Takemoto finally visits home for New Years. We learn that his father died when he was young and told him to take care of his mother. His mother eventually met another man, Aida Kazuo, who they all call Kazu-san. Takemoto doesn’t particularly like Kazu-san and that’s why he avoids visiting home. When he does arrive, Takemoto learns from the hospital that his mother collapsed from overworking. On the way home, he sees Kazu-san, and the two end up at a batting range. Kazu-san explains how he feels and says that Takemoto should visit home more. Takemoto feels that Kazu-san’s personality is the exact opposite of his late father’s, but ends up liking Kazu-san a bit more because of their talk. When he finally reunites with his mother, he spends his time holding her hand. On the train back, Takemoto realizes that he still feels uneasy around Kazu-san, but feels that eventually they’ll get along better.
The second half of the episode revolves around the group (Yamada, Morita, Hagu-chan, Takemoto, and Hanamoto-sensei) going on vacation to an onsen. Mayama eventually joins the group after he takes his job placement exams. The group learns that Morita has some amazing Mouroutai (a type of drawing) skills and that Mayama applied to some very elite companies. We have a redux of last week’s party chaos. The episode ends with Hanamoto-sensei and Mayama in the rotenburo together.
They divided the episode into two parts, the first about Takemoto and visiting home, and the second about the onsen trip. They managed to keep the overall plots present (Mayama’s love, Yamada’s love, Morita’s craziness) even with the episodic feel. I think I liked this combination better than if they had animated both stories as their own episodes (I can see Takemoto’s story being boring). Unfortunately there was no insert song this episode, but hopefully there will be next episode (need more Suga Shikao…). Speaking of next episode, it looks like it’ll be another Mayama episode. Here’s to hoping that Yamada will be able to get over Mayama and start liking someone else (like Morita).