true tears – 11
It’s been one week since Hiromi started living on her own, and with her suspension over, she’s attending school again. Having not run into Noe recently, Shinichirou instead visits Hiromi’s new apartment, and the two talk about an upcoming basketball game against the Hotarugawa girls team. Shinichirou is particularly disappointed to hear that Jun will probably be there with the boys’ team. Hiromi then notices that it has started to snow again outside, she declares that she likes the ocean during snow and suggests that they go to the waterfront. When they get there, she asks Shinichirou about his practicing the dance for the festival, but he has a hard time paying attention to what she’s saying because his thoughts are now on Noe. When he finally does notice the look on her face, she surprises him by kissing him. Meanwhile, across town, Nobuse gets a phone call from Aiko who asks if he wants a high-spirited female friend. She suggests that they start over as friends again and feels that a sweater is impossible at the beginning – they have to start from something easier. To Aiko’s surprise, Nobuse shows up at her door at that very moment and says that he’ll do his best for that sweater someday. In response, Aiko promises to improve her knitting skills until then.
At school the next day, Shinichirou sees Noe in the hallway, but she’s gone before he can catch her. He then heads to the gym to watch the girls’ basketball game and sees that there is a commotion developing due to how the girls on the Hotarugawa team are intentionally tripping Hiromi. It stops when Jun steps in and confronts the Hotarugawa girls about the blatant foul play, and this impresses everyone watching. Shinichirou, however, leaves before the game is over, and he runs into Nobuse who wants him to tell Noe that she didn’t properly put a curse on him. This leads to Shinichirou looking for Noe by the chicken coop, but she’s not there. Later that night, after his dance practice, Shinichirou returns home and hears his parents working outside. He uses the chance to visit Hiromi’s old room and thinks about how he hasn’t done anything properly. Hiromi meanwhile is still getting used to living by herself and spends some time on the phone with Tomoyo. She also gets a call from Jun, and he apologizes for what happened today. Hiromi apologizes too because she knows that she’s troubled a lot of people and made some people unhappy. She then thanks Jun, and he asks to see her again.
The following day, Hiromi helps out at the Nakagami house and gets asked to bring some laundry up to Shinichirou’s room. He isn’t in there when she enters, and after putting down the clothes, Hiromi notices that he has on his desk a notebook labeled as the Story of Raigomaru and Jibeta. Hearing Shinichirou coming up the steps, Hiromi hurries away from his desk and tells him about the laundry. When he tries to bring up the topic of the basketball game yesterday, she avoids it, urges him to do his best with the dance, and then rushes out. That afternoon, Hiromi meets with Jun at the park and tells him that they should stop seeing and contacting each other. She doesn’t want to drag any more people into this, but Jun then reminds her that their agreement isn’t over yet. In response, Hiromi shocks Jun by saying that she’s not the one he likes and that he doesn’t care about anything other than that girl. She then leaves him standing there, and Shinichirou happens to see her walking away. That night however, Hiromi gets a phone call from Jun who is panicking because Noe never came home. He wants her to inform Shinichirou, and after thinking about it for a long while, Hiromi finally does call Shinichirou to tell him about it. Noticeably worried, Shinichirou decides to go look for Noe and hangs up on Hiromi before she can say everything that she wanted to say.
Noe is at that moment in the chicken pen with Jibeta, and as she watches the chicken, she acknowledges that she doesn’t understand its feelings. She feels that there are a lot of painful things in this world and wants to fly away from it all, and she decides to help Jibeta fly. By the time Shinichirou arrives at the school to check the chicken coop spot, Noe is already gone, and he sees that she took Jibeta with her. Remembering how she had said, back when they were at the waterfront, that the place where he flies is not there, he realizes that those were farewell words and rushes to the waterfront. Noe is already there, and as she approaches the water, she sings her song, though she replaces the final lyrics with ones about Hiromi being in Shinichirou’s heart. When Shinichirou finds her, she’s standing at the edge of the breakwater facing the tumultuous waves.
Though I probably should have been expecting something like this since three episodes is like an eternity to wrap up the story, this week did a good job making me question if Shinichirou was going to realize that he likes Noe more than Hiromi now, or if this is all just part of him helping Noe get her tears back. You’d think that things would be set after Hiromi kissed him, but it’s quite troubling that he kept thinking of Noe in the moments before that. There’s also the interesting aspect of how Hiromi looks to be becoming fairly jealous of the attention that Noe gets, and I wonder if she’s going to eventually lash out. Regardless, I still think that Shinichirou’s just going to help Noe get her tears back and end up with Hiromi, but if nothing else, the writers are showing that they can keep the story interesting even after the main couple has seemingly been decided.
I haven’t commented on the music for a while, but I have to say that I really liked the background piano song that was playing during the kiss scene and the subsequent AikoXNobuse scene. It wasn’t on the first soundtrack, so hopefully it’ll be on one of the future releases. Speaking of which, I thought that after last episode Aiko was going to move on from both Nobuse and Shinichirou, but that appears not to be the case. In a way, it feels like a step backwards for her (remember that she had said she was graduating from Shinichirou), but at the same time, this is probably one of the easiest ways for her to have a happy ending. A lot can still happen in the two remaining episodes, though I suspect they’ll largely leave Aiko alone for now and just concentrate on Noe and Hiromi, as the preview suggests.