It’s Kobato, episode 21, and the decision has finally come: will Sayaka close down the nursery, or will she, Fujimoto, and Kobato fight until the end?
Kobato decides to give her “best” chocolate to Fujimoto, but by leaving it at his door. At the nursery the next day, the children keep asking her who she gave it to, Kobato resists telling, but is soon interrupted by the arrival of Okiura. He asks to speak to Sayaka, who lets him in.. Sayaka asks Okiura why he’s changed so much. He just says that this is the real him but Sayaka doesn’t believe him.
Okiura goes on and asks her what’s more important: the nursery, or sticking out till the end and potentially putting the children in danger when they come to bulldoze the nursery. This finally causes Sayaka to relent and say that she’ll close the nursery, but asks Okiura to wait until the graduation ceremony. Kobato decides that she’s going to go to Okiura’s place to try to convince him not to close the nursery, but Fujimoto urges her not to go. Instead, Fujimoto goes to talk to the thug who got sick in front of the nursery. He doesn’t see the big problem since Sayaka decided to close down, but Fujimoto says he’s still going to fight.
The thug tells Fujimoto that “the President,” Okiura’s father, has had his eyes on the nursery for a while. He conned Sayaka’s father into taking out the loan, and if he were really serious bout it, could make life even worse for the nursery than what it already is. That’s why Okiura is dealing with it – playing the “bad guy” to prevent his father from getting involved and to protect Sayaka.
Finally, it’s time for the nursery school graduation, and Kobato sees Okiura in front of the nursery, but before she can run out to talk to him he leaves. That night, she tells Chihiro about it, and says that he looked lonely and sad, even though he was the one who told them to get out. Chihiro remarks that maybe he still loves Sayaka, but Kobato asks why he would do things to make Sayaka sad. Chihiro explains that sometimes, because you love someone…misunderstandings can happen.
The next day, Kobato is out in town and sees the thug again, and decides to follow him. She begs him to let her see Okiura, but she tells her that she should stay out of it. Kobato decides to wait outside until Okiura leaves so she can catch him. Finally Okiura relents and comes out of the building. He thinks she’s there to talk about the nursery, but instead Kobato asks him, if he still loves Sayaka, why is he doing what he’s doing, and making her and everyone else sad. He simply tells Kobato that he can’t restrain his father’s power, so he’s doing this to protect Sayaka.
This answer seems to satisfy Kobato, as it seems to show that he still does love Sayaka, and then out of exhaustion, Kobato faints. The next day at the nursery, Fujimoto tells Sayaka that Okiura was doing what he was doing to protect her, and that she should forgive him, since he’s the only person who can make her happy. Okiura then arrives carrying Kobato. When Kobato wakes up, she tells Sayaka that if she still loves Okiura (who just left), that she should chase after him, which she then does. Kobato then gets two more candies in her jar.
Wow. A lot going on in this episode. Sayaka finally relents and closes down the nursery, and we end up finding out that Okiura decided to take what he saw as the best of two bad roads, and decided to be the bad guy towards Sayaka to prevent the even worse happening of his father getting directly involved.
The debt problem getting solved seems less and less likely, though one would think that is how Kobato is going to finish off her jar of candies. I just hope it isn’t some cheesy Fruits Basket (the anime) ending where Kobato goes to see “The President” and then begs and cries and the President suddenly sees the errors of his ways.
That sort of thing kind of worked in this episode because Okiura was never really “bad” to begin with – he was just playing the part. But now that Sayaka has surrendered the nursery, there really isn’t a reason to play it anymore.