Ryuuji decides to chase after Taiga with Minori, but they aren’t able to find her immediately. Nevertheless, Minori yells to Taiga through the halls an admission that she likes Ryuuji, and she reveals how she had felt that she had to let Taiga have him because Taiga needed him. She realizes now that this was a misunderstanding, and she feels that only Taiga can decide her own happiness. By the time Minori reaches the entrance of school though, Taiga is already gone, and Minori collapses to the ground. Ryuuji thinks that she might be crying, but in actuality, she just has a nosebleed from falling earlier. The two thus go to the school infirmary where Minori explains that she used to play baseball and was pretty good at it. She hadn’t continued it at the time because she was a girl, but she’snow saving up money so that she can attend a sports university with a goal of all-Japan softball. Minori wants to shout to the world that this is her happiness, and she had been resolved to do her best despite the pain and not cry. She also asks Ryuuji about the hairpin and apologizes because she had believed that it was a present from Taiga and because she had worn it in front of him even though she had decided not to accept it. Minori ends the conversation by noting that there’s one more thing she can see – that he likes Taiga – and she bids him a giant farewell by putting her fist at his lips and then by cheering him on as he leaves to find Taiga.
Ryuuji correctly predicts that Taiga will show back up at the bakery, so he’s waiting for her when she gets there. He wants to talk to her about earlier, but Taiga avoids it by saying that she heard Minori back at school, and she wants to put off talking about things until after they finish their job. That’s what they end up doing, but on their way home, they’re interrupted by the arrival of Yasuko who accuses Ryuuji of lying to her. With her is Taiga’s mother who’s ready to take custody of Taiga, but Taiga refuses to go with her. Not paying attention to what’s going on between Taiga and her mother, Yasuko is angry that Ryuuji broke his promise not to work, but Ryuuji points to how she took on more work and collapsed. When Yasuko reiterates how she wants Ryuuji to study hard so that he can live well, Ryuuji snaps and reminds her that it was her who didn’t study and her who didn’t become the great person she wants him to be. Halfway through telling her not to force her failures onto him, Ryuuji realizes that his mother is crying, so he stops. Given all this, Taiga takes Ryuuji’s hand and the two run away.
The two eventually find themselves on a bridge, and Taiga explains how her father’s business failed, so he ran away from it all. Taiga doesn’t feel that she can be with her mother either because her mother already has a new family and is pregnant with a baby. Understanding what Taiga is feeling, Ryuuji relates how it might have been better for his own mother if he had never been born since she was still young at the time and could have gone back to high school. With Ryuuji thinking about all this while looking over the side of the bridge, Taiga panics and tries to keep him from jumping off. She feels that she’s living because he’s there for her, but in the process of saying all this, she accidentally pushes him off the bridge. Ryuuji ends up okay, and after a bit of back and forth, he decides to tell Taiga that they should run away until he turns 18 in two months, at which point he wants to marry her. If they do so, they’ll be adults and no one can get in their way, and Ryuuji promises to devote himself to her. Before Ryuuji can say that he loves her, Taiga jumps off the bridge onto him, and the two decide to reveal their feelings together. However, they’re interrupted by the sound of Ryuuji’s cell phone, and it turns out to be Yuusaku who’s concerned about them.
Taiga and Ryuuji end up going to Ami’s house, and since they’re soaked, Ami sends Taiga to take a shower first. While Taiga is gone, Ami gets Ryuuji to say clearly that he likes Taiga, and after he does so, she smiles and kicks him. Later, when the entire gang has gathered, Taiga and Ryuuji surprises everyone by declaring that they’re going to elope. Ami and Yuusaku try to warn the two against it, but after Taiga talks about how she has to do away with how she had thought that whatever she desired breaks because her wish now came true, Minori decides to support the couple. Even though Minori doesn’t think that what they’re doing is right, she’s feels that if this is how they’re going to do it, then she can’t oppose them, and she gives them her bankbook and her seal. To show their support as well, Ami gives them the keys to her villa, and Yuusaku gives them rice coupons. When Taiga and Ryuuji then get ready to leave Ami’s house, Minori makes Taiga happy by showing that she’s made up with Ami. However, after the door closes, Minori starts crying, and she doesn’t understand why since she had decided never to cry. What Minori does know is that your nose bleeds when you fall down in the hallway, and tears come out when you fall down in life. Ami, however, feels that it’s too early for them to be talking about life like that.
Taiga and Ryuuji meanwhile head home to get some things, and Ryuuji finds that both his mother and Inko-chan are gone. On the table is his grandfather’s watch, a map to his grandparents’ house, and a note from Yasuko telling him to show the watch to them. Given that his mother has run away, Ryuuji realizes that if he won’t become an adult when his birthday comes if he runs away as well. Thus, after Taiga talks about being a family with Yasuko on the train, Ryuuji proposes that they go to his grandparents’ place instead. There, he shows his grandparents the watch and introduces himself as their grandson and Taiga as his bride. Ryuuji has decided that they won’t run away.
Well how was that for exciting. It’s so great to see Taiga and Ryuuji’s relationship finally coming to a head, as well as Minori’s stuff, and I’m fairly pleased with how it all turned out. Minori finally showed and explained her true feelings, and she had some pretty good lines this episode (the farewell, then the nosebleed ones). Ami was somewhat redeemed as well, though her role was still pretty minor. Ryuuji and Taiga’s decision to elope was surprising to say the least – that entire bridge scene was a little crazy – but it’s not entirely unreasonable in the sense that Ryuuji was desperate and wanted to take care of Taiga without letting her get taken away by her mother. Incidentally, Taiga’s mother was portrayed as a lot more evil than I thought she’d be, but at least we got to see her.
Now I understand that there were some changes from the novels, such as there not being a kiss between Ryuuji and Taiga on the bridge, but I thought that the anime adaptation still did a pretty good job telling the overall story, and there were a lot of strong moments. I wish they hadn’t included an OP at all this episode given how late it came and how it changed the mood from an important scene, but J.C.Staff made up for it with a strong ending. Yuusaku’s fever line in particular was perfect. In any case, I assume they’re saving the kiss for the climax in the finale – at least I’m hoping they are because I’ll be a bit disappointed if there’s no kiss at all before this is over. Regardless, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for a strong finish.