As he stands inside the room covered in newspaper clippings, Tomoya realizes that he and Kotomi had met before when they were kids. When he asks her why she didn’t say anything even though she had known him from the beginning, Kotomi explains that she had been really happy to see him at the library because she thought that the boy from back then had returned. However, she soon realized that he had forgotten about her. Despite this, he had become friends with her again, cherished her, and introduced her to a lot more friends, so she wasn’t sure if she wanted him to remember or forget the her from back then. Kotomi then begins telling about her past to Tomoya, staring with a quotation from her father. He had said that people searching for the truth shouldn’t be arrogant, that miracles shouldn’t be laughed at even though science has nothing to say about them, and that you shouldn’t turn your eyes away from the beauty of this world.
Back then, Kotomi had asked her parents why she was named Kotomi, so her father had turned her attention to the sky. He explained that the world was made of tons of tiny harps that couldn’t be seen, and harps in Japanese are called koto. Each harp had a different sound, and all of those sounds together created a single melody – that’s why he felt the world was that beautiful (aka. the mi part of her name). Her mother, however, had told Kotomi that her father had a bad habit of exaggerating, and what was really important was simple: Kotomi was Kotomi, and her name was made up of three beautiful hiragana. Kotomi then remembers that her world back then was made up of her house, her garden, and her mother and father. She had been practicing the violin one day when she saw a butterfly outside her window, and that led her to notice a young Tomoya staring at her from outside. In getting to know him, she found that he was a little different from the kids who went to her school.
When Kotomi’s birthday came around, she had asked her father for a teddy bear, though the truth was that any present would have been fine. However, her parents had to leave suddenly for a business trip, and Kotomi made a big fuss over how they had promised to be there for her birthday, along with Tomoya. She had called her parents liars and had said that she hated them, but that didn’t stop them from going. In the end, no one came for Kotomi’s birthday, not even Tomoya, so she was alone when the doorbell had rang. The man who worked with Kotomi’s parents was at the door, and when he found out that Kotomi hadn’t yet heard about what happened, he told her about how her parents’ airplane had crashed into a distant ocean. The very important thesis that they were carrying sank with them, and the man was here to see if her father had left any duplicates in his study room. Kotomi, however, had felt that this man was a bad guy and was trying to take away something important of her father’s, so she closed the door on him. She had then prayed to God to give her parents back, promising to be a good girl who’s not selfish and who studies a lot.
After running around looking for her parents and promising to be a good girl but still not finding them, Kotomi finally went into her father’s study. She had found an envelope on her father’s desk that likely had the thesis that the man had been talking about, and because she blamed it for the loss of her parents, she burned it. This is the ending point to Kotomi’s story, and having heard it all, Tomoya questions why she did that. Kotomi says that she doesn’t know, so Tomoya changes the subject to the newspaper clippings plastered all over the room. It turns out that Kotomi started collecting newspaper clippings about her parents as a way to atone for her sins, but she felt that that wasn’t enough, so she clipped book pages that mentioned her parents too. She had also studied a lot because she wanted to follow in her parent’s footsteps, and she now knows that her parents had tried to express in the most beautiful words how this world came about. It’s not something that anyone else in the world could copy, not even her, but she thinks that if she doesn’t, God won’t forgive her for burning the thesis. For now, Kotomi feels that she doesn’t want such sadness or to lose anyone important to her.
The next day, Tomoya learns from Kotomi’s teacher that Kotomi had phoned in to say that she’ll be absent for a while. Kotomi’s teacher also reveals that Kotomi had gotten the chance to go study abroad in the United States, and though Kotomi originally wasn’t interested, she now is. Tomoya later tells Nagisa about his past connection with Kotomi and decides to visit Kotomi’s house again, though when Nagisa volunteers to come too, he advises that she go to her classes instead. This doesn’t stop her from showing up at Kotomi’s house anyway after one of her classes became a study hall. Nagisa finds Tomoya working on Kotomi’s back yard with a rake, and his reason was that he wanted to do what he could. Nagisa notes that Kyou and Ryou had said the same thing in regard to Kotomi’s upcoming birthday, though she also thinks that Tomoya is the only person in the world who can get Kotomi to return to school. Tomoya ends up spending the rest of the day trying to weed Kotomi’s back yard, but there’s so much to do that he has to come back the following day. He eventually realizes that he won’t be able to finish without some tools, so he goes to purchase some.
Kyou, Ryou, and Nagisa later find him at sitting at a fast food restaurant reading a gardening book, and they show him the violin that Kotomi had played previously. They intended to give this to her for her birthday, but the problem is that it’s now broken. It seems that the girls were officially given the violin by the student who had originally left it behind, and they were on their way to get the violin tuned when a guy on a motorcycle raced past them, scaring them and causing them to drop the instrument. They’re now left with no choice but to take it to various shops to see about getting it repaired, and they find out that it’ll both be expensive and will take a long time – on the order of a month to half a year. A new violin would be cheaper, but Kyou insists on this old one even though they know that it won’t be fixed in time for Kotomi’s birthday and even though they are told that the violin might not sound the same afterwards. After handing over the violin to a shop, the four of them return to Kotomi’s house, and Kyou tries to call Kotomi out, but she gets no response. Tomoya sends the girls home because it’s getting late, however he personally stays behind to continue the gardening so that he can get it finished by Kotomi’s birthday.
As Tomoya pulls out weeds, he thinks about the childhood memories that are probably buried, and he eventually wonders if what he’s doing is pointless. He questions what he’ll do when that happens, but as if to allay his doubts, Nagisa, Ryou, and Kyou suddenly return. Nagisa had suspected that he’d still be working, and the three girls want to help him. As they start to work together, Tomoya feels that there’s nothing to be concerned about because he’s not alone. A short while later, Nagisa thinks she sees the curtains upstairs move, but when they all look up, they see nothing out of the ordinary, so they continue working on the yard.
Kotomi’s backstory is so very depressing… I’m told by a friend that this anime adaptation left some stuff out from the game that made it even more so, and I can only imagine how sad that was. Anyway, I find it interesting that Kotomi’s either fairly religious, or, more likely, she has a psyche that hasn’t developed much from when she was young, so she still thinks that God won’t forgive her if she doesn’t atone for burning the thesis. What I don’t get is how Kotomi manages to live alone all this time by herself. Shouldn’t the man who worked with her parents have done something after all these years? And whatever happened to Tomoya back then? Why didn’t he show up for her birthday? I’m also still wondering about the dream he had, and the rabbit/deer/you line that shows up again in the preview. Hopefully that’ll get answered in what appears to be the final episode of the Kotomi arc next week, which has the noteworthy English title, “Theory of Everything“.