Enter Jennifer Portman, Shikijyo-sensei (Mahoromatic) masquerading as Tina Foster (Aoi Yori Aoshi). (Btw do they always have to depict foreigners as blond, boozing and boisterous? :P) She seems to be Hikari’s alien senpai and seeks to comfort the confused Hikari (through a shower… talk about skin-ship. :P). I’m also putting Ryou on my “Alien Suspects” list. He is at least psychic to be able to detect Akari’s presence in the forest. And of course there’s whole part on Mari’s true feelings for Takeru and snatches of Takeru’s childhood.
I agree with Jeff that Konomini is moving very fast. There’s a lot of subtleties in their dialogue/actions that ARE plot/character development but easily elude us. A feature article in MEGAMI magazine (May 2004) mentioned that the Konomini team had a hard time deciding which scenes to include since the series is a short 12 eps. The director (I think) went on to lament that the introduction of characters took about 4 eps leaving them with only 2/3 of the series. That probably explains the density of each ep.
Looking forward to Akari goodness next ep. Just hoping she’ll not be a Minawa (Mahoromatic 2) clone.