The Hopelessly in Love with Satou-kun Squad (佐藤くんが好きでしょうがない隊, Satou-kun ga Suki de Shou ga Nai Tai), or simply The Hopeless Squad (abbreviated to SSS in Japanese), is a group of three girls who are madly in love with Shinya Satou. Although members of the group appear chasing Satou together in Chapter 27 and Chapter 35, it is in Chapter 43 where they are first introduced as the Hopeless Squad.
Airi is the leader of the Hopeless Squad. She is described as an "unstoppable lover" or a "locomotive-like lover." She leads the group in their activities with great motivation. In fact, she is completely insatiable when it comes to pursuing Satou and she spends nearly all of her time stalking him or coming up with new activities to become closer to him. Nothing is below her when it comes to Satou and she will happily do things a normal person would consider perverted if he is involved. She is extraordinarily competitive as well; any person who she imagines might also be after Satou she considers a love rival. Apart from the other girls of the Hopeless Squad, who are also her friends, the most significant rival whom she has identified is Futaba, of whom she is extremely jealous for her closeness to Satou. She will even recognize rivals in inanimate objects, including Satou's soccer ball and any and all panties; she even stopped wearing underwear as a form of protest. Despite all of these things, she does have a certain sense of honor regarding love rivalry, and she seems to think that everyone should have a fair shot at winning Satou's love. This is how she reconciles her intense feelings of rivalry with her friendship with Shiori and Mayumi. She even invited Futaba to join the Hopeless Squad for a short time.
Shiori, like Airi, is ambitious and competitive in her pursuit of Satou. Unlike Airi, however, she is not honorable; she is described as a "fiendish lover." Although she participates with the usual Hopless Squad activities - following Airi's lead - she will sometimes have her own agenda to get Satou all to herself. She does not share Airi's ability to reconcile rivalry and friendship, at least not as wholly as Airi can. In fact, she does not view other people after Satou so much as rivals as enemies. As such, she will come up with schemes to try to box out Airi or Futaba, who are the biggest threats to her. She will even try to bring Mayumi in on schemes if she has to. Though her schemes would seem insignificant to others - such as trying to secret away some Satou-related artefact for her personal use - they are great crimes to the Hopeless Squad, and especially to Airi. She seems to be an opportunistic schemer, however, rather than constantly plotting to get Satou to herself. Most of the time, she cooperates with Airi and Mayumi, although she never welcomes Futaba's presence.
Shiori's characterization is slightly different in the anime compared to the manga. In the anime, she comes off as reluctant to plot against her friends, but she simply falls to temptation and ends up doing it anyway against her better judgment. In the manga, she seems slightly more malicious and there is little hint of internal conflict.
Mayumi is described as a "normal lover," although this is a somewhat dubious description. Like Airi and Shiori, she enjoys participating in the usual Hopeless Squad activities, which is enough to make her a freak as far as Satou is concerned. She's normal for the Hopeless Squad, however, even if that's not normal for everyone else. Though she loves Satou like Airi and Shiori, she is much more even-tempered and is not nearly as competitive or ambitious. She does consider Futaba a threat to their group's goals, but her reactions to her are not quite as extreme and usually relies on Airi to come up with a course of action. She is unique in the Hopeless Squad in that she considers her friendship with Airi and Shiori to be at least as important as her love for Satou. Because of this, she worries about Airi taking things too far and is completely at a loss as to how to deal with Shiori's occasional scheming, and sometimes ends up caught between the two. She is a timid girl, and so has a hard time doing things under her own impetus, although she is a capable lietenant under Airi's decisive leadership. Mayumi did finally take a stand regarding Airi's decision to quit wearing panties. Before this, she had been constantly on guard to make sure that Airi did not accidentally expose herself. In the end, Airi only agreed to address the problem because Mayumi was being distracted from her focus on Satou.
The girls of the Hopeless Squad spend much of their time together doing various things related to their love of Satou. They usually plan out these activities with a goal in mind, expecting to somehow get closer to Satou by doing them. Their main goal is to satisfy their obsession with him, though, as the only effect they ever have on Satou himself is to further repulse him. When all three girls are working together, they can sometimes achieve quite remarkable feats, although the results are usually negative.
Breathing Satou-kun's Air Edit
A typical activity for the Hopeless Squad is breathing in Satou's "air." That is, the girls inhale deeply when Satou passes by them. Sometimes they also try to hold in the breath as long as they can, as they are shown doing when they are introduced in Chapter 43. This is one of a number of rituals that they perform to get close to Satou short of actually interacting with him. The girls are also convinced that breathing his air conveys benefits to them, up to even sustaining their lives.
Sharing in Satou-kun's Soul Edit
This activity comes in two forms. The most basic form is simply mimicking Satou's actions directly; the girls will observe Satou from afar and do exactly as he does. The second form is more complicated and much more troublesome: the girls try to like the same things that Satou likes and think the same way he does, too.
The first instance of this is in Chapter 53, when Airi practices with a soccer ball because she knows that Satou likes to play soccer. She says of this: "When I'm kicking this ball, I feel like I'm sharing in Satou-kun's soul." On another occasion, in Chapter 65, Airi tries to chase the same feeling by becoming a giant pervert because she is made to think that Satou will respect that. This is one time when Airi gets out of control and Shiori and Mayumi are unwilling to follow her
Love Superstitions Edit
The girls of the Hopeless Squad are always on the lookout for love charms and other superstitions relating to having one's love requited. They often read books and magazines which teach them these charms, though they pick them up by word-of-mouth, too. The most significant of these is in Chapter 72, when the girls learn about a charm which entails them writing their crush's name on an eraser and then using it up. Airi enhances this charm by cutting up her eraser into several pieces and writing Satou's name on each one. Later, she learns that the charm is apparently rendered useless if another boy reads the name, so she writes the name on the bottom of her school shoes and tries to wear them out instead.
Unit Formations Edit
Although Airi is usually the most phsyical of the girls, often much more than Shiori and Mayumi, they sometimes work as a unit to do things that one person couldn't. The Hopeless Squad practices and employs some physical formations which they use in pursuit of Satou's affection or for Satou-related items. In Chapter 88, Shiori and Mayumi pick up Airi and launch her at Futaba to steal Satou's used face mask from her before she can put it on. They have also done things like forming a human soccer goal for Satou to use. Airi will also have Mayumi give her a boost so that she can reach high places which Airi couldn't reach alone.