It’s episode 18, and Okazaki gets suspended. However, once he gets back to school, he faces a new problem: nasty rumors being spread around about Sakagami. Okazaki must try to put down these rumors if his hope of Sakagami getting elected student council president are to be realized. Meanwhile, Nagisa also finally comes back to school, an event which forces Sakagami, Ryou, and Kyou to all realize what the situation with Okazaki really is.
The highlights of this episode:
- Okazaki gets suspended, but that doesn’t prevent Sakagami from coming over to wake him up. Sakagami tells him that she regrets him taking the blame for her fight. Okazaki’s father then shows up to each breakfast with them, but Okazaki stands and leaves just as his father sits down to eat.
- Okazaki spends the days hanging out at Sunohara’s dorm room, but one day Ryou and Kyou swing by to pay him a visit and the three go out to hang out. While out, Kyou has Ryou and Okazaki play a love-fortune games, but Okazaki puts that he and Ryou are friends instead of lovers for the fortune, which makes Kyou mad at him. To try to set Ryou and Okazaki up further, Kyou then decides to go home by herself, leaving the pair to go around town alone.
- The next day, Sunday, Sakagami swings by to cook lunch, but then Ryou and Kyou also show up at Okazaki’s house with bentos, followed by Kotomi who has her own bento, following by Fuko suddenly showing up with strange-looking starfish desserts for Okazaki. This leads Okazaki of facing the dilemma of whose lunch does he eat, given there is way too much for him to eat, yet he doesn’t want to offend anyone. In the end, he apparently finds a way to stuff it all down, but it gives him “horrible heartburn” when he finally returns to school the next day.
- Once at school, however, Okazaki finds that people have been vandalizing Sakagami student council president campaign posters referencing her as a “gang girl.” Okazaki decides to increase her popularity by having her play against – and beat – several of the school’s sports teams. Afterwards, Sakagami thanks Okazaki for boosting her popularity and making the bad rumors about her go away. She then tells Okazaki why she wants to become student council president: to protect the row of sakura trees that lead up to the school.
- Apparently there is a plan to cut the trees down which she opposes. She then tells Okazaki about how she was out of control when she was younger. In addition, her parents fought all the time and were planning on getting divorced, but constantly arguing about Sakagami and her brother. This distressed Sakagami’s brother to the point of jumping off a bridge, paralyzing him. The event brought Sakagami’s family back together. Once he finally got out of the hospital, Sakagami and her parents took her brother to see the sakura trees. Enjoying them, her bother told Sakagami that he wants to see them every year from that point on “as a family.”
- The next day, Nagisa is well enough to return to school. That afternoon, Nagisa goes with Okazaki to help out Sakagami at a tennis match she’s playing that afternoon. There, Okazaki finally formally introduces Sakagami to Nagisa, and Sakagami suddenly realizes what the situation between Nagisa and Okazaki is. However, during the match, a rouge tennis ball flies and hits Nagisa in the leg, bruising it badly. As Okazaki helps Nagisa walk to the infirmary, Kyou and Ryou seem to finally realize that they’ve lost their relationship battle over Okazaki to Nagisa. Meanwhile, Sakagami wins the position of student council president…
And all of a sudden, Sakagami’s arc looks like it’s over, and Kyou’s arc looks like it is either over or nearly over. If they are indeed over, neither of them seemed to be anything particularly spectacular, and I would be kind of disappointed if that is all to those arcs. Not that I haven’t liked the story up to this point, but I kind of expect the end of a story arc to have more of a “wow” factor to it than what we’ve seen over the last two episodes. Given that we have six episodes to go, maybe it isn’t the end of those arcs, but I seem to get a feeling of finality, especially for Sakagami’s.
This is also the first time that we really get to see things clicking between Okazaki and Nagisa. They may not realize it yet, but clearly everyone else does, so I have a feeling most of the rest of the series will be spent focusing on them (especially if Nagisa’s arc is the only one left to finish).
One question I have is the purpose of Fuko continuing to show up. I think I’ve said this before, but I realize that she’s supposed to probably be comedic relief, but her appearances seem to be somewhat pointless otherwise. If her popping up ends up serving some larger purpose, then fine, but I think it’s kind of cheapening to the end of Fuko’s arc if she keeps randomly popping up for no reason other than to try to pull a cheap laugh (and while the first couple of times she showed up it was funny, it’s long lost it’s novelty).
Also, it’s been quite a while since Sunohara truly got smashed by Sakagami. It was nice to see the pixilation come out again due to Sunohara’s mutilation.
In any case, I’m not exactly sure where the story will go from here, as I have no clue how Nagisa’s arc will turn out. I assume that she’ll get the theater club started again, but we also have the matter of this girl in the world with no birth and no death that has yet to be explained with no sign of how it ties into the story at large. I assume we’ll start getting clues about that pretty soon. (Of course, knowing KyoAni and Key, we’ve probably been hand-fed clues all along which I haven’t even noticed).