Having started to delve into the truth behind her first love, Chitoge is more than a little keen to do some digging and find out more... however, her plans are scuppered by a planned school open-air field trip.
As you might imagine, the entire trip turns into a particularly heavenly brand of Hell for Raku, starting with the assignment of "teams" within his class, which leaves him sharing the back row of the coach with Ruri, Onodera, Kirisaki and Tsumugi, the first of whom wastes no time in ensuring that her best friend gets closely acquainted with Ichijou. If that wasn't hard work enough, Raku then has water tipped over him by Chitoge before revealing a scar on his forehead that he thinks came from an animal, which seems to closely match Kirisaki's knowledge of her first love and sets her mind racing - perhaps not the best time for Maiko to suggest a game of Old Maid with a story of their first love as the "penalty" for the loser!
Thankfully, the stressful finale to this little bit of fun is assuaged by the hot springs at the hotel the group is staying at being ready to use, although even this turns into a kind of delightful pain for Raku thanks to some malicious tinkering by Claude, who seeks to discredit Ichijou by having him labelled a pervert. You can probably guess how this comes to pass, with Raku being falsely lured into the girls bath, leaving a frantic Kirisaki trying to hide him and aid his escape before his discovery leads to expulsion or (if Tsumugi gets a hold of him) worse.
I've made numerous mentions of how cliche Nisekoi is throughout its run thus far, and in a sense I could very easily say the same here again with this week's episode, although in fairness it takes some well-worn conceits and dials them up to eleven in such a way that the stakes are far higher than your average hot springs episode. Yes, it's still utter fan service, pure and simple, but thankfully outside of its bath-time shenanigans were some hugely enjoyable and amusing goings-on that were again delivered with energetic aplomb to make full use of them. It's that far more that the allure of two-dimensional female flesh that keeps me coming back to this show as an increasingly guilty pleasure.