This contains a frank discussion of episode 3 – so be warned of spoilers.
And there’s a screencap of episode 4, but it’s probably not a big spoiler.
The young girl has never been kissed. She’s just old enough to realize that she’s interested in boys. She wants friends. The blonde woman shown below is her friend. She has been warned that if she gives up the MacGuffin, she won’t be able to see her blonde friend any more.
The blonde woman is a typical modern woman who refuses an arranged marriage. She wants a romantic pairing.
The older brother is protective of family, essentially kind and friendly, and romantically unattached. He is, in short, a perfect husband for the blonde woman.
We know what the audience wants, and we trust the writers to give us what we want.
We want the blonde woman to marry the older brother and thus be able to stay with the girl. We don’t care what happens to the MacGuffin, so long as we get those three together in a happy family.
By episode 4, the young girl is talking to herself about how the young girl has a duty to help the blonde woman find happiness.
In plot twist terms, this show is just waiting for that ending. I don’t anticipate major twists or surprise premises. It verges on Iyashikei territory, but it has too much plot-based conflict to really qualify as pure Iyashikei.
In watchability terms, the wait will not be excruciating. It promises to be a fun ride.
Normally fiction critics talk about “cozy” stories as “cozy murder mysteries” or “cozy catastrophes.” These stories have a lot of comforting elements.
I’m tempted to call this show a “cozy romance fiction.” It’s loaded with lots of comforting elements to counteract the angst of real life. It’s just challenging enough to provide the conflict necessary for a story.
I suspect that despite the Shinto overtones, there will be no opportunity to contemplate the author’s philosophy. I suspect the author doesn’t have any philosophical point to make with this show, unless “happy relationships are fun” counts as a philosophy.