On his way to school, Yuuichi gets intentionally bumped into by Shiori because she was happy to see him. She’s made another lunch for him, but before lunchtime comes, Yuuichi pays a visit to Kaori as she’s staring out into the distance from a balcony. Kaori comments on how it feels like time has stopped when she does this even though she knows it’ll never will. She also gives away that she knew Shiori came to school every day when she comments on how the school yard gets crowded with students in the spring. During lunch, Yuuichi proposes a birthday party to Shiori, and she agrees to come. Afterwards, he suggests that they cut class to go wherever she wants, but Shiori feels that he’s sounding like they won’t ever see each other again, and so they end up not going through with it.
That night, Yuuichi tells Ayu and Nayuki about the birthday party and asks both to come. He also finds Kaori the next day and tries to get her too, but Kaori says that she won’t come. Refusing to take no for an answer, Yuuichi tells Kaori about how Shiori is living her life to the fullest and how she came to school wanting to eat together with her sister. Even as she walks away from him, Yuuichi tells her that they’ll be waiting. When the time finally comes, Yuuichi brings Shiori to a cafe where Nayuki, Ayu, Kitagawa, and Shiori’s classmate are already seated. Absent from the group is Kaori, who went home and briefly looked at the photos of herself and her sister before plopping herself on her bed. The party meanwhile gets underway and Shiori blows out the candles to her cake.
As Kitagawa attacks Yuuichi for having so many girls in his life, Nayuki gives Shiori a present of home-made strawberry jam. Ayu’s present turns out to be taiyaki, and Shiori’s classmate has made scones for her. As they’re talking about how Shiori likes sweets, the door to the cafe opens and Kaori comes in. Not knowing that Shiori and Kaori are sisters, Kitagawa starts introducing them, but right as he’s about to realize they have the same last name, Yuuichi interrupts. When Shiori cuts Kaori a piece of the cake, everyone notices how distant Kaori is acting. In order to stir things up, Kitagawa puts on his dance party outfit and creates quite a scene dancing with Yuuichi. Shiori and Kaori can’t help but laugh at the two guys, but they stop when they see each other. Kaori avoids eye contact with her sister at first, but she can’t avoid it when Shiori intentionally stares at her.
Once the party is over, everyone promises to have lunch together sometime. With Kitagawa questioning Yuuichi about wanting a cute girl like Shiori as a girlfriend, Kaori suddenly speaks up with a comment about how Yuuichi is a poor judge of girls. Yuuichi playfully tells her to mind her own business, but Kaori responds that it’s her business because Shiori is her younger sister. Everyone is shocked to hear this, and it makes Shiori quite happy. Kaori then leads the others away so that they can leave Yuuichi and Shiori alone, but she turns around with something to say. Instead of saying whatever it is though, Kaori suggests that they talk a lot later. After everyone’s gone, Shiori thanks Yuuichi, and he asks where she wants to go next because they still have time.
The couple end up heading to the arcade, window shopping, eating ice cream, and even holding hands for a little while when she asks to. By the time it’s dark, they arrive at the fountain and sit down together. Shiori notes that Yuuichi is a strong person, and when he responds by claiming that she’s the strong one, she denies it by revealing that she’s slit her own wrist before. It had been the night of the first time she met Yuuichi and it was with a box cutter. That day was the first day of the third school term, and Shiori had left her room after seeing her sister off. She had been wearing the stole that her sister gave her a year ago as a present and had met Yuuichi and Ayu after buying the box cutter from a convenience store. It was on that night that she had been all alone in her dark room.
Unable to hear anything, see anything, or think anything, Shiori felt that she was the only person left behind in this world, as if she got lost in the wrong place. When she was about to cut herself though, the moon lit up her room and she thought she heard the sound of laughter – Yuuichi’s and Ayu’s. She felt miserable after remembering their smiles and happy voices, but then she started laughing and crying the tears that didn’t come out when Kaori told her she wouldn’t live to her next birthday. She realized that she was crying because she was sad, and after laughing for a while, she couldn’t cut herself anymore. This is what Shiori now thinks of as a miracle. Yuuichi feels that this is her strength, but Shiori still calls herself a weak person – someone who can’t live without relying on others.
In response, Yuuichi says it’s ok because it’s not possible to live without relying on someone. Remembering what Shiori said before about miracles, Yuuichi tells her that miracles are called miracles because it’s possible that they’ll occur. He then asks her to make a promise with him: if a miracle does occur, she’ll treat him to lunch at school. After she agrees, Shiori recalls how much fun they had today and reveals that she made a new friend at school who invited her out. There are so many places she wants to go and so many things she still wants to do that she doesn’t want to die now. Nevertheless, Shiori feels that she shouldn’t have gotten close to someone because this person would be end up feeling just like her sister does. Hearing this, Yuuichi tells her that he’s glad to have met her.
When Shiori suddenly asks if she was able to keep smiling, Yuuichi tells her that it was fine and then brushes off the snow that’s accumulating on her head. Shiori notices that the clock is about to strike midnight, meaning that she’ll soon be 16 years old. After midnight comes and goes, Yuuichi pulls out his birthday present to her: a new sketchbook. Shiori promises to treasure it and then surprises Yuuichi by kissing him on the cheek. Immediately afterwards, she goes off to buy something warm and tells Yuuichi to stay where he is. After a bit of thinking about Shiori and Kaori together, Yuuichi notices that Shiori’s been gone for a while. He soon realizes that she took the basket of scones and the jam with her when she left, meaning that she wasn’t planning on coming back. Yuuichi rushes off to look for her, but finds only a can of coffee sitting on a hand-written note by the drink machines. On the note, Shiori had thanked him and said good-bye. Standing in the snow alone now, Yuuichi wishes Shiori a happy birthday.
I’m not entirely sure if the Shiori arc is over or not, but if it is, I felt a definite lack of closure. I wasn’t necessarily expecting a happy ending, but as it stands, we don’t know whether she lives or dies. Although Makoto and Mai’s arcs didn’t quite have definite conclusions either, at least we knew that Makoto is gone and Mai is still around. Before I complain too much though, I do want to say again that I’m not certain this is the last we’ll hear of Shiori. Her name does come up in the preview courtesy of Kitagawa, and a lot could still happen. If nothing else, the themes of miracles and hope open up all sorts of possibilities for the end of this series. Still, the preview would seem to suggest that next week starts the final Nayuki and Ayu arcs. With only eight more episodes to go, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.