Miharu spreads the word to the girls that she saw Yoshino Sakura walking around town. They tell Junichi, who is also quite surprised to hear the news. He tries to keep it a secret from Nemu, but Aisia leaks the name. When Junichi visits Nemu in her room, she looks sad at first, but she turns around and says that they should go look for Sakura-chan. Junichi and the girls set out, with Aisia still trying to figure out who Sakura is. She gets fed up when no one answers her and goes back home. The group follows Utamaru around town, thinking that Utamaru will lead them to Sakura. Unfortunately, all Utamaru seems to care about is eating and being under the air conditioning. Tired and hot, the group leaves Utamaru and continues the search. By chance, they encounter her! Or not…it turns out that the girl is just Akishima-sensei’s little sister. Since it was all just a misunderstanding, the group gives up. On the way home, Junichi and Nemu see Utamaru hopping madly up the road. Nemu follows with Junichi in tow, and the two find what Utamaru is looking for: Yoshino Sakura. Nemu runs up and hugs her, welcoming Sakura back. At home, after introducing Sakura to Aisia, Nemu and Sakura take a bath together and get reacquainted. Sakura confesses to being hesitant about coming back after all the trouble she caused last time, but Nemu says that she really wanted to see Sakura, and even thanks Sakura for saving her life two years ago. After dinner, Junichi and Sakura joke about how much she and her breasts have grown, causing Sakura to rub her chest on him. Aisia and Junichi walk Sakura back to her own house, and Aisia finally realizes who Sakura is once she see connects the house to the name.
Well it appears all the rumors were true: Sakura is back! (Or as Matthew is sure to say, さくらｷﾀ━━━(ﾟ∀ﾟ)━━━!!!)
Granted, the story does once again take us on a wild goose chase before showing the real Sakura. I really thought that Akishima’s sister was Sakura until she opened her mouth and the wrong voice came out. But they wouldn’t lead us on without eventually producing the real thing. Ironically, it’s Utamaru (who had earlier also led them on a chase) that tips Junichi and Nemu off on where to find her.
I liked this episode for several reasons: the animation is good, they played an insert song for Sakura’s return (sung by Tamura Yukari herself), there was a good bit of humor that actually made me laugh, and for once the message wasn’t “Nemu always wins.” Which I guess means that Sakura actually showing up is just icing on the cake.
The reunion scene and most of the episode focuses not about Junichi being reunited with Sakura, but instead about Nemu being reunited with Sakura. Nemu, who potentially had the most remaining conflict with Sakura, brushes it all aside and welcomes her home in open arms. The result of this, and the entire episode, is that we have reassembled the entire cast from last season, and they’re all more or less happy together. The continuing storyline from here has to involve Aisia and magic, and probably each girl’s feelings for Junichi with Sakura and Nemu being the big ones. Next week’s title 「さくらの言葉」 (Sakura’s words) suggests that the episode will probably involve Aisia trying to learn as much as she can from Sakura.
Closing Thought: Utamaru running out of steam and the urgent music tapering off was unexpected and rather funny.