New OP Sequence:

When everyone learns that Morita has gone to America, they insist on seeing his room, and so Takemoto shows them. He remembers what Morita’s brother asked him, and relays the question to Hagu-chan: whether she wants Morita to come back or not. She replies that she doesn’t, that she wants him to do his best at what he’s working on. Later, she resumes working on her art fervently, and Takemoto and Yamada observe that her mannerisms are being more grown up, even more manly. After Hagu-chan breaks her squeegee and takes a break, Yamada suggests that they go see the fireworks together. Takemoto calls up Mayama and Hanamoto-sensei convinces him that he wants to come. At the Yamada household, after much hassle, Hagu-chan and Yamada pick out yukata that make them look mature and sexy. When they get to the festivities, Yamada constantly worried about how she looks until Mayama sees her and comments that she looks nice. She feels immensly glad that she went through all the trouble, if just for a compliment from him.

New ED:

I rather like the new OP sequence. It reminds me a lot of the PV for Dramatic, in the squiggly line sense. It shows a lot of scenes from past episodes, particularly episode 10, in a non-animated way. As for the new ending, I like it, but it doesn’t have nearly the same punch as Waltz does. In fact, at the end of this episode, I found myself waiting for the opening notes of Waltz, but getting nothing.

The first half of this episode was really a transition that allows us to see Hagu-chan in Morita’s absence. I definately agree with Takemoto’s assessment of her answer to his question. By saying that she wants him to do his best until he’s done with his work, I think that shows her love for Morita goes pretty deep.
I have absolutely no idea how the whole Yamada/Mayama/Rika triangle is going to turn out. It really seems that Mayama and Yamada are getting closer, but it seems even more that all of their feelings are more or less unrequited. The same goes for the Takemoto/Hagu-chan/Morita triangle. I’m not sure which pairs I’d be most happy with, but I really do hope the series ends with at least one couple and not just everyone going on with their slice of life.
The preview for next episode had a lot of Mayama running around, searching for something or someone. I find myself enjoying the Mayama and Yamada moments a lot, so I hope it’s about them (though Rika is in the preview too).
The insert song this episode was Suga ShikaoSorosoro Ikanakucha (そろそろいかなくちゃ) from his 4Flusher album from 2000. It reminds me a lot of the opening song to Final Fantasy X-2 since they have a similar melody. It seems that someone else posting on mininova is getting these insert songs out faster than I can even get the raw, so I’m happily passing the torch on.

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