Although Rin is going to school again since Asa is out of the hospital, Kaede stays at home depressed every day. Despite her earlier pleas, Rin is still firm about moving out. At lunch, Asa asks about Kaede, realizing that it must be her fault, but Rin blames himself for having used Kaede all these years. Sia and Nerine later catch Rin checking apartment prices, and so he ends up filling them in on everything that’s been happening, including the fact that he’s moving out. Rin is distressed that Kaede has spent all her life doing stuff for his sake, but feels better after having talked it over with Sia and Nerine. However, Primula then comes running to tell him that Kaede has disappeared.
Kaede, who is wandering around town while a storm is brewing, runs into Asa. As it starts to rain, Kaede explains that she was cruel to Rin before, and has been atoning for it. But Kaede also feels that she’s been deceiving herself this entire time, and the real reason she’s been taking care of Rin is because she likes him. After saying that she can’t forgive herself for what she did, she concedes defeat to Asa, since Asa is the one Rin chose. Overcome with emotion, both girls cry as they hug each other and apologize. Rin eventually finds Kaede walking home alone. Although she doesn’t want to hear it, Rin knows that he has to make it clear that he likes Asa. The painful words are blunted a bit by Rin saying that Kaede is also an important person to him. He hugs her, and Kaede finally admits that she likes him.
As the rain clears up, Rin parts ways with Kaede. She returns home to find Primula trying to cook, but making a bit of a mess in the kitchen. Rin goes to meet with Asa, and after talking about Kaede, Rin confesses to her. Asa accepts his feelings after Rin promises to protect her no matter what, and answers him with a kiss.
When I first saw this episode, I was horribly under-whelmed by how they handled what is the end of Kaede’s story. She just kind of gives up. I really expected something with a bit more of a bang (though I admit that’s more a problem with my own expectations). But after going through the episode a few more times, I really started to appreciate the drama, the performances by the voice actresses, and the music, although I am still a bit disappointed at the resolution itself.
So Asa is now the clear “winner.” I wouldn’t have believed it if you had told me this early on, but now it seems almost natural for her to be the girl Rin ends up with. And since Kaede’s time is over, we’re back to focusing on Asa. Personally, I don’t think that the rest of Asa’s story will take three entire episodes. However, if they do indeed devote all of that time to her and Rin, I hope that they don’t make it feel drawn out and filler-ish. I’m actually looking for one more plot twist/major dramatic moment before the series is over, other than the one from Asa’s story. As for next episode, called 「新しい明日へ」 (To A New Tomorrow), the preview shows Rin having completed his boat and moved out. If I didn’t know better (which I do), that title sounds almost like one for a final episode.
Only three episodes and four more weeks left until the end of SHUFFLE!