It’s Kobato episode 5 (finally), and Kobato runs into a remorseful author and wonders why he doesn’t want her reading a picture book that he authored.
The kids in the nursery ask Kobato to read a story to them, but Kobato doesn’t seem to good at it and keeps accidentally skipping pages and is otherwise being a big klutz. Meanwhile, Sayaka gets a call from someone who has been bothering her but again refuses their “request,” whatever it is. Ioryogi sees this and starts paying more attention to Sayaka, including the fact that the nursery appears to be running in the red.
Given Kobato’s failure to properly read the picture book, she borrows the book so that she can practice reading it to get better at it. However, while she’s practicing reading out on a bench somewhere, a man comes up and tells her to stop reading the book and walks away. When Kobato leaves, she notices the same man sitting on a bench himself, looking troubled. Kobato realizes that this might be her chance to gather another piece of candy, but she ends up bothering the man more than helping him in her first attempt to find out if anything is wrong.
The next morning, Kobato is again late getting to the nursery, but once she gets there, she finds three thugs outside, who say they’re there to “get their money back.” When Kobato sees one of the thugs being mean to the kids, she runs to help, and another one grabs her hair. Ioryogi wants to help, but doesn’t want to reveal himself, but Kobato is ultimately saved when Fujimoto shows up. Sayaka comes up and tells the men not to show up during school hours, but the lead guy says that they’re tired of waiting to be paid back. Suddenly, Kobato runs to Sayaka’s defense, surprising Fujimoto. The man tries to intimidate her, but she doesn’t back down, and they finally leave when one of the kids start yelling for the police.
That afternoon, Kobato is out walking and sees the old man she saw the day before in the same place as before. This time Kobato is a bit more diplomatic about asking what’s wrong (as well as asking why she can’t read the book), but the man still won’t tell her anything. Kobato goes back home depressed, only to find out that Fujimoto is also her neighbor. Kobato tells Fujimoto about the man she met, and Fujimoto tells her that it’s Mr. Mori, the author of the book. This surprises Kobato, both since she met someone somewhat famous, but also that he would ask her not to read his own book. It was also, apparently, the last book he wrote.
Kobato reads the story all the way through, and sees that it’s a story about a firefly that’s forgotten how to glow, and Ioryogi surmises that this is how Mr. Mori feels. So, Kobato decides to go to the library to research something, and the next day finds Mr. Mori back in the park again and invites him to go watch the fireflies that night with her. That night, Kobato waits at her designated meeting point, and Mr. Mori finally shows up, saying that he felt like he had to since Kobato said the same thing as Naoko, his ex-girlfriend. Naoko, the illustrator for the book, thought it would be nice to write a story about fireflies, and one night asked Mori to go watch the fireflies in the same place Kobato suggested. However, Mori felt like he was too busy then and didn’t go. Naoko kept asking him, and finally he got a break and decided to go see them with her, but on her say, she was involved in a car accident, and as a result, Mori blamed himself for not going to see them with her earlier.
Mori then gets up to leave but realizes that where they are is exactly like the illustrations Naoko had made – she had drawn them when she had come to view the fireflies. The morning, Kobato finds yet another piece of candy in her jar, indicating that watching the fireflies has healed his heart.
This was a pretty good episode, and set up several things. Once, it established that Fujimoto lives next door to Kobato (something he appeared to be aware of, but that she wasn’t). Kobato also showed up courage standing up to the thugs, and perhaps softened Fujimoto’s view of her. We also established that the nursery is pretty badly in the red, and Kobato wants to help out, but doesn’t know how. I’m guessing this isn’t the last time we’ll see those thugs, either. Also, Sayaka herself looks like she may need to be healed later, though the finances of the nursery seem to be the main thing bothering her right now.
At first I wondered why Mr. Mori would bother coming out to see the fireflies with Kobaot, but after he explained what happened to Naoko, it made sense: he didn’t want what happened to Naoko to happen to Kobato, even though what happened to Naoko was some sort of freak accident.