WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Adachi & Shimamura Season 1, Episode 4, "High School Girls On Holiday," streaming now on Funimation.
Adachi & Shimamura continues its pleasantly slow-burning slice-of-life approach while throwing in surprising twists and turns along the way. Shimamura runs into Adachi's mother during a family trip to the health club, Yashiro continues being her bizarre self while intriguing Shimamura's little sister, and a group hangout for karaoke highlights how both Adachi and Shimamura are growing as people alongside one another.
Shimamura continues to be a curious blend of contradictions, as shown when she and her mother go to the local health club for some exercise and spa treatment. She usually doesn't let things bother her, yet she's annoyed when learning that Adachi can do sit-ups while Shimamura herself cannot, showing that even she has self-esteem issues from time to time. These quirks appear once again when she meets Adachi's mom of all people at the spa -- and a disagreement soon turns into a contest.
When Shimamura passes a woman at the pool, she's struck at seeing the adult spitting image of Adachi. Soon after, another club member walks past them and confirms the woman's last name is also Adachi. Shimamura follows them into the spa, listening to her friend's mother vent about how she can't understand her daughter and their lack of communication. Ms. Adachi seems to pin the blame entirely on her daughter while putting in little effort herself to make their relationship better.
Shimamura, who's aware of Adachi's troubled home life, is affronted at hearing her being criticized by her own parent. It's clear just how little Adachi's mother knows about her daughter, and a stark parental contrast is drawn as Shimamura's mother is seen goofing around with her daughter and advising her to take her studies seriously. No parent understands his or her teenage child perfectly, but Shimamura fiercely stands up for her friend and challenges Ms. Adachi to a spa contest: if Shimamura can stay in the sweltering heat longer, Ms. Adachi has to go home and attempt to bond with her daughter. After a curious conversation in which the teen often sounds more nature, Ms. Adachi decides to take her advice and ends the contest, leaving to go home to her daughter.
For Shimamura, who often prefers to go with the flow rather than rock the boat, this is an important moment showing her growing fondness and care for Adachi. Getting involved in someone else's home life is a big deal, and though Adachi later reveals that her mom's sudden efforts that evening felt awkward, the fact the effort was there at all means Shimamura's stand was a success. It'll be fun to see Adachi's mother's reaction when she formally meets Shimamura and realizes they once had a spa competition together.
The mood gets lighter when the girls get together for karaoke with the always-entertaining Hino and Nagafuji. Adachi and Shimamura sing a song together -- predictably an idol song with lyrics about striving to fully connect with one another -- and a fun time is had by all. It's a simple hangout on the surface, but it highlights the introverted Adachi's growing courage and willingness to put herself in uncomfortable situations. Though Adachi prefers being alone with Shimamura over a group setting, she's expanding her boundaries and opening up to new experiences.
While Adachi's romantic feelings for Shimamura show in her expressions and actions, Shimamura's feelings often seem unclear because she expresses them in less direct, more symbolic ways. That said, she's also becoming more naturally intuitive to Adachi's perceived needs or desires. As the two head home from karaoke on Adachi's bike, Shimamura suddenly asks to stop at a small park so they can talk. She noticed Adachi staring at her several times during karaoke and wanted to give her a private spot to say what was on her mind.
Instead of much talking, however, they grab drinks and Adachi, in another moment of high internal emotion, asks Shimamura to pet her on the head. Yet again, to Adachi's shock, Shimamura starts petting her and softly stroking her hair. Crucially, this time doesn't feel like she's going along with the request just for Adachi's sake. Rather, she thinks it over for a minute and decides it's also what she herself wants to do, making the moment even more affectionate. She may not even be aware of it yet, but in its own way, this episode shows that Shimamura's feelings for Adachi are growing stronger.