One day, while Kobato is trying to read to the children a story about fireflies, Ioryogi observes Sayaka get a worrying phone call. Unaware of this, Kobato spends her time trying to improve her reading abilities, and while in the park, she’s approached by an older man who strangely tells her to stop reading the firefly book. He doesn’t give a reason though, and when Kobato tries to approach him afterward to figure out his problem, he leaves. The next morning, Kobato arrives at the nursery to find three thugs there demanding that a loan be repaid. Kiyokazu steps in after one of them assaults Kobato, and Sayaka tries to get them to leave. They only do, however, after seeing the determination in Kobato’s eyes and after hearing one of the kids crying for the police. Kobato really wants to do something to help the money situation, but she’s unable to because she doesn’t have any money herself. On her way home, she runs into the older man again, and he asks her again not to read the book.
Kobato finds out from Kiyokazu later that the older man is actually the author of the firefly book, Mori Soutarou. Wanting to help him, she does some research on fireflies and tracks him down again to tell him to meet her that night to watch the fireflies. He does indeed show up when the time comes, and he tells her the story of how his lover, who was also the illustrator of the book, had once asked him to go watch the fireflies with her. At the time, he was too busy with work and hadn’t gone with her. When he finally had the time, he found out that she had gotten into a bad accident, and he’s felt guilty ever since that he didn’t go with her when she originally asked. Having finished telling of his past, Mori gets up to leave, and in trying to stop him, Kobato falls. He ends up catching her, and in doing so, he realizes that the area they’re in is the exact same place his lover had gone to draw the pictures for the book. At that very moment, the fireflies all light up, and he finally sees what his lover had wanted to show him. In the aftermath, Kobato finds that she’s gained a konpeitou, and Ioryogi gives her a passing grade.
So after taking break for the Tezuka Osamu special last week, Kobato. returned this week with a nice little firefly story. Given the set-up, the whole lover-in-an-accident thing was a bit on the predictable side, however I liked how it ended with that firefly scene (the background music especially). More interesting for the long term story was the debt stuff. The actual scene had me rolling my eyes a bit because the bad guys backed off so quickly in the face of Kobato and a crying little boy and because I tend to blame Sayaka as much as anyone for taking money from thugs/loan sharks, but I’m curious to see how Kobato eventually helps solves this problem. I had actually initially thought that maybe the firefly stuff was going to be connected to the debt stuff (e.g. the author would turn out to be rich or something and end up making a donation), but I guess it won’t be quite that convenient.