Kobato. – 21
Valentine’s Day has passed, and Kobato leaves some chocolates for Kiyokazu at his door. The next day, Okiura pays a visit to the nursery, and Sayaka agrees to see him. She asks him to wait a little longer, but Okiura is unaccommodating and suggests she create another nursery elsewhere. This angers Kiyokazu, however Sayaka eventually agrees to close the nursery on the condition that it doesn’t happen until the graduation ceremony. This saddens Kobato, when Kiyokazu finds out that she wants to go ask Okiura again not to shut down the nursery, he tells her not to. Instead, Kiyokazu himself finds and talks to Okiura’s underling, the same guy Kobato saved previously. That underling reveals that it’s actually Okiura’s father who has his eye on the nursery and that Okiura decided to play the role of the bad guy to protect the nursery and Sayaka. Kiyokazu isn’t able to do anything based on this information though, and graduation day soon arrives. Kobato happens to see Okiura hanging around outside the nursery looking lonely, and when she tells Chitose about it later, Chitose suggests that he might still love Sayaka.
The next day, Kobato happens to run across that same underling and follows him to Okiura’s office building. She wants to see Okiura, but the underling tries to send her home. Instead, Kobato waits outside the building all day and into the night, even after it starts to rain. Okiura initially tries to ignore her, but late into the night, he finally comes out. Instead of talking to him about the nursery though, Kobato wants to know how he really feels about Sayaka. She finally gets through to him by saying that he can’t leave things like this, and Okiura admits that he couldn’t control his father’s power and that this was the only way to protect Sayaka. Relieved to hear this, Kobato collapses from exhaustion. Back at the nursery, Kiyokazu finds Sayaka up extra early and tells her the truth about Okiura. He thinks that she should forgive her husband, and right around then, Okiura arrives at the nursery carrying Kobato. When Kobato wakes back up, Okiura has just left, so Kobato urges Sayaka to go after him. Kobato and Kiyokazu watch as Sayaka catches up with her husband and hugs him, and Kobato gains some more konpeitou.
For the most part, I thought this episode was pretty good. Obviously it’s great to see the story move forward in such a significant way, and they made good use of the soundtrack for the important scenes in the second half. My main complaint was that it’s all a bit too convenient, and the turnaround for Okiura’s character was almost too quick to be believable. It would have been easier to stomach if they had given Okiura more screentime earlier on in the series to develop his character further instead of putting it all here and having his father be the bogeyman. At least this change of heart didn’t also save the nursery, though of course that may still yet happen – or who knows, maybe the happy couple will start a new nursery. It also felt weird to me that Sayaka put a wet Kobato to bed without taking her wet hat and clothes off or cleaning her up first, but I guess Sayaka can’t reveal Kobato’s secret yet since there’s still three more episodes to go, including the final two airing together on March 23rd.