Takemoto is still unsuccessful at finding a job until he gets introduced to one of Hanamoto-sensei’s former students, Usui. After getting acquainted, Usui notices that Takemoto has a good eye and hires him. Everyone throws a party to celebrate, but the mood quickly changes when Hanamoto-sensei gets a phone call from Usui saying that his company just went bankrupt because of a customer who ran away, ultimately meaning that Takemoto no longer has a job. At Fujiwara Design, the brothers who run the company get back together, and the subsequent shuffling of human resources moves Nomiya and Yamazaki to Tottori. Delivering some samples, Yamada learns of the news from Miwako even though she had just seen Nomiya and he had made no mention of it. Meanwhile, Takemoto rides along on his bicycle wondering how far he can go without looking back. He feels empty inside, and ends up biking until he reaches the beach. When he doesn’t return for several days, everyone starts to worry, but Hanamoto-sensei and Mayama suspect that he’s off soul-searching. They eventually help him out by depositing some money into his bank account. Takemoto, who’s been living like a bum, finally realizes that he’s been afraid, afraid of the future.
This episode had a good feel of “classic” Honey and Clover, with the right combination of comedy and drama. The comedy side had me laughing mainly at the Fujiwara brothers’ scene, and all the jabs about Hanamoto-sensei being a pro at running away for soul-searching trips. Most of the drama comes in the form of Takemoto introspection, though Yamada probably feels like she’s being abandoned again with Nomiya leaving (or at least she grew used to his presence). Since we’re coming up on the final stretch, it’s good that Takemoto gets most of an episode to find himself since he’s the one who’s been drifting the most lately. Just realizing that he has a fear of the future is a good first step to getting himself back together. It remains to be seen if this will affect his future decisions involving his own career or Hagu-chan (I imagine it will). And while the ending sequence preview showed Yamada and Rika, I get the vague feeling that the next episode will be about Takemoto, or at least conclude his soul searching (given that the episode title is about coming out of the tunnel).
No insert song this week, but everything else was pretty top notch, from the animation to the choice of background songs. I was a bit disappointed that I could neither find the piano versions of Waltz nor Dramatic on the recent OST, the latter of which was played near the end of this episode. Maybe there’ll be another soundtrack sometime in the future…
Closing Thought: Good to see that C1 decided to include the ParaKiss promo that repeated again this week.