Fumi Hasegawa, that’s who.
Previously, Kei Okano’s jealousy was established as a guiding emotion behind the group dynamic of her and her two seemingly closest friends: Chiho Aikawa and Fumi Hasegawa. Episode seven again shows Kei struggling with envious and possessive feelings when it comes to her relationship with Chiho Aikawa. More interesting is how, as the third member of the group, Fumi takes notice and responds.
Yuyushiki‘s primary group of friends has all three girls playing a role in bridging the gaps between their personalities. The end result is that they avoid, for the most part, leaving out a member of the group for too long. There are different permutations of this (Yuzuko can get the trio going with her zaniness, Yukari will chime in, and Yui will keep the two in check, smiling to herself all the while, or Yukari will do something air-headed, Yuzuko will play off of it, and Yui will put them back in their place) but for the most part, albeit with occasional awkward, bittersweet, or sad moments, the group is highly functional. They look out for one another because they care so much for each other.
This becomes all the more apparent when Yuyushiki chooses to highlight Yui, showing off her role as a genuinely calming influence on both Yuzuko and Yukari. They both meet up with Yui separately for the New Year’s holiday and while this deliberate pairing off has previously been a source of longing (on the part of the one left out) or awkwardness (without the third to complete the dynamic) the seventh episode shows Yukari and Yuzuko alone with Yui at different times with far different results. After spending hectic New Year’s with their families, meeting with Yui relaxes them to the point that they each, almost immediately, fall asleep in her presence.
In comparison, the tertiary group is not nearly as balanced in their dynamic. Kei is inadvertently hurt by Chiho’s longing to be closer to Yui and company; however, is only awkwardly able to express her discomfort. Episode seven shows her rapt attention to a conversation between Fumi and Chiho (complete with eyes darting left to right as if she’s watching Roger Federer play Rafael Nadal) while the two discuss Chiho going over to offer Yui chocolate. Immediately noticing her attentiveness, Fumi nudges Kei immediately following Chiho’s departure to the other group of girls. When it is just the two without Chiho, Kei obviously feels left behind, in spite of Fumi’s all-knowing presence.
It remains to be seen as to whether Fumi simply wants to mess with Kei out of sheer capriciousness or whether she is trying to push Kei into recognizing her own feelings; chances are that it’s probably a mixture of both. Either way, in that moment, Fumi suddenly becomes a most interesting character as she is the only one within the series who seemingly enjoys the same amount of insight as us, the audience. Additionally, she is capable of directly affecting events from inside the show. In a way, Fumi becomes a projection of how Yuyushiki continues to play with the pieces it has been give. One can only hope to see her conduct more social experiments on our behalf.