skeptical about Emika’s true intentions toward Tupas, with guest commentator Mei Nagano going as far to say, “Tupas is too good for Emika.” Yama-chan insists that Emika is pulling a con, everyone aside from Mei says they considered Tupas a nice but lame dud, and Tori-chan curls into a ball of shame, saying, “We’re so bad.” She’s not wrong.

Enter Toshiyuki Niino, the newest addition to “Terrace House.” The 30-year-old CEO runs a company that acts as a mediator when people quit their jobs. Hana, ever the subtle flirt, goes into a giggling fit after Toshiyuki finishes explaining his job. “We’ve got an adult in the house,” she says, before plunging into his romantic history.


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Kai watches this new development, looking increasingly jealous as Hana bonds with Toshiyuki over gluten-free diets and calls him “Shachō” (boss). While the trampoline date had Kai jumping for joy, it’s starting to seem like Hana is bouncing onto the next guy.

The next morning, over burnt pancakes, poor Kai has to listen to Hana and Shachō make plans for future dates — right in front of him! (Don’t you dare hit the trampoline gym, Hana!) It seems that Hana didn’t realize her outing with Kai was a proper date. (Note to self: End my playlist with Adele’s “Someone Like You.”)

As the episode closes, Kai half-heartedly suggests to Hana that they should hang out again. Somehow, I don’t see Team Kai picking up much traction after this.

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.

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