In the aftermath of the Valentine’s Day incident, Kei lectures Ayumi and Koyoi about what they did, causing the girls to go apologize to their respective crushes. Kei also ends up giving Kusuda the kappa toy from the chocolate she was going to give him. Chikura meanwhile has been busy with a painting she’s been doing in the art club, and she’s taking her inspiration from a work done by a former student named Renjou Yukito. One day, a high school boy comes by the art room and sees Chikura’s unfinished work. She feels that it can’t compare to Renjou’s, and it is at this point that the guy reveals that he’s Renjou Yukito. Hearing Chikura wish that her painting could be like his, Renjou volunteers to help her finish hers because he has free time before his high school graduation date. He thus comes by often, and the two start working closely together. Unbeknownst to them, they’re watched by a shocked Sogabe who had just recently started getting closer to Chikura by walking home with her.
As the end of the school term nears, more of the painting gets completed, and Chikura wants to continue working on it with Renjou even on the days of the junior high school exams when the club doesn’t meet. Despite originally having looked forward to completing this painting, Chikura realizes that she now wants to paint it forever next to Renjou. While they’re working together a few days later, Chikura brings up what Renjou is doing after high school, so he reveals that he’s going abroad. It is not to study however but rather to paint with the children of various poor countries, and Renjou talks about how paintings can capture sceneries, dreams, and the smiles of cherished people from the past. Chikura is deeply moved by this, and she tells Sogabe all about Renjou that evening as they’re going home. The two keep working on the painting until it’s almost done, and the day of Renjou’s high school graduation finally arrives. Chikura urges him to do his best on what he plans to do, shocking Renjou and causing him to hug her and thank her in response. Chikura runs off embarrassed after this, but Renjou doesn’t go home right away.
The next day, after exams are over, Chikura rushes to the art room but finds no one there. She waits for Renjou to show up, but he never does, and Chikura eventually takes a look at the painting they were working on and realizes that Renjou drew something on it: her, smiling. Along with the painting is a note from him telling her that he’s already left Japan. He apologizes for not saying anything to her before going, but he couldn’t bring himself to after seeing how happy she was painting. He also admits that the reason he came to the junior high school was because he had been worried about his chosen path for the future, and he wanted to remember the time when he was happiest painting. He was happy that he was able to meet her and paint with her, and he promises to never forget the last words she gave him and her smile. That’s why he wants her to keep smiling. After running to the roof and crying, Chikura returns to the art room and struggles to finish the painting, but she eventually does by having the sakura trees in it bloom.
That was nowhere near as boring as I thought it might be (I had originally fallen asleep trying to read these chapters of the manga). In fact, it was pretty good, especially with all of the great instrumental pieces and the animation quality. It didn’t really evoke any emotions in me, but I could tell that they were going for maximum effect with the special ED and the high quality level, and it was still a decent story. I liked how the theme of seeing each other tomorrow is weaved into the story, as was the blooming sakura trees. It was also nice hearing Ishida Akira as Renjou since I don’t think he’s in anything else I’m watching right now. The only complaint I had is that the ending of the episode shortchanges Sogabe in a kind of important way compared to the manga, and I wonder if they’re going to make up for that later. In any case, I take back what I said about Chikura’s story being the least interesting – it’s better than Dobashi’s at the very least.
Next episode should be a fun one since it looks like they’re combining Meguru and Kei’s stories, so there’ll be two new characters.