This is a good shot, but was it really necessary to alter the light balance while panning over it just enough to make it impossible to assemble a simple composite? I say no.
Aya’s father, an internationally prominent wildlife photographer, returns home from assignment. The man loves what he does, though, and accepts another job without realizing that it conflicts with a Christmas party that he’d agreed to attend with her. Hurt, Aya storms out, winding up at the Dice Club with Miki and Midori. With tensions still high when her father arrives to collect her, Takeru sits everyone down to play Blokus, which encourages the pair to talk out their feelings.
Later, at Emilia’s Christmas party, the gang recruits Shouta and Ryuji to play Ladies and Gentlemen. Flustered at being paired with their crushes on husband-and-wife teams, the young men are no match for the strategic dominance of the Emmy/Midori pair, but a good time is had by all.
The new normal for Dice Club appears to be one board game per half-episode, which I suppose is about the proper exchange rate for manga chapters. I can’t say I’ve noticed any issues with the pacing.
Probably the most noteworthy part of this episode is the amusingly blatant use of board game as metaphor in the first half, especially with Takeru trying to play off his involvement. Although… Aya said that her dad being flighty is why her mom left, and I have to wonder: is Aya’s mom even still alive? Like, how do you leave a dude for being irresponsible and not take your children? Was she still around when they were being carted around Africa?
That one line out of Aya has opened a floodgate of speculation, and I may never get closure. At least there’s plenty of adorable character interactions in the second half, even if the sucrose was laid on a little thick.
Relax, dude. You’re in high school.
This is a cute episode and all, but, like, for real – where is their mom?