Spring has sprung, but there isn't much spring in Dera's step as this third episode of Tamako Market begins - that's what you get for constantly stuffing your face with mochi, I guess.
Luckily for him, Dera has someone to catch him when he falls, in the form of badminton club ace Shiori Asagiri - a girl who now just so happens to be in the same class as Tamako and Kanna. Never one to miss an opportunity to make new friends, Tamako looks to seek out Shiori's friendship, only to be given the coldest of shoulders. When another plummet from the sky reunites Dera and Shiori however, the latter finds herself ended up at Tamako's before circumstances contrive to keep her there for dinner and bath-time.
After all this, it turns out that Shiori is just dying to make some friends and hang out with them like this, but her shyness and inability to verbalise her feelings and opinions leaves her isolated and alone, made worse as she chooses to avoid her shyness by ignoring people who try to talk to her, leaving Tamako assuming that she was overly familiar when she gets the cold shoulder again the next day. It takes another contrived visit to Tamako's place and some wise words from Dera to allow Asagiri to open her heart to Tamako, and come the episode the two are officially friends.
Let's get the headline for this week's Tamako Market out of the way - it was boring as hell. If you're playing anime cliché bingo, you probably managed to get a full house by the end of this episode between its character tropes and well-worn scenarios, while the contrivances pulled to keep Shiori's side of the story moving were mind-numbingly stupid. On the positive side, there were some good touches of humour sprinkled throughout the episode which amused me suitably, but it really isn't enough to dodge the fact that there was nothing original or interesting about the episode, and without any particularly lovable characters (Shiori might as well be a cardboard cut-out) to invest in the whole thing falls flat. This instalment also worries me that this series is going to turn into some kind of "problem of the week" affair for a while, where someone has an emotional issue that Dera somehow helps to resolve in some subtle way - if so, it's going to be a loooong winter.