On the way to school on the first day of his teaching training, Hiroki sees a girl feeding a cat, but she’s quite hostile when he talks to her. He sees her again later in the teacher’s work room and a fellow teacher identifies her as Fujinami Tomoko, a girl with a weak body who misses a lot of school. After an incident during class when Tomoko tore up her painting because a snide remark by a classmate, Hiroki tries to talk with her several times, but she always closes herself off and skips school. He starts to doubt that she’s really sickly, until she actually starts having a coughing fit and needs to be taken to the nurse’s office. Knowing tha the has to repair her heart, Hiroki finally connects with her when he sits by her while she’s standing off to the side during gym class. He starts to draw people in the class in a sketchbook, and convinces Tomoko to do the same. The two of them eventually attract the attention of the entire gym class, who all gather around to see Tomoko’s drawings.
Hiroki get a lot of development this episode. The two big things are, first, that he’s one step closer to being made a teacher since he’s now officially in training, and, second, that he actually does some drawing this episode. There’s a lot of talk this episode about Hiroki becoming a teacher and about him drawing, all mostly from Kiri. He ends up combining the two and opening a Tomoko’s heart by using drawing as a tool. Like with Hagino, I’m glad that these girl-of-the-week episodes are giving Hiroki himself some development. Ultimately, Hiroki and Elis both have problems to overcome (Hiroki & drawing and Elis & red/death of her parents), and this episode seems to bring Hiroki a bit closer to that.
As for the actual girl-of-the-week, Fujinami Tomoko, I don’t really like or dislike her character. I find all of these stories a bit wasted because it feels like, in the end, none of the girls except for Elis and Kiri will have a big impact on Hiroki in terms of the main plot. In other words, yes, the Tomoko situation made Hiroki’s character grow this week, but I doubt she’ll come into play again later as anything but a support character. The clear competition for Hiroki is between Elis and Kiri. And speaking of which, next week is a Kiri episode!