WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki Episode 3, "When a Girl's Your First Friend, Life Feels Like a Date For a While," now streaming on Funimation.
As expert gamer Fumiya Tomozaki continues his efforts to improve at the game of life, much of Hinami's focus so far has been on his short-term gains. With her help, Tomozaki is slowly improving his posture, dress sense, and how to talk (briefly) with his classmates. But one of Hinami's long-term goals is for Tomozaki to have a girlfriend by the end of the current school year. In episode 3 of Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki, a chance restaurant outing convinces her just who that girlfriend should be.
While Hinami and Tomozaki use a day off from school to get him some extra life practice -- and a proper outfit -- they happen to have lunch at the restaurant where their classmate Fuka Kikuchi works. Kikuchi is surprised to see her loner classmate Tomozaki spending time with the ultra-popular Aoi Hinami. After she serves their food, Hinami makes a key observation: Kikuchi recognized Tomozaki before Hinami, suggesting an interest in him. A later meeting in the school library supports Hinami's theory.
For all the progress Tomozaki is making in improving his appearance and beginner-level conversation skills, he remains conflicted over a perceived insincerity in his attempts to connect with others. This doubt only grows as Kikuchi comes into the picture. Hinami brushes off his concern, saying all that matters is that he's improving his life skills and working toward his goals.
When Kikuchi spots Tomozaki reading a book in the library -- by her favorite author no less -- the normally shy bookworm is thrilled and openly gushes about the author's books with Tomozaki. This would be great news for Tomozaki, except he wasn't actually reading the book. He was killing time between classes by thinking up AtaFami strategies. The book was just there to justify him spending time in the library.
Kikuchi is the very picture of innocence and sincerity, and Tomozaki doesn't have the heart to tell her the truth. But as she quickly grows more comfortable around him, Kikuchi confesses she's working on a novel of her own and would love to get Tomozaki's opinions on it. Still very much a beginner at conversation and unsure how to handle it, he awkwardly agrees to her request. It's an equally heartwarming and uncertain moment, as Tomozaki forms his first real friendship that also happens to be based on a mistaken assumption.
Hinami is thrilled at the news, however, and declares that Tomozaki should keep working to connect with Kikuchi and eventually go out with her. This hints at a future clash of morals -- Hinami's calculated approach and view of people as goals vs. Tomozaki's preference for basic honesty -- but for now, Tomozaki continues to follow his experienced coach's life advice. He is slowly but surely growing as a person under her guidance, making friends and possibly even a future romance.
Kikuchi may mistakenly believe they share the same love of books, but she also seems to like Tomozaki simply for who he is. But that's precisely what Tomozaki is working to change in many ways. Can he figure out how to be his natural self around others while also using Hinami's efficiency-driven methods to level up in life? Tomozaki is battling hard, and his future interactions with Kikuchi will surely help him gain some valuable experience points.