Yuuichi goes to his friend Tsukasa’s house to play video games, but becomes alarmed when he hears thundering outside. Knowing that Rika’s book is still on that ledge, Yuuichi runs back to the hospital and has Tsukasa lower him down. He is barely able to get the book and returns it to Rika’s bedside. The next day, his fever returns because of the time he spent in the rain. Yuuichi dreams of a running a race when he was a young kid. The focus then shifts to Rika, and both apologize for what they said earlier. Yuuichi realizes that this is only a dream, but in the real world, we hear Rika thanking Yuuichi as he sleeps.
When he’s feeling better, Yuuichi goes to Rika’s room, but doesn’t have the courage to knock. Rika catches him there and invites him in; he’s been forgiven. After he realizes that Rika actually came to his room earlier, Yuuichi goes and burns all of the porn magazines at her request. Natsume finds him in the middle of doing that and shares a story of Rika’s past to show that she’s rather unforgiving. Sometime later, Yuuichi starts to read Rika’s book, 「銀河鉄道の夜」 (Night on the Galactic Railroad) by 宮沢賢治 (Miyazawa Kenji). When he visits her later, they start calling each other by names of characters in the book (Giovanni and Campanella). For Rika, she knows the book so well that she can relate her own life to it. The two make plans to go sakura tree watching, and then Rika starts reciting lines from the book about mothers. Inside the hospital, Natsume has broken some bad news to Rika’s mother.
During the night, Yuuichi tries to sneak out, but is caught by Natsume. The doctor has been drinking, but pulls Yuuichi onto the roof. In a jealous tone, Natsume comments about how much fun Yuuichi and Rika seem to be happy. Natsume calls it all short-lived and says that Yuuichi doesn’t understand after Yuuichi asks if Natsume is jealous. In his drunken state, he starts beating up on Yuuichi for being optimistic about Rika and her condition. As it turns out, he had told Rika’s mother about her worsening condition and the low success rate for the surgery. After Natsume leaves, Yuuichi reads more of the book, but comes to a dark part of the story where a child drowns in a river and there is no hope. Realizing the parallels with Rika, Yuuichi starts to cry.
Knowing the story of Night on the Galactic Railroad will greatly enhance your understanding and enjoyment of this episode. It was really an epiphany of sorts when I realized what the book was about and how the boy drowning related to Rika. Here is a link to the entire text of the book, translated into english. It’s a really really good read. But, if you don’t want to read the book/watch the movie, then here’s the quick rundown:
Giovanni falls asleep on a hill and wakes up to find himself on a train. He is joined by his real-life friend Campanella, and the two travel the galaxy on that train. At the end of the story, the two are talking about staying together forever while the train is passing by Heaven. Campanella comments about how he sees his mother in the fields. While Giovanni is turned around, Campanella suddenly disappears. Giovanni then wakes up from the experience and goes back into town. He learns that the real world Campanella had dived into the river and saved a drowning boy. But Campanella himself had drowned in the process.
Basically Campanella’s was on the train because he was headed to heaven, and Giovanni had spent his last moments with him. Relating to the HanTsuki plot, I think Yuuichi realizes that Rika playing the part of Campanella means that she expected on some level that she wouldn’t live. I have a much deeper respect for the level of story now that they’ve worked in Night on the Galactic Railroad.
Natsume-sensei’s is still a bastard though. He’s not winning brownie points by beating our main character up, though his frustration and tears are understandable. Next week, Rika and Yuuichi go to school (a.k.a. Rika in seifuku).