WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Adachi & Shimamura Episode 5, "Adachi's Question," streaming now on Funimation.
As the holiday season draws closer in Adachi & Shimamura, the weather grows colder but more than one relationship is heating up. Adachi has a burning question she's struggling to ask Shimamura while the unique friendship between Hino and Nagafuji is starting to blossom into something more. Sparks are flying, and it's all building up to what is sure to be a memorable Christmas holiday for the entire cast.
Adachi's mission -- to ask Shimamura to meet up on Christmas Day -- looks simple on the surface, but she knows it could have serious implications depending on how Shimamura interprets her reasoning. She spends most of the episode trying to make her proposal before finally succeeding, but in the meantime, their ensuing adventures result in some very intimate moments along with more revealing details about both girls' childhoods.
Adachi's reaching the point where she's not even trying to deflect her feelings anymore -- she likes Shimamura romantically. She keeps getting busted staring at her crush, and Shimamura knows something is up. Adachi repeatedly tries to approach her to talk about possible Christmas plans but either loses her nerve or gets interrupted by Hino and Nagafuji. Her first attempt ends in asking Shimamura to study together, which she readily agrees to.
They go up to Shimamura's attic -- her preferred study spot -- and while waiting for the heater to warm up the room, they discuss everything from their childhoods to Santa Claus before Shimamura falls asleep. Adachi nearly loses herself in the moment, leaning in to kiss Shimamura before stopping herself. The sleepy Shimamura suddenly reaches over and grabs Adachi's thigh, using her lap as a pillow to sleep on. Adachi constantly shows her attachment to Shimamura, but now it's Shimamura leaning on Adachi for comfort like it's second nature. Adachi is thrilled, enchanted and flustered all at the same time, and any plans are put on hold once again as she tries to process the moment.
Meanwhile, Hino and Nagafuji's curious friendship-for-now is also developing. As usual, they're hanging out in the homely area of the Nagafuji family's butcher shop. While Hino tries to draw a new mascot for the business, Nagafuji is distracted and wants to kiss Hino on the forehead -- again. It's a highly charged moment that looks like Nagafuji is aiming for Hino's lips instead, before going up to her forehead. Despite a questioning look, Hino closes her eyes and willfully opens her lips to return the kiss she'd been expecting. Both continue to insist they're just "good friends," but this excuse is less convincing than ever.
In some ways, Nagafuji is similar to Adachi -- both somewhat clearer about their feelings and continually testing their crushes' boundaries. However, while Adachi is shy and awkward, Nagafuji doesn't show fear and is more direct in her advances. Shimamura and Hino are similar in that both, deep down, have some idea of their friends' true feelings, even as they try to rationalize those feelings as something else. Where they differ is that while Shimamura goes with the flow of Adachi's whims, Hino directly questions or comments on Nagafuji's more sudden advances.
Eventually, Adachi builds her courage and goes to Shimamura's house, unannounced, on a cold winter morning before school. Adachi meets Shimamura's mother -- a much warmer and more parental encounter than Shimamura with Adachi's mother last time -- and soon after, Adachi finally gets her question out. The idea of getting together on any major holiday, but especially one as intimate as Christmas, is a big deal, which Shimamura grasps. Internally, she knows why Adachi wants this but knows that admitting it would change their friendship irrevocably. Adachi quickly claims she just wants to get out of the house and have some fun. Shimamura feels both relieved and disappointed, incorrectly believing Adachi only asked her because there was no one else to ask, but she also agrees to get together.
It's a curious moment that connects with Shimamura's flashback to her childhood best friend, back when she dove head-on into her relationships. The friendship drifted apart over time as her best friend was drawn to "sparkly things," increasingly leaving Shimamura behind. The two must have been exceptionally close, and it explains why Shimamura is hesitant to grow too close to someone again for fear of losing them. What she doesn't yet realize, however, is the most important point -- in Adachi's eyes, Shimamura is the one who sparkles.