In the Illusionary World, the robot and the girl have left the house, and the girl warns the robot not to go too far or else they won’t be able to return home. They are looking for junk they can use as tools for living, but the robot sees a sheep-like creature and follows it back to the girl. The girl is already holding another one of the creatures, and as the two watch the creatures trot away, the girl comments on how there was a gentle smell. Meanwhile, in the real world, Mei is still staying at the Furukawa Bakery and refuses to go home because she’s worried about her brother’s future. Sunohara, however, hasn’t thought about that much – he feels that higher education is impossible, so he’ll have to find work. He suspects that if he had a girlfriend who is strong and stable, then Mei would feel relieved. Tomoya jumps on the idea of getting Sunohara a fake girlfriend to accomplish this, but Sunohara unfortunately first chooses Ryou. Doing something like this is impossible for her, and just thinking about it causes her to start crying. Kyou rushes in to save her little sister, beating up Sunohara and slapping Tomoya in the process.
With Ryou and Kyou out, Nagisa suggests asking Tomoyo, but Sunohara is afraid of her and considers her a rival. When he sits down beside her, she first ignores him and then treats him like a wild animal. He manages to get her to say that she doesn’t want to see him to get beaten by anyone other than her, but she ends up just kicking him like she always does. Sunohara, Tomoya, and Nagisa then visit Kotomi, and she agrees to help, but it leads to her playing the violin again. Since Sunohara doesn’t have the willpower to withstand such a sound, Kotomi is out as a choice as well. Tomoya’s next idea is to ask Yukine, however she’s already occupied with helping a guy who doesn’t take kindly to Sunohara. They do some more searching, but nobody seems to be suitable for being a fake girlfriend until Sunohara and Tomoya run into Sanae that evening. To the boys’ surprise, she offers to help and is willing to use a disguise to keep her identity hidden from Mei. Nagisa isn’t particularly happy about her mother doing this, but Sanae goes ahead and tries on a variety of outfits that night in preparation for the date. Sanae explains that she had been worried about Sunohara since the baseball game, and since she knows he’s a kind person at heart, she wants to help start him down a good path. Tomoya doesn’t object, but he does convince Sanae and Nagisa not to tell Akio about all this.
Sunohara is incredibly nervous during the rehearsal date, but Sanae gets him prepared, and it’s soon time for the actual date. Tomoya and Nagisa bring Mei to meet the girlfriend, and everyone is shocked when Sanae shows up dressed in a school uniform. Tomoya’s face even turns red. Mei, however, isn’t too happy to see her brother’s girlfriend.
That was probably the funniest episode of CLANNAD I’ve ever seen. After Sanae offered to be Sunohara’s girlfriend, I just couldn’t stop laughing – the the entire scene where she was rehearsing with him was comic gold. Unfortunately, next week looks a bit more serious. Then again, I probably shouldn’t say “unfortunately” since I’m curious to see what the the first serious parts of AFTER STORY will be. I thought they’d jump right into Tomoya and Nagisa stuff, but it looks like the Sunohara/Mei story could turn out to be interesting as well.
All the talk about Sunohara’s future reminds me of what happened with him in the Tomoyo chapter. Specifically this. Come to think of it, I see Tomoyo differently now that I’ve seen that episode. I keep thinking that she has some tinge of regret that she’s not with Tomoya, but maybe I’m just imagining things there. In contrast, it’s pretty clear that Nagisa is currently still very insecure about her relationship with Tomoya. I wonder if that insecurity will ever be eliminated or if it remains a part of their relationship.