Strawberry Panic! – 23
-Miyuki informs Tamao that she’s one of the candidates to be Étoile for Miator and that Nagisa is going to be the other. Although Tamao is happy to hear this, she’s also very worried about Nagisa because of her relationship with Shizuma – she doesn’t want Nagisa to be hurt anymore. Thus, Tamao is unable to bring herself to tell Nagisa the news.
-Miyuki reports to Shizuma that Nagisa will participate no matter what. She’s made it her mission to see this through.
-Shion tells Amane that tomorrow will be when she and Hikari get to officially announce their participation in the Étoile selection.
-News of this spreads to Remon and Kizuna, who rush to go tell Chikaru. Using puppets, Chikaru wonders who Amane will announce as her partner and thinks that it’ll be Hikari. Chikaru is also interested in who’s going to participate from Miator.
-Nagisa also hears of this and tells Tamao. She wonders if no one’s going to enter from Miator, but Tamao still doesn’t tell her the truth. Nagisa finally finds out when Miyuki comes by and tells her. Nagisa says that she loves Tamao and wants to be with her all her life but… Miyuki knows that Nagisa can’t forget about Shizuma, but she thinks that Nagisa should forget Shizuma since Shizuma herself already accepted that Tamao and Nagisa would be entering. After that last bit, Nagisa runs out of the room. Tamao chases after her, but can’t find her.
-Nagisa ends up heading to the greenhouse where she finds Shizuma staring at the stars. Nagisa denies that she wants to enter the Étoile selection. Shizuma comments on how well-matched Tamao and Nagisa are with each other, and she thinks that Nagisa will make a great Étoile. Nagisa still refuses because it would be lying to her heart. She admits to still having feelings for Shizuma, and although she stops short of directly confessing, Shizuma still thanks her for it. Shizuma asks about the key, which Nagisa happens to be carrying with her. Shizuma then leans in as if to kiss Nagisa on the lips, but kisses her on the forehead instead. She says goodbye and tells Nagisa to forget her. Nagisa starts to cry as she clutches the chain of the key. She eventually lets go and runs out of the greenhouse. Shizuma drops the key as she watches Nagisa leave.
-Nagisa runs to a pond in the woods and remembers what Shizuma just said to her. As a cold wind blows by, Chikaru wraps her arms – with puppets attached – around Nagisa. She blows on Nagisa’s hand to warm it up, triggering Nagisa to start bawling. For the rest of the night, Nagisa lays in Chikaru’s lap in the middle of the forest.
-The next morning, Chikaru brings Nagisa back to her room where Tamao has been waiting all night. Tamao blames herself for everything that’s happened and suggests that they go to Miyuki to refuse. However, Nagisa has decided that they should enter the Étoile as Miator’s representatives after all. She feels refreshed after having cried so much and thinks that she’ll be able to forget Shizuma. Nagisa says that she doesn’t want to stand still in the same place forever and that it’s no use always sticking to the past.
-Tamao hugs Nagisa from behind, and Nagisa answers by holding Tamao’s hand – Nagisa wants them to enter the Étoile selection together.
-Shizuma learns from Miyuki that Tamao and Nagisa are going to be entering after all. After Miyuki leaves, Shizuma can’t control her feelings anymore. She throws the key away, breaking some glass, and starts wreaking the room, cutting her hand in the process. Miyuki hears this going on and runs back to the room, but Shizuma locked the door. Although Miyuki is frantically calling out Shizuma’s name, the Étoile tells Miyuki that it’s nothing and collapses on the ground, crying quietly to herself.
-Sometime later that afternoon, Amane is riding towards Hikari, ready to tell Hikari her true feelings. Hikari sees Amane riding over, but then the stirrup breaks and Amane gets thrown off Starbright.
-Whole lotta angst in this episode, with Shizuma pushing Nagisa away to the point where Nagisa finally decides to try to become Étoiles with Tamao. Still, there’s no way they’d have built up all this ShizumaXNagisa without letting those two end up together somehow…that is unless they pull a Canvas2 on us. Boy wouldn’t that be interesting…
-Amane getting injured is an interesting twist, but I doubt it’ll ultimately change anything (i.e. Yaya won’t magically win Hikari over). Just now Amane will have to wait until probably the very end of the series to confess to Hikari how she really feels, and Hikari will go through a lot of angst in the meantime. I still think Amane and Hikari will be the next pair of Étoiles since the end is most likely going to favor ShizumaXNagisa and that would make everything kind of work out.
-Chikaru wins plenty of respect for having comforted Nagisa and spent all night taking care of her. Looks like she will be counseling Hikari too next episode. Only three more episodes of Strawberry Panic left!