Yuzuki-san Chi no Yonkyoudai. is definitely one of the ignored shows of Fall 2023. It’s a huge season to begin with, and a good number of high-profile mainstream shows dot the schedule. A shoujo family drama without flashy visuals just isn’t going to make much of an impact, especially in English. And that’s a shame, because Yuzuki-san Chi is really good. It’s not afraid of genuine emotion without leaning too hard into melodrama, and all the relationships strike me as being pretty authentic.
Having done a full circuit of the four Yuzuki brothers, the wheel of plot returns to the de facto protagonist, Minato. And his best friend, the tomboyish Uta. With these two getting to the age where kids start to notice that they’re different genders, this turn in their relationship was inevitable (even if they’re both still childish to the core). The catalyst is Uta getting asked out by Morita-kun from Class 3 (which makes him effectively a stranger). Amusingly Minato and Mikoto are both equally clueless about what’s going on, albeit for totally different reasons, but their pal Nikaidou-kun clues them in.
Rather than going in a predictable direction of Minato immediately being jealous and hurt, he actually thinks it’s totally badass that Uta is doing something grown-up like getting a boyfriend. He even takes it upon himself to coach her for their first date, which is a comedy of errors but the thought is in the right place. Eventually Minato calls Hayato (at Gakuto’s suggestion) to get the advice of someone with experience on what Uta should wear on the date. That it itself goes a bit haywire, but Hayato’s real impact here is when he tells Minato that he and Uta are going to have to spend less time together as a result of this turn of events.
It’s only now that Minato starts to feel threatened by all this., and decides he’s going to sabotage the date. Mikoto and Nikaidou tag along to keep things from getting out of hand, but in truth Minato really has no idea of how to actually go about sabotaging said date. Which, for the record, consists mostly of Uta indirectly transferring the contents of Morita’s wallet into her stomach. This is not really serious enough for Minato to be worried, but he lacks the experience and common sense to know that.
All this is nicely portrayed with Yuzuki-san’s usual easy authenticity. And it builds up to Nikaidou – who has full-on experience from dating a yandere in elementary school – acknowledging the elephant in the room that only he’s seeing. If Minato wants to stick together with Uta, there’s only one way to make it happen – he needs to date her himself. As close as those two are I don’t either of them are clued in enough to make that work, but it’ll be interesting to see where the series goes with it.