Kanon – 19
Seven years ago, when Yuuichi had to return home because winter break was ending, he made a promise to Ayu that he’d come play again the next year. He had also told her that the angel doll he gave her granted wishes. She would get three of them and the person who was going to grant those wishes was Yuuichi himself. Surprisingly, Ayu’s first wish had been for him not to forget about her, and he had no problem promising this to her. He had also repeated his promise about coming back to this city and had suggested that they eat taiyaki together when the time comes. Unable to sleep, the current Yuuichi goes out onto the veranda and is soon joined by Ayu who correctly guesses that he was thinking about Shiori. She had heard about Shiori’s sickness from Nayuki who heard about it from Kaori. Yuuichi, however, doesn’t know what’s going on with Shiori right now – only that she can’t come outside for the time being. Ayu then says that she’s willing to do anything she can, just like Yuuichi cheered her up long ago. She feels that if he hadn’t done so, she wouldn’t have been able to smile again. The hair band she wears all the time is also something that he gave to her before he left back then, but neither she nor he can clearly remember the day.
The next day, Ayu, Akiko, Yuuichi, and Kitagawa show up to cheer Nayuki on in her race. While they’re talking with her, Yuuichi notices that there are a lot of guys around who seem to know who Nayuki is. After Ayu drags Yuuichi off to a better vantage point, Kitagawa tells Nayuki that he’s depending on her to win in order to cheer up both Yuuichi and Kaori. He then goes and advises Yuuichi that there would be problems if Yuuichi made an elementary school student his girlfriend. Since he’s referring to Ayu, she shocks him with the revelation that she’s the same age as them. They then start talking about the school Ayu goes to that’s supposedly out in the west forest, but the race soon begins. Since Nayuki is the anchor of the relay team, she starts out behind in the race and has a lot of catching up to do. Fortunately, with Nayuki’s famed running speed and with Yuuichi using Kitagawa’s bicycle to chase her and cheer her on, she is able to get first place. After her team gets the trophy and she gets recognized by the school, Nayuki and Yuuichi go out to a cafe to celebrate her new record. It is there that Nayuki reveals that she talked with Kaori over the phone and Kaori was happy for her.
Nayuki then changes the topic to if Yuuichi has gotten accustomed to this city yet since he had complained about the cold when he first got there. The reason she’s asking is because she likes the city a lot and wants Yuuichi to like it too. Hearing this reminds Yuuichi to ask if Nayuki has a person that she likes since she’s so popular. Nayuki admits that there was a boy back when she was in elementary school, but she got rejected. She thinks that this boy has forgotten about it and that it couldn’t be helped back then because he liked someone else. Not knowing who she’s talking about, Yuuichi suggests that the boy’s feeling could have changed, but Nayuki explains that she is sure that this boy – both back then and now – likes only one girl. She describes the person as someone earnest who can sometimes be mean, but he is unable to leave someone troubled alone even though he doesn’t personally conscious of it. The two then head home and Yuuichi offers to buy a present for her victory. After she selects a simple red marble, he calls her strange and compares her to Ayu. On the subject of Ayu, Nayuki suddenly tells Yuuichi not to trouble Ayu too much. When Yuuichi claims that he’s the one being troubled, Nayuki says that he doesn’t understand and starts to reveal something about Ayu, but then stops herself and claims that it’s a secret.
Seven years ago, Yuuichi had arrived late to meet Ayu on one occasion and had to suffer through her burnt cookies. He then took her up a hill through some woods to a clearing with a large tree in the middle. Seeing the tree, Ayu made Yuuichi turn around while she climbed it and surprised him a bit later when she called out to him from atop one of the branches. Yuuichi tried to get her to come down because it was dangerous, and he explained that just seeing people climb up made him scared. When she finally came down after enjoying the view, he asked her why she had him turn around. Embarrassed, Ayu had not explained that she had not wanted him looking up her skirt. Despite Yuuichi having to leave in two days, the two had promised to meet again tomorrow to play, and Ayu had said she’d be waiting at that bench. Back in the present, Yuuichi wakes up from his dream and goes back out to the veranda. Ayu meets him out there again and, coincidentally, she had also just woken up from a dream. When he says he doesn’t remember it, Ayu suggests that perhaps they had the same dream. Because of this, Yuuichi asks her what she remembers about seven years ago. The only thing Ayu can recall is that she and Yuuichi met every day, and Yuuichi himself can’t remember much more than that. As he’s wondering why he was able to remember Makoto and Mai, Ayu says that it can’t be helped because it was seven years ago. Still, she finds it amazing that even after seven years, the hair band is still there and Yuuichi is in front of her.
