The Lunchbox Wife
Episode 3 of Fishbowl Wives starts with Haruto taking a shower, a stark red cut on his arm is a reminder of the incident at the store in the previous chapter. After getting dressed, she works with Sakura to separate out the goldfish. The thing is, Haruto’s injuries are getting worse and he’s struggling to lift things.
Just then, Haruto’s younger sister Ran shows up. Sakura pretends she’s a part-time worker and given she has a ring on, it doesn’t arise too many suspicions from her. Or does it?
Meanwhile, the attention in this episode turns to Noriko and her husband. They’ve been married for 8 years and they want to spice things up a bit. Noriko’s husband asks Tsuta to join them in some extra-marital activities, but before he agrees to that he wants to talk to Noriko first.
Once at her place, Noriko and Tsuta end up holding hands, with her husband urging them to kiss. The thing is, Tsuta can tell that Nori is not comfortable and despite leaving the room, the pair decide not to engage and just to chat instead.
Ironically, this is actually enough for Nori’s husband to burst back in, aroused, and taking his wife to bed. Tsuta is left to stand around awkwardly.
Noriko is awkward around her husband’s fetishes and predictably, ends up meeting the shaman for advice. The wise woman encourages her to be more free, which in turn sees Tsuta and Noriko actually take the plunge and engage in his fetishes.
Predictably, the closer these two get, the more Nori finds herself thinking of Tsuta rather than her husband. She even brings him food to his house too after learning that he’s sick.
It’s here we learn Nori has her own fetishes, which comes from watching Tsuta eat the food she’s made. In seeing that, she ends up getting aroused. And predictably, the pair end up having passionate sex, with Nori orgasming while thinking of Tsuta eating food.
Meanwhile, Takuya eventually shows up at the goldfish store and calls out Haruto for keeping Sakura upstairs. He uneasily mentions Sakura’s name…disguised as a fish but it’s clear this is a ruse to try and unsettle the pair.
Ran does a pretty good job of that herself though when she shows up later on. She’s suspicious of Sakura and eventually tells her to break up with Haruto, realizing they’re together. She wasn’t fooled by Sakura’s ring after all. In fact, she tells her to break things off.
Sakura takes this to heart and shows up at her apartment. Unfortunately, Takuya is there and he demands she apologize. Instead, Sakura busies herself with his goldfish. It turns out, she only showed up to help feed the fish and keep it safe. That’s it.
Takuya is furious and as he tries to shout at his wife, she instead drops her wedding ring on the table and leaves. It’s a moment of strength from a woman who has been denied it for so long, and Sakura returns to Haruto with the goldfish. She has no intention of breaking up with Haruto and instead, decides this is where her home is now.
The Episode Review
There’s a strange comedic tone to this episode, which feels at direct odds to the drama we’ve been experiencing in previous chapters. It’s not that it breaks the immersion and ideas, but it does feel a little tonally disparate to what we’ve seen so far.
This is especially evident when the show whiplashes between Nori and Tsuta’s cute and ever-so-slightly awkward moments across to Haruto and Sakura’s issues involving Takuya. This is probably the weakest of the 3 episodes so far and despite there being some good material in this, it feels strangely lacking in thematic strength compared to the rest of the show. There’s also the bizarre effort of championing Nori cheating on her husband – properly this time, not part of the kink.
Despite that though, Fishbowl Wives has been an enjoyable watch, although it seems rather amusing that Netflix have chosen to release this right around Valentines Day of all holidays!