Aiko tries to keep Shinichirou from opening the store’s door for Nobuse, but when he asks her why, she can’t tell him the truth. Shinichirou eventually opens the door after Nobuse pounds on it some more, and Nobuse immediately spots what he already considers to be his sweater. He wants her to check its size by comparing it to his back, but Aiko isn’t happy at all that he’s here, and she kicks both guys out under the pretense that she’s busy with the store. On the way home, Shinichirou brings up what Nobuse was allegedly doing the day that he went shopping with Aiko, not realizing that she had made that excuse up. Both Nobuse and Aiko still remember how Shinichirou had introduced them, and it was under Shinichirou’s urging that Aiko agreed to go out with Nobuse. When Shinichirou gets home, he notices that the photo album he found the other day is now gone from his room. His mother reveals that she threw it out, but Shinichirou can still think of the photo that had Hiromi’s mother’s face cut out.
At school the next day, Nobuse asks Shinichirou about Hiromi, so Shinichirou explains that she likes someone else and that he’s bringing them together. What Shinichirou doesn’t find out until later is that Jun comes to see Hiromi during basketball club practice and makes an appointment to meet her after school. It irks Shinichirou to hear the girls talking about Jun during lunchtime, so he goes outside and sits on the steps by himself. Frustrated, he tries to think of this as all for Hiromi’s sake, and his thoughts get interrupted by a smiling Noe. He eats the food that she brought for him because he’s hungry, but when she complains that he should be happier while eating something delicious, Shinichirou explains that he feels like a chicken on a poultry farm. Noe tries to cheer him up by saying that he’s a special chicken with his own free will, aiming for the sky like Raigomaru. In response, Shinichirou decides that he feels confused when he sees Noe and so he asks her to leave him alone for a while. He then tries to walk away, but Noe grabs onto his belt and questions how long it’ll be. Shinichirou gives her his belt rather than of answering.
That afternoon, Hiromi meets with Jun in the park, and Jun reveals that Shinichirou had told him that she liked him. Jun invites Hiromi out on a date that weekend and doesn’t even wait for her to answer before he starts walking away towards his motorcycle. Hiromi asks him to wait, but when he actually stops and turns around, she backs down from saying anything. Jun then comments on how it looks like it’s going to snow and explains that he doesn’t like snow because it prevents him from riding his motorcycle. When he asks Hiromi how she feels about snow, she claims to have a love/hate relationship, so Jun notes how tough it is to be unable to like something you like. As it turns out, the reason Hiromi doesn’t like snow stems from a conversation she had one snowy day with Shinichirou’s mother shortly after joining the Nakagami family. Shinichirou’s mother had told her something that had shocked her, and ever since that day, Hiromi’s hated snow. Back in the present, she questions Shinichirou when he gets home about what he told Jun. Instead of answering, he asks her about going out with Jun, and Hiromi admits that she has an upcoming date. She makes another comment on how he’s meddling before she walks off, and Shinichirou’s frustrations aren’t helped by the fact that his mother then tells him that Hiromi came home today with a guy.
On the day of the date, Noe is at home bored when she sees her brother about to go out. She perks up upon hearing that he’s going on a date, but she’s surprised to hear that it’s with Hiromi. Jun and Hiromi end up going to the movies, and when Hiromi admits that this is the first time she’s been with a guy, Jun talks about how he always came with Noe. He and his sister have always been alone since their father and grandmother died, and their mother works. Because of this, Jun feels that he understands his sister quite well, including even the things that Noe hasn’t noticed. Meanwhile, Nobuse has brought Aiko to the shopping center to buy a sweater for her. He picks one out, and they get all the way to the checkout before Aiko decides to walk out of the store because she really doesn’t want it. Nobuse tries to explain that he wanted to pick out a brighter colored sweater for her because the one Shinichirou picked out was too plain. This makes Aiko realize that Nobuse knows about how she and Shinichirou went shopping together, and she reveals that Shinichirou didn’t actually choose the sweater for her – she had merely bought the sweater that Shinichirou liked.
Later that afternoon, Jun brings Hiromi home and asks her to urge Shinichirou to move forward with Noe. Hiromi is shocked to learn that the two are supposedly going out, and it causes her to barely notice Jun approaching her and running his hand through her hair until he’s right about to try to kiss her. She regains her senses in time to move back, and she then excuses herself and runs into the house. Shinichirou is there to welcome her home, and he notices that she’s a bit flustered when he asks her if something happened. That night, Hiromi is working on the computer and thinking about Jun when Shinichirou’s mother comes into the room to talk to her about coming home again with a guy. Shinichirou’s mother is concerned about how this looks publicly because she doesn’t want people to think that her son is living under the same roof as a slut. In response, Hiromi questions if it’s because she’s her mother’s daughter or because a certain something happened that Shinichirou’s mother thinks that she’s a slut too. Shinichirou’s mother realizes that Hiromi still remembers what she had said on that snowy day and tries to end the conversation by telling her to just be more careful, but she then notices that Shinichirou is standing in the doorway, having overheard everything
Shinichirou confronts his mother about what she and Hiromi were just talking about, and he brings up how poorly his mother treats Hiromi. Hiromi, however, tries to stop him and tells him to leave her alone before running out. Shinichirou goes after her and, when he finds her outside, he asks her what she and his mother were talking about. Offering to tell him something incredible, Hiromi reveals that because her birthday is later, he’d be her older brother. As it turns out,, Shinichirou’s mother had told Hiromi that Shinichirou’s father was probably also her real father. Leaving Shinichirou in shock now, Hiromi then walks back inside crying and feeling that she’s the worst. Shinichirou’s only able to frame this in story terms and envisions a small puddle made of a girl’s tears. It’s actually very deep, and he feels like he’s being dragged to the bottom.
I (like many others) had suspected that Hiromi and Shinichirou were related, but despite that, I was still impressed by how well they pulled off all the drama aspects. The soundtrack really helped that out from around the point when Shinichirou confronts his mother to the end. The only really disappointing thing about the episode was that the Aiko cliffhanger from last week ended rather anticlimactically, but even that was made up for via Nobuse’s facial expression when Aiko told him the truth about the sweater. I also found it a little strange that they decided to take away a little from the shock of the ending by having the very final shot be Noe cooking. It’s probably just a sign that Noe still has yet to play her part in this.
As for the actual topic of Hiromi being Shinichirou’s half-sister, I’m going to be a little cautious and wary about it. For one, there’s some of uncertainty about it due to how Shinichirou’s mother had said that Shinichirou’s father was probably Hiromi’s father – plus she looked unnaturally surprised when she realized that Hiromi still remembered that conversation. We’re also only halfway through the series, so it’s entirely possible that a later revelation could be that this isn’t true. What it does show is that Hiromi really does have strong feelings for Shinichirou because I doubt she would have told him in that way if she didn’t. For now though, it’ll make things even more uncomfortable between the two, and it looks like Noe and Hiromi might get into a fight about it next week.
Have I mentioned that this show has been steadily rising on my list of current favorite shows? 🙂