Shuuji hears noises coming from Hagu in the back room, so he goes to investigate. When he finds that she’s got the hiccups, he teaches her a method where you stretch your neck and try to drink water from the other side of the cup. But when Hagu attempts this, she spills water all over herself. Shuuji remembers how Rika had spilled the water in the same way when she had the hiccups. Soon after he goes off to get her more water, Morita enters the room and notices the hiccups. Morita tells her that if they continue past 100, then she’ll die. He freaks her out by starting to count downwards from 100 to 99 to 98 and so on for each hiccup. By the time Shuuji returns with more water, Hagu has already left the room, being chased by a Morita who’s still counting down. Takemoto is outside filling a bucket with water when he hears Hagu’s cries and Morita’s numbers. Right as Morita passes, Takemoto clotheslines him. Takemoto then checks up on Hagu and notices her hiccups. He gives her a glass of water, puts two chopsticks in a cross over it, and has her drink from each of the four areas that the chopsticks form. She does so and her hiccups stop. Takemoto reveals that it’s something he learned from his father. Hagu thanks him with an embarrassed look and then runs off. Takemoto thinks that ever since he confessed to her, Hagu hasn’t been able to be near him. Perhaps it would have been better if he hadn’t, but he doesn’t regret confessing to her. As he’s thinking about all this, Hagu has returned back to Shuuji, with tears flowing down her face.
Elsewhere in town, Yamada is with Rika being complimented by a customer on one of her art pieces. For Yamada’s help, Rika treats her to a really large parfait. After taking a bite, Yamada starts to wonder how Rika reflects in Mayama’s eyes and how he feels about Rika. The two women return back to the office where Mayama gives them both towels to dry off with and hot tea to drink. He suggests that Rika rest in her bedroom after finishing her tea. Mayama knows that she was up until morning working on some plans, so he insists that she gets rest and Rika finally gives in. He then turns back to Yamada and the two decide on pizza for dinner. After Mayama places the order, Yamada asks him what he usually talks with Rika about. Mayama has a hard time thinking up stuff, saying that it’s all weather or work-related things. But he does mention that Rika isn’t the talkative type. Yamada notes that he and Rika have been working together for four years, which causes Mayama to wonder if it’s strange that he and Rika don’t have much to converse about. Yamada ends up apologizing, and Mayama thinks that he’s hopeless.
The next day, Morita is resting under a tree at school when his brother comes by. Morita hands over a stack of money that he earned from work. The money is apparently for funds of some sort, but they haven’t quite reached their goal yet. As his brother’s talking to him, Morita’s actually thinking about Hagu and Takemoto. Also on school grounds, Yamada is asking Shuuji the same question she posed to Mayama about what he talks about with Rika. Shuuji remembers that when he was in school, Rika would talk to him about the books he’s read – the life of an artist, the historical background of a work, and so on. He tells Yamada not to worry about what to talk with Rika about, and he recounts how when her husband was around, Rika mostly didn’t talk and always stuck to her husband’s side. Shuuji clarifies: Rika doesn’t talk much with a person that she likes. These words resonate with Yamada that night, especially as she remembers how Mayama said that he didn’t have many conversations with Rika.
Sometime later, Yamada is back at Harada Design and Rika is telling her about orders for her work. All of the sudden, Rika develops the hiccups and excuses herself to the kitchen. Rika remembers the method her husband had taught her – the same one Shuuji had tried to get Hagu to do. But the hiccups don’t stop. After a while, Mayama walks into the kitchen and sees that Rika’s shirt is all wet from spilled water. Mayama smiles and takes some sugar out of the cabinet. He mixes a spoonful into a glass of water and hands the sugar water to Rika. She tries the sugar water and strangely it works in getting rid of her hiccups. Rika remembers her husband telling her that the hiccups stopped and sees the striking resemblance in Mayama. Yamada meanwhile has been watching the two. She remembers how Morita had called her an idiot and warned that she would cry if she went to work with Mayama and Rika. But he had also said that if not doing this means that she wouldn’t give up on her feelings, then she should go. Shuuji’s words about Rika not talking much with a person she likes also come back to Yamada. She goes over to the telephone and orders some huge katsudon dishes. Rika only eats a little, so Yamada takes the rest of her share and gulps it down. Mayama is worried about Yamada, but she makes up an excuse about need nourishment to do her best and how it’s getting steadily colder outside. On the way home, Yamada thinks how even if Mayama cared for Rika, her own heart wouldn’t break. She remembers how Morita had told her to go because that crying would be good for her. And so Yamada starts crying uncontrollably, vowing not to tell Mayama, the idiot.
Oh this episode reminds me of why I love this series so much. The hiccups part with Hagu (and later Rika) was so cute, and I love how Takemoto clotheslined Morita to stop him. The hiccup theme tied the story together very well, going from a comedic direction to a relationship direction between Takemoto and Hagu, and then coming back to it with Rika. Takemoto and Mayama are shown to be the mature, reliable ones because their methods of getting rid of hiccups work when the old method failed in both cases. Rika starting to draw parallels between her dead husband and Mayama maybe means that he’ll finally be able to start a relationship with her.
But while some things have changed from last season, it seems that Yamada hasn’t and still pines away for Mayama. She knows better than anyone else that being with Mayama and Rika will cause her pain, yet she still does it (somewhat following Morita’s advice). You can see her trying at the end there to convince herself that she’s strong, but I’m almost at the point of thinking that this girl is a lost cause, and there’s not way she’d ever stop loving him. But who knows, the preview for next episode has Nomiya, who could very well be the one to change things.
The insert song this episode was Spitz’s 「プール」 (Pool) from their second album 「名前をつけてやる」 (Namae wo Tsuketeyaru).