Assuming that we've had our fill of Hotori Arashiyama's antics for a little (I haven't, incidentally), episode five of Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru shifts its focus somewhat to other, supporting characters to give them a little time in the spotlight.
For the first half of this episode, that means following Toshiko around as she wins tickets to a movie screening and plans to invite Sanada to come along with her. However, what seems to be a beautifully constructed plan (she even picked a left-field movie to enter the competition to win tickets for, so meticulous is her preparation) falters and then falls apart, as the normally cool demeanour of Ms. Tatsuno crumbles in the face of having to ask Sanada on a date. While Toshiko muses over whether Hotori's bad influences are rubbing off on her on the one hand, she also can't help but think that asking a guy out would be a hell of a lot easier if she had her friends simple-minded lack of tact and shame.
Still, the second half of this instalment proves that getting to go out with someone isn't always that tricky, as Hotori's little brother finds himself asked out by a surprising candidate for such a thing - aloof classmate Eri Isesaki, who threatens to tell the teachers about young Arashiyama's card game playing during school hours on the one hand, before passing him a note asking if he wants to hang out with her at the weekend the next. Indeed, Isesaki seems to be quite doe-eyed for Arashiyama, acting completely differently to her in-school persona and well and truly attaching herself to him as he tries desperately to keep her entertained while also avoiding bumping into his school friends. Oh, those heady days when you'd dread being seen out with a girl by your friends...
Unfortunately, pushing Hotori out to the margins also succeeds in diminishing Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru's comic value quite considerably, with this instalment proving to be far less funny that the last few episodes. That said, it still had a few amusing moments, and the shift in focus at least made for a change of scenery too - to be honest, the tale of Arashiyama's brother and his burgeoning relationship was actually quite sweet as well for a few bonus points. Still, we need more of Hotori's unique personality to really keep this series on the up and up if you ask me, so hopefully normal service will be resumed next episode.