The last episode had a lot going for it in that it let the other
characters of the Ministry of Spirit Affairs shine a bit but also
because it allowed most of them to dress up a bit and deal in some basic
social fun. The secondary cast has been interesting to some degree and
that episode, along with little nuggets before it, have done a good job
at expanding on them without making it seem like a whole episode is
devoted to them. The twins in particular had a good showing the last
time around, though it's having some ramifications as Ganryu doesn't
feel manly for having them protect him. Of course, his acting out
against them in the way he does isn't all that manly either, but it's a
difficult situation for someone in this period of time (never mind the
present, where it still happens) in feeling ashamed by being protected
by a woman.
Ganryu's issue is rather interestingly dealt with since instead of leaping into something where the girls try to make him feel better, they actually explain their past. Bonbori and Hozuki certainly have an interesting spiritual past that's done as widescreen within widescreen to give it a very good effect, very theatrical in its nature and with the really appealing animation of it. Their trials as children, their encounter with a human when coming out in the daylight when expressly forbidden to, has them dealing with a truly frightful situation. To know that they went from such a rough place to one where they have the confidence they do now shows their growth wonderfully, even if it's not fully laid out. The small story they tell goes a long way towards explaining the pair and their relationship but also why they're not standing off to the side and afraid to get involved.
While a good chunk of the episode focuses on that trio, Zakuro herself isn't a no show here nor as mildly used as she was in the previous episode. As Kei has noted, she's definitely been acting off since the gala while Kei has been slowly getting more and more comfortable with all the spirits and half spirits he has to deal with every day. We do see some time of Zakuro being younger and how she interacted with some of the others, which just goes to reinforce her cheerful nature. It's interesting that they push that though since she hasn't been too terribly cheerful since the humans came into the mix here. She's had her moments where there's a softening of relations between her and Kei, but for the most part she's been mostly harsh. And with the issue of her mother now weighing on her mind after the gala, she's even more serious and keeping to herself more. Which only makes things harder for Kei and everyone else in the end.