Hatsukoi Limited – 11
In the aftermath of telling Kei that he hates people like her the most, Kusuda runs away and joins his depressed friends. The three wallow in self-pity until Kusuda and Sogabe get the idea to go on a journey to rediscover themselves. That night, as he writes a letter telling his family not to look for him, Kusuda stares at a picture of Kei and thinks about how he needs self-confidence. The three of them meet up the next morning on their bicycles and decide to bike eastward, and back at school, the girls are worried because all three guys are absent. They think that the guys might be sick, so they decide to pay Mamoru a visit. At Mamoru’s house, they find Misao frantic because his brother ran away from home, and they figure out from Mamoru’s letter that he’s with Kusuda and Sogabe. Kei instinctively thinks to call Kusuda, but she isn’t able to do so after remembering what he said to her. Ayumi is the one who ends up making the call, and even though Sogabe gets Kusuda to hang up on them, the girls are able to figure out where the guys have gone in the countryside thanks to Chikura.
Ayumi wants to go after them, but Kei feels that she can’t and reveals to her friends what Kusuda said to her. With Kei crying now, it is Misao who speaks up and suggests that even if Kusuda hates her, Kei still has things she wants to say to him. Misao makes her realize that it’s better than living without saying anything, and she soon regains her usual assertive self and leads the girls in their pursuit. Meanwhile, Misaki is out with Yuuji, but she notices that he’s not really showing much interest in her. It’s not until Yoshihiko runs in to tell him about Ayumi and Koyoi being gone that Yuuji livens up, and he leaves immediately to go look for his sister. Back in the countryside, the guys are struggling because they’ve realized that they don’t have much money or food, so they’re both tired and hungry. Unaware of this, the girls are now on a train heading to the hot springs where they think the guys are. By chance, Kei sees the three guys biking furiously in the darkness alongside the train, being chased by a pack of boars. Unfortunately, the guys don’t hear her calling out to them, and the train won’t stop.
This was mostly a set-up episode, and it was alright, but not particularly noteworthy. I mentioned last week that I was getting tired of all the back-and-forth between Kei and Kusuda’s relationship, and by the end of this episode, I was just tired of them in general since there’s been so much focus on them. What I found interesting instead was that they threw in an extra scene between Misaki and Yuuji that I don’t remember from the manga. It could potentially lead into Misaki’s ending – if you could call it that – but with all the other stuff they have to cover with Kusuda and Kei and Ayumi in next week’s finale (which is what the preview emphasizes), they might need to get creative with how they deal with Misaki unless they really rush things. I like her character more than a lot of the others in this show, so I hope she doesn’t get shortchanged.