Hajime and Tsugumi are still alive after Ai’s blast, but are now drowning in the water. Hajime sees a light and they are both granted a vision of Sentarou’s life. It seems that Ai is getting picked on by the other kids, who call her a spirit. Sentarou tries to stick up for her with force, but gets beaten up himself. Ai later tries to apologize, but Sentarou tells her that she’s not a spirit, she’s just herself. The seasons pass and winter soon comes around. Ai is selected as the seven year old for in the festival for the mountain god. Sentarou is of course against this, and Ai’s parents ask him to protect her. Sentarou is tasked with bringing food to Ai, who is now living alone in a shrine on the mountain. Six years later, the crops are doing poorly, and Sentarou is still visiting Ai. One night, after Ai takes a swim in the nearby water, the other boys from the village and Sentarou’s father find the two together. The village decides to sacrifice both her and her parents by burying them alive after knocking them out with a shovel. Sentarou is forced by the villagers to shovel the first spade full of dirt onto her grave, even as Ai starts calling out to him. Ai’s eyes turn blood red and start bleeding as she says that she trusted Sentarou. The villagers push him aside and quickly finish the burial. Before it’s finished, Ai curses everyone in the village. Sometime later, a hand emerges from the grave. Sentarou wakes up that night as if he saw the hand and decides to leave the village. On the road, he smells burning and notices a light coming from nearby. He arrives to see a ghost-like Ai walking around burning houses while singing the sakura song that she and Sentarou used to sing. In the end, Sentarou runs away, laughing crazily. Back in the present, Tsugumi and Hajime are by the temple again. Tsugumi doesn’t feel that she understands Sentarou, but Hajime does. Somewhere on the boat to Hell, Ai opens her eyes.
Not a bad episode explaining what happened back then with Sentarou and Ai. The whole story was a bit tragic, though I can’t really feel remorse for any of the characters. I’ve no sympathy for the villagers who tried to sacrifice Ai and none for Ai who got her revenge. As for Sentarou, I think that if he really wanted to save Ai, he should have escaped with her like he had almost suggested to her after her skinny-dipping. Granted it would have been too late at that point anyway, but it’s the only way out of the problem I could think of.
They did a good job with the end of this episode, which had a very horror-esque feel to it. Of course, I’m more excited about next week’s finale because I see that Tsugumi has a doll in her hand and Ai looking over her shoulder. Odds are it’ll be revenge on Hajime somehow.