One rainy day, Ryou confesses her feelings to Tomoya, and even he’s initially hesitant, he ultimately decides to try going out with her. This makes Ryou really happy, and so the two start dating. Sometime later, Tomoya runs into a despondent Kyou, and she eventually brings up the topic of if he’s kissed her sister yet. Of course he hasn’t, and so Kyou proposes practicing together. The two come within inches of doing so, but at the last moment, Kyou pulls back and pretends that she wasn’t serious. Unfortunately, the two were seen together, and rumors start spreading around school. Tomoya has to explain to Sunohara that he’s actually going out with Ryou, but in the middle of their conversation, Kyou shows up and drags Sunohara off. Tomoya inadvertently follows them and sees Kyou trying to kiss Sunohara, but Sunohara pushes her away because he knows that Tomoya is the one she really likes. Kyou starts to try to deny it, but Tomoya then makes his presence known. Afterward, Sunohara tells Tomoya that Kyou was trying to go out with him so that she could get rid of the rumor.
When Tomoya gets to talk with Kyou again, she pretends that she just wanted a boyfriend after seeing him and Ryou together. She tells him to think about only her sister, and Tomoya continues to go out with Ryou, but his mind is elsewhere despite Ryou’s best efforts. On his way home from the date, Tomoya gets caught in the rain and runs into Botan. The boar leads him to Kyou who’s just standing there getting soaked, but she doesn’t want Tomoya approaching her. Refusing to leave her alone like she wants, Tomoya grabs her and holds her in his arms, causing her to say that she doesn’t want him being so kind to her because then she’ll misunderstand. Kyou goes on to admit that she was scared of being rejected by him because then they might not be friends anymore, and if they had actually dated, then Ryou would have been sad. Tomoya starts to say something, but she cuts him off, asserts that she’s not Ryou, and finally bids him farewell. Unsure of what to do, Tomoya goes to Sunohara who points out that whatever he does now will hurt one of the girls, and the more he puts it off, the deeper the wound.
Based on this advice, Tomoya meets with Ryou, and she seems to know what he wants to say. Ryou admits that she knew who her sister liked and that she didn’t want to lose to her, and she talks about how she had surprised Kyou by saying that she wanted to get along better with Tomoya. Kyou had of course offered to help her, and although Ryou felt bad about not playing fair, it was overridden by her desire to be with Tomoya. In desperation now, Ryou offers to be a substitute for Kyou by becoming more assertive and by letting her hair grow long, but Tomoya doesn’t want that. Before he can say anything else though, Ryou kisses him and then runs out of the room. This leaves Tomoya frustrated, and Ryou doesn’t come to school the next day. That afternoon, however, she shows up again, and Tomoya finally gets the chance to break up with her. He tells her that he had a lot of fun in their time together, but he confesses that it’s actually her older sister that he likes. To Tomoya’s surprise, the girl in front of him is none other than Kyou with short hair, not Ryou. Kyou had been urged here by her sister, and she finally confesses that she likes Tomoya.
In the aftermath, Tomoya tries to go apologize to Ryou, but she doesn’t want to hear it. She wants to keep their time together as a cherished memory, both good and bad, and life goes on for her. As summer approaches, Kyou and Tomoya start going out, and when Kyou isn’t feeling confident about their relationship, she kisses him and reaffirms that she likes him.
Wow, that’s the most angst and emotion I’ve seen in an episode of anything since…well, at least the end of AFTER STORY. I’ve been wishing for a long, long time to see Kyou and Ryou’s story animated – basically ever since they skipped over it in the original series – and while this didn’t quite stir any emotions in me, it was still incredibly entertaining to watch. Certain things were predictable (Kyou’s practice-kissing scene made me laugh) but others (like short-haired Kyou) were less so, and it altogether made for a nice emotional roller coaster ride with characters I wanted to see more of. I would say that it’s even better than the Tomoyo episode from last year’s final CLANNAD DVD. Speaking of which, I’m sort of amazed they managed to fit everything into one episode, but I still wish that they had been able to stretch this out over two or three of them. That could have made it really good.
I also have to say that watching this episode really gets me nostalgic for CLANNAD and the type of storytelling and characters that it had. It makes me wish that Kyoto Animation would hurry up and announce another adaptation of a Key title like Tomoyo After or Little Busters or something.