“High School Boys and the Store Employee” is the 85th chapter of the manga.
Hidenori is struggling with a crane game again. This time, the rewards are female figurines in boxes. He closes in on one box, but it blocks the clasping action of the claw and refuses to budge. Mildly anxious, Hidenori mused that it wasn’t good to spend this much time getting a figurine, because others would start wondering if he was desperate for a figurine.
He further contemplates that most people wouldn’t buy his explanation that he was seeking the thrill of accomplishment that comes with beating a crane game. For this reason, he feels he might as well go along with any onlookers’ suspicions. His fear of regret being greater than any other fear, he vows to get a figurine at all costs. Suddenly, a voice calls out to him.
He turns around to see a smiling arcade employee, who asks him if he needs any assistance. Flushing in embarrassment, he realizes she had been watching him spend a lot of money and time on the machine. Hidenori runs over his old excuse in his mind and unconvincingly pretends to be confused by her question, so that he could use it.
Dashing his expectations, she tells him directly that he looked like he was desperate for a figurine, leaving him stunned by her bluntness. He infers from her clear gaze that she isn’t trying to be condescending, only helpful. Thus, he agrees to take her help, cursing himself as it made him look desperate.
The employee moves the figurine to the edge of the prize hatch and Hidenori plays, unnerved by her standing right behind him and watching. He manages to claim the figurine and the happy employee holds it up in his hand and congratulates him loudly, attracting the attention of at least one other person. She cheerfully asks him to come by again. An extremely discomfited Hidenori yells that he never would.
In order of appearance:
- Takahiro's friend makes a cameo appearance in this chapter. He looks at Hidenori when the employee declares him successful.