After a normal next morning with a sleepy Nayuki, Yuuichi finds himself eating lunch with just Kitagawa. Feeling a bit lonely, Kitagawa comments on how Shiori is supposedly now in good condition. After school, Yuuichi is walking through town alone when Ayu jumps him. They just happen to be standing by the bench that Nayuki made Yuuichi wait at for two hours when he first arrived in town a while back, and it’s the same bench that Yuuichi and Ayu met at all the time seven years ago. Ayu starts acting out how she would scold Yuuichi for being late, but he then reminds her that she still has something she’s searching for. Although the pair spend the rest of the afternoon looking, they don’t find anything. They eventually return to the bench and Ayu comments on how sitting on it reminds her of the past. Back then, Ayu had been crying because she had lost her mother and she was alone when Yuuichi called out to her. This talk causes Ayu to ask Yuuichi if he’s ever lost an important person who was right in front of him. Before he can answer, she reveals that she has lost someone, and she couldn’t do anything about it. This made her realize how powerless a child she was – all she could do was call out her mother’s name until her voice grew hoarse. As she now starts crying, Ayu says that she doesn’t want to go through those feelings again.
Faced with the question of if he’s had such an experience, Yuuichi remembers Makoto, Mai, Shiori, and two other fuzzy memories. He tries to tell Ayu about Shiori, but briefly breaks down and walks away from the bench, but stops a short distance later and apologizes. By now, Ayu has realized that he has indeed had an experience where he lost someone important to him. She then asks him not to look at her crying face by closing his eyes and she follows suit by closing her eyes too. Knowing what’s coming, the two gravitate towards one another and kiss as another tear falls off Ayu’s face.
That last scene between Yuuichi and Ayu was soooo good that it gave me goosebumps. I hadn’t expected them to kiss, and while it seemed a little sudden, it made sense in my mind. What’s more, I loved how they focused on the tear drop and then zoomed out and spun the camera around the two as they were kissing. The song that was playing in the background just made it all that much better. I’ve watched that scene so many times now, and it just doesn’t lose its effect. Of course, part of the crux of that scene was based on Yuuichi’s feelings for Shiori, who appears to be ok after all.
There are so many clues now emerging about Ayu and Yuuichi’s past that it’s hard not to speculate about what happened seven years ago. Every time Yuuichi promised something to Ayu, I thought to myself that he wouldn’t be able to keep it. I had originally thought that Yuuichi’s fear of heights stemmed from something seven years ago, but it would seem that he had that fear back then too. I assume that tree’s pretty important since it’s both starts the opening sequence and was featured in Yuuichi’s memories when Ayu asks him about losing someone important. Since it was a memory sequence that also featured Makoto, Mai, and Shiori, I can only guess that that picture is associated with Ayu’s story and this one is associated with Nayuki’s.
Speaking of Nayuki, Yuuichi is a complete and utter bonehead for not figuring out that she was talking about him during their conversation about who she liked. At least I’m pretty sure that she was talking about him. I’m not quite sure what to make of Nayuki’s arc yet because there’s nothing readily apparent or particularly strange about her aside from her sleepiness tendencies. Then again, it doesn’t feel like we’ve gotten into Nayuki’s story much at all yet, and next week appears to be an Ayu-centric episode. Perhaps they really are saving Nayuki for last, which surprises me because I always considered Ayu to be the “main” girl. I guess we’ll find out soon.