With the arrival of winter in the illusionary world, the robot senses that something is starting to change, and the girl is sleeping more. The robot worries that the world will be covered in clouds and snow before long, and when the girl wakes up, the robot points outside to indicate where it wants to go. The girl warns that winter is coming and that if it gets any colder, then she’ll be unable to move. What’s more, if they leave their home, then they won’t be able to return. The girl ends up asking what’s over there since the robot still wants to go, so the robot indicates that it’s a warm place where every day is fun. Back in the real world, Yukine is cooking for Tomoya, Nagisa, and Sunohara in the resource room. When Tomoya asks if Yukine gets bored always being alone there, she denies that she is because she has a lot of visitors. As proof of this, she is then paid a visit by a muscular guy named Sudou who is all beaten up. Sudou explains that his friends lost big because of his mistake, and since he feels that he can’t face them, he plans to leave town. Yukine, however, convinces Sudou that everyone including herself would miss him, and she has him perform a charm so that he can make up with his friends. She also suggests that he apologize to his friends, and she explains that running away doesn’t solve anything.
Afterwards, Sudou reveals to Tomoya and company that Yukine plays a big sister role to his group. They’re all under her care and come to her after getting into fights. His explanation is interrupted by the arrival of another rough looking guy who’s been pursuing Sudou. This new guy has no intention of troubling Yukine since she’s taken care of his friends as well, so the two guys willingly head out to fight elsewhere. On the way home later, Yukine reveals to Tomoya and company that her brother is the leader of Sudou’s group, and it is one of the two groups in their town locked in a power struggle. Her brother apparently hasn’t ever been defeated in a fight, and he keeps his looks and whereabouts hidden so that he doesn’t get attacked by surprise. Right as Yukine is telling the others that her brother’s name is Miyazawa Kazuto, she gets jumped from behind by a young boy. The boy thinks that Yukine is the boss of the delinquents and demands back his older sister, but Yukine just lifts him onto her back and deposits him on a park bench. The boy ends up mistaking Sunohara for Kazuto due to his blonde hair, and after Sunohara decides to play along, they head to Sunohara’s room at the dormitory to figure out what the boy is talking about concerning his sister.
Once there, the boy – whose name is Yuu – explains that his older sister left home and joined the group that Yukine’s brother leads. Yuu is trying to get his sister back, and since Kazuto likes to stay in the shadows, Yuu came to Yukine instead. Upon learning that Yuu’s sister is 21 years old, Sunohara thinks that she wanted her independence and that Yuu has a sister complex. He compares Yuu to the spore of a flower that will be blown by the wind and will go on a journey to a new place to meet new people, and he feels that Yuu can’t be spoiled by his sister forever. Sunohara goes on to explain that even when apart, Yuu and his sister are still connected by a bond because that’s what family is. Despite this, Yukine knows that Yuu is worried, so she promises to ask her friends about his sister. The next day, Tomoya finds Yuu following Sunohara around at school, still under the impression that he’s Kazuto. Yukine eventually finds out where Yuu’s sister is, so they go to see her at the place where their group always gathers. Sunohara almost chickens out because he knows that he’ll get exposed as not being Yukine’s brother, but Tomoya drags him in anyway. The entire group is happy to see Yukine, and Yuu soon gets reunited with his sister who is fine.
When Tomoya comments on how popular Yukine is, one of the members explains that it’s because she treats people’s injuries without regard to whether they’re friend or foe. Sunohara’s secret then gets out because Yuu calls him Kazuto, and although Yuu is disappointed to learn that this was a lie, Sunohara is spared from any major harm from the offended group members because he’s Yukine’s friend. While the others are enjoying themselves, Yukine explains to Tomoya and Nagisa that the relationship between parent and child in Yuu’s home isn’t very good. Yuu’s sister left after a fight with her mother, and Yukine notes that a lot of the people in this group don’t have good relationships with their parents. Her brother is one of these people. Hearing this, Tomoya tells of how he had once heard that having something like a family keeps people from straying from their path. A little later, Nagisa asks about Yukine’s brother coming, so Sudou reveals that the real Kazuto is actually in the hospital after getting into a car accident while saving a friend. Unfortunately, there’s no picture of him, though Yukine claims that everyone says she looks like him. After leaving the gathering, Yukine, Nagisa, Tomoya, and Sunohara get attacked by a trio from the rival group who had earlier overheard Sunohara pretending to be Kazuto and still think that it’s true. Tomoya and company flee into a tunnel, and luckily, Tomoyo happens to be there because she’s on patrol due to reports of violence in this area. She beats up the thugs, and afterward, everyone worries about the big misunderstanding.
Although this episode was focused on Yukine, I actually thought that Sunohara stole the show for much of it with his antics. Yukine’s character still feels a bit too restrained and distant to me, and the stuff about her brother’s group and her brother himself just didn’t top some of the laughs that Sunohara created. Maybe that will change next week since the preview shows Yukine crying and implies that there’s something amiss with her brother. More crucial to the overall story is the fact that this arc is talking a lot about parent-child relationships and the importance of family. The former probably will lead into more development on Tomoya’s strained relations with his own father, and the latter is a theme that I suspect will come up in a big way in the episodes to come.
On a different note, how many more of these illusionary world scenes are there? I assume that that number is close to the number of story arcs left up until the final arc since we’ve been getting one of those scenes per arc. Come to think of it, is there enough material to go for another 17 episodes? Yukine is the third supporting cast member to get a story, and I can only think of a handful more (mainly Ryou and Yuusuke) who potentially will. Assuming neither of those goes more than three episodes each, that leaves approximately half the series for developing Tomoya and Nagisa. I’m not sure how much story there is left about them, but that seems a bit long.