Although Tomoya has been suspended, Tomoyo still comes to wake him up and even cooks breakfast for him because she feels responsible for the fight. She is actually considering going to the faculty room at school to tell the truth, but Tomoya refuses to let her because he needs her to become the student council president for the sake of the drama club. Their conversation is interrupted when Tomoya’s father comes back and decides to accept Tomoyo’s invitation to join them for breakfast. Tomoya, however, gets up to leave as soon as his father sits down. He instead pays a visit to a still-sleeping Sunohara and plays a trick by placing a pair of boxers on Sunohara’s head and waking him under the pretense that there’s a girl who wants to confess her feelings to him. Sunohara falls for it and subsequently gets beat up by the rugby club member outside his room who thinks that Sunohara is an underwear-stealing pervert. At school, Kyou and the other girls worry about Tomoya and about if the drama club is going to be able to participate in the school festival with both him and Nagisa gone right now.
Tomoya spends most of his time in Sunohara’s room thinking about Nagisa, and when he hears someone knock on the door, he thinks that it could be her. It is instead Ryou and Kyou, and the girls take him to an arcade to try out a horoscope machine. Kyou has Tomoya use it with Ryou, but because he chooses the friends option instead of the lovers one, they get a horoscope that says that any relationship more than just being good friends will depend on the two people’s feelings. Afterwards, Kyou decides to leave the two alone, however all Tomoya and Ryou end up talking about is horoscopes and fortune telling. Ryou realizes that her own predictions are never right, but she actually prefers it that way because she feels that if a prediction comes true, then it’s like there’s only one future. If it doesn’t though, then they can think that there are other futures – she personally wants to think that there are many possible paths that they can take.
That weekend, Tomoyo shows up at Tomoya’s house to cook for him even though it’s Sunday. At this point, both of them still have things they’re unwilling to talk about with the other: Tomoya about his father and Tomoyo about the upcoming student council elections. To Tomoya’s surprise, Kyou and Ryou show up with food too, and even Kotomi comes by with some. He can’t possibly eat it all, and in trying to convince him on whose food to eat, Kyou and Tomoyo start arguing about their relationship with him. Ryou and Kotomi aren’t much different, and it doesn’t help either that Fuuko suddenly appears with an assortment of starfish-shaped cakes and pastries. Tomoya ends up having to eat much of it, and it causes him to feel sick when he returns to school the next day. He doesn’t get time to sit around though because Sunohara informs him that things aren’t going so well with Tomoyo’s election campaign and shows him her defaced campaign poster.
In order to improve Tomoyo’s image, Tomoya decides to have her challenge the baseball team to a match, however the team only agrees to do it on the condition that Tomoyo joins the girl’s softball team if she loses. The match consists of Tomoyo trying to strike three baseball team members out, but her first three pitches are all way off target. After she complains to Tomoya that she can’t concentrate because Sunohara – who’s playing as the catcher – is pissing her off, Tomoya suggests that she aim for Sunohara’s face. Tomoyo is able to do this with great success and ends up getting the win. She then goes on to challenge each of the sports teams to matches and wins them all. This greatly increases her popularity within the school, and she even gets a group of girls cheering her on. Afterwards, she thanks Tomoya and feels that she can achieve her goal now that there aren’t any more bad rumors about her. Since Tomoya hasn’t heard what that goal is yet, Tomoyo reveals that she wants to preserve the row of sakura trees that line the way to school. It seems that there are plans to cut them down, and Tomoyo believes that she can act to preserve the trees if she becomes student council president.
This row of sakura trees is a very important place for Tomoyo, and in explaining why, she starts with how she used to lead a wild and unsettled life. When she asks Tomoya what he thinks prevents most people from being that way, he suggests talent and love. For Tomoyo, however, the answer was family. She feels that people can control themselves if they have a family, and it doesn’t even have to be a real family – it can be friends. It seems that her parents originally didn’t get along, talk, or even argue with each other. Back then, Tomoyo had expressed her anger through fighting and was what she now considers to be a weak person. She had a younger brother name Takafumi, but she hadn’t been a good sister to him. When her parents were about to get divorced two years ago, they fought over the custody of her and her brother, and though Tomoyo didn’t care, her brother did. He didn’t want to go with either parent, and in a move of desperation, he had thrown himself off a bridge.
Takafumi survived, and it was while he was in the hospital that Tomoyo and her parents became a true family for the first time. Her brother was able to leave the hospital in the spring, and as they all walked together down the road lined with sakura trees, Takafumi had told Tomoyo that he wanted to see these sakura every year from now on as a family. Looking down on the town now with Tomoya, Tomoyo explains that although the town changes, there are a lot of people like her who treasure these sakura trees. She believes that no matter how cold they look, important places don’t change, and she feels that there might be something similar for families too. The following day, Nagisa returns to school, and one of the first things she does is to try to apologize to Tomoya because she feels like he ultimately got suspended for her sake. Tomoya claims that it wasn’t just for her; it was for the drama club too. He also suggests that if Nagisa wants to take responsibility, then she should go help Tomoyo after-school today.
Tomoyo’s match on this day is against a male member of the tennis club, and there’s a large crowd gathered to watch them. When Kyou notices how well Tomoya and Nagisa are getting along, she starts to head towards them, but Ryou stops her. During a short break partway through the match, Tomoyo recognizes Nagisa and learns that she’s the one trying to create the drama club. Realizing what this means, Tomoyo just smiles and returns to the game. A little while later, Tomoyo’s opponent accidentally hits a shot straight at Nagisa, nailing her in the leg. Tomoyo’s opponent suggests that Nagisa go to the school infirmary, but before he can touch her, Tomoya bats the guy’s hand away. After Tomoya realizes what he just did, he personally helps Nagisa to the school infirmary. Having seen Tomoya protect Nagisa, Kyou comments on how she had known all along. Ryou then apologizes to her sister for everything up to now, and both sisters start crying.
A few days later, the results of the election are posted, and Tomoyo becomes the new student council president.
Well, the ending of this episode certainly had me feeling a little overwhelmed. I had no idea that Tomoyo’s arc was going to end here, but even more surprising was the possibility that Kyou and Ryou’s story might basically be finished too. It all felt rather abrupt, and I was confused by the choice of the crying while the relatively upbeat song was still playing in the background (for those curious, it was Over from the Clannad Image Vocal Album Sorarado). None of it really had any of the emotional impact for me that Kotomi or Fuuko’s arcs had, though I guess it’s worth pointing out that those stories do strengthen the theme of family, particularly Tomoyo’s.
It’s not entirely clear that Kyou and Ryou’s story is over, but now that the two have seen how much Tomoya likes Nagisa and wants to protect her, and now that they’ve apologized to each other and cried over everything, it’s hard to see how the writers can proceed any further with them. The preview also suggests that we’re continuing on with Nagisa establishing the drama club and with Tomoya’s relationship with his father, so it seems unlikely that we’ll come back to the Fujibayashi sisters in any major way. Ultimately, I’m disappointed that we won’t see more of Tomoyo or Kyou and Ryou’s stories, but I can understand the need to do things like this because of how varied the different paths were in the visual novel, making it likely impossible to cover everything.
One final note: there’s no episode next week – it’ll be women’s soccer instead. Episode 19 airs on February 28th, 2008.