Everyone is back in school, and the student council holds a meeting to discuss how the upcoming culture festival will only be one day. Sumire vows to make it exciting since it’s her last major school event as student council president. The festival is on the minds of the other students as well, and Haruta proposes to the guys in his class that they vote together to put on a maid cafe. The guys like the general idea, but they differ on how they want the girls to dress, so Yuusaku suggests just doing a cosplay cafe. Afterward, Taiga brings Ryuuji her gym pants which have a tear in them. She blames Ami for it, but Ryuuji breaks up the girls’ arguing and promises to sew up the tear. He then talks with Minori and brings up what she had said previously about UFOs, however she avoids the topic. Later that night, as Ryuuji is working on the pants, he notices Taiga’s cell phone ring, but she ignores it and doesn’t appreciate him bugging her about it. She reveals that the person calling is actually her father who had remarried and abandoned her, and she insists on referring to him as a shitty old man when Ryuuji tries to lecture her on family.
The next day, Haruta leads the official class discussion on what they should do for the festival and who they are entering into the school beauty contest. Haruta tries to get the latter out of the way first by nominating Ami, but it turns out that she can’t because she’s actually presiding over the ceremonies. Ami suggests Taiga instead, and although Taiga initially vehemently opposes the idea, Yuusaku supporting it renders her speechless. As for what the class is going to do as a whole for the festival, the guys suggest a cosplay cafe as planned. The girls don’t like that suggestion, and no one listens as Minori tries to suggest a haunted house. Ultimately, it’s their teacher Yuri who shoots down all the ideas and starts ranting, so Haruta has everyone just vote for what they want. The guys are confident that the girls are no match for their male voting alliance, but unfortunately for them, Haruta screws up and does a lottery selection out of the bag of votes instead of majority rule. Haruta doesn’t realize his mistake until after he reads the slip of paper he drew which says “Professional wrestling show.”
Taiga meanwhile remains pissed off at Ami, but that mood changes to surprise when she goes to the ATM for some money and sees that there’s nothing left in her account. She realizes that it’s because she’s been ignoring her father’s calls, and when he calls her again, she has no choice but to answer. This leads to her setting up a meeting with her father, but she doesn’t go herself and only sends Ryuuji. Taiga’s father is disappointed that his daughter didn’t come and ends up treating Ryuuji to lunch. As he gives Ryuuji an envelope with the money, he notes that he wanted to talk to his daughter. He reveals that he had remarried a young woman named Yuu who Taiga couldn’t get used to living with, and she had left home. What he had wanted to tell Taiga was that he’ll be separating from Yuu soon, and so he wants to live with Taiga again because he loves her. With this on his mind, Ryuuji returns home and tries to tell Taiga what her father had said, but she doesn’t want to hear it. When he mentions how bad he feels for her father who is depressed that she’s ignoring him, she feels that she’s the one who deserves pity and storms out.
The next day at school, Haruta gives everyone a script that he wrote for their professional wrestling show. In it, Ami gets to be the heroine while Taiga is the villain and Ryuuji is her underling. Their practice gets interrupted though when Yuusaku reveals that there’s going to be a competition between classes this year for the festival, and the winning class will receive a number of prizes, including refrigerator and air-conditioning privileges. Later that day, Taiga and Ryuuji return home and run into Taiga’s father who had been waiting. Taiga’s reaction is to kick her father in the crotch and call him a stalker before walking towards Ryuuji’s apartment. Ryuuji, however, thinks that she’s being stubborn and tries to stop her. This leads to her accusing him of being allied with her father, but Ryuuji claims that he’s doing this because he’s her ally. He tries to get her to talk with her father, but Taiga refuses to acknowledge her father as anything other than a stalker.
This angers Ryuuji, and he tries to get Taiga to be honest about wanting to go home, but she feels that he doesn’t understand her. She claims that she doesn’t need her father – who she refers to as trash – and that she had abandoned him, not the other way around. Ryuuji gets really angry with this, and it leads to him inadvertently mentioning how his own father won’t come back no matter how much he wishes. It is at this point that Ryuuji realizes that he’s not doing this for Taiga’s sake. He starts to apologize to her, but she stops him and agrees to do as he says because she doesn’t want him to make that sad face anymore. She doesn’t know whether it’s possible to think that this is a good thing, but because of what he said, she’ll think that way. With that, Taiga walks back to her father and lets him hug her. As he watches them, Ryuuji is glad for them, but there exists a bit of doubt in him.
Well, the school festival stuff this episode was fairly standard fare, but I thought everything about Taiga and her father was quite good. The ending of the episode was an unexpectedly touching scene because I thought she’d resist until the end and that something what Ryuuji said wouldn’t have had an effect on her. It was also touching because the music made it feel that way, and I have to say again that Toradora’s background music is some of the best I’ve heard all year, ranking up there with Macross Frontier and true tears. The fact though that there are three parts to this story (along with the rest of the culture festival) makes me think that there’s a lot more to it than we’re being told.
So far it’s mostly been Taiga being stubborn, but I found it a little odd that her father separating with his new wife was part of the solution to get Taiga back. Either that means that he’s willing to give everything up to be back with his daughter – which doesn’t seem right considering his wife is someone he loved enough to marry – or that he’s mainly coming back to his daughter because things aren’t going well with his wife, and that makes me question his priorities. And what happened to Taiga’s real mother anyway? Unfortunately, the preview was only a single shot this week (which is why I included it with the regular set), so there weren’t any hints about what’s going to happen.