WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Teasing Master Takagi-san Season 3, Episode 10 segment "New Years," now streaming on HIDIVE.
Usually the central focus of a series with a character's name in the title is that character themselves. True to fashion, Teasing Master Takagi-san spends most of its time zeroing in on the titular Takagi as she lovingly jokes around with her would-be beau Nishikata.
Nevertheless, no slice-of-life anime is complete without a well-rounded supporting cast, which Takagi-san most certainly has. But while audiences are only treated to a portion of what this ensemble has to offer, the subgroups within the story are easily endearing and interesting enough to warrant a side series focusing entirely on their antics.
Like many episodes before it, Season 3 Episode 10 used its shorter segments to provide a glance into the lives of the series' auxiliary characters. This included Takagi-san's other potential couple: the wannabe punk Hamaguchi and the resident tsundere Houjou, who both continually try to play it cool toward the other.
Their most recent storyline -- of Houjou trying to covertly find a present for Hamaguchi's birthday -- is a classic interaction for lovers in denial. However, their best moments are when their serious facades crumble in hilarious ways, like when Houjou accidentally uncovered Hamaguchi dressed as a maid for the cultural festival.
Still, in the heat of anticipation, many viewers might have forgotten that Takagi-san also contains a side pair who are canonically dating. Nakai and Mano, who sometimes serve as courtship role models for Takagi and Nishikata, provide a refreshingly forward approach to romance that is rarely seen in anime. Both of these duos could easily occupy equal billing in a spin-off, as was made apparent by their spotlight scenes in Season 3, Episode 8 wherein both visit a local shrine that's famed for successful couples.
Of course, not every addition to the cast has star potential. For example, Nishikata's friends Takao and Kimura are mainly featured in scenes consisting of jokes that show how uncool they are. Episode 10 is no exception, poking fun at how Kimura's crowning achievement for the New Year is how he was able to gorge himself on more mochi than any year prior.
Be that as it may, featuring them in a side series with Teasing Master Takagi-san's other secondary characters could give them more room to expand as characters. Both Kimura and Takao have potential to go beyond their shallow role in the main storyline, as seen in Season 2 when Kimura helped Nishikata find Takagi amid the crowd at the summer festival. But even if they are left with scenes made of the same self-deprecating humor, it would add variety to the love-oriented dynamics of the aforementioned pairs.
That said, the true stars of the sidelines are definitely the lackadaisical trio of Yukari Tenkawa, Sanae Tsukimoto and Mina Hibino, the only characters in Takagi-san who have full names. Made up of a deadpan jock, a carefree short-stuff and a love-obsessed class representative, this group inspires good vibes by experimenting with beauty care products, going for leisurely jogs or just getting ice cream at the local snack shop. Their ensemble chemistry is reminiscent of plenty of slice-of-life anime like the iyashikei healing series Non Non Biyori or the slapstick comedy Nichijou, meaning there is absolutely a demand for their sort of antics.
In fact, the events of Episode 10's segment "New Years" make it obvious just how little viewers really know about this trio as they talk about their lives over the winter break. Mina in particular seems to have a rather endearing family life with her siblings at home, and could potentially star in a whole spin-off of her own focusing on the Hibino clan. Furthermore, a previous cameo in Season 2 implied that Mina herself is the cousin of another Hibino featured in the manga Fudatsuki no Kyoko-chan, which is also written by Takagi-san's manga artist Souichirou Yamamoto.
It is clear that Teasing Master Takagi-san's fans and its creators alike believe these characters deserve expansion, as their manga iterations do actually star in two separate spin-offs. Tomorrow Is Saturday is a low-stakes gag manga that focuses on Mina, Yukari and Sanae's shenanigans, while Yukari-chan in Love With Love acts as a commentary on Takagi and Nishikata's relationship from Yukari and her pals.
Segments from both have been adapted into the Takagi-san anime, but this expansive repertoire shows just how much the series' author loves this cast. With such attention to character building, hopefully there are more chances to let this colorful ensemble continue to shine, whether it be in more episodes of Takagi-san or in a series all their own.