There was a lot to absorb in this particular episode. Bunches of it far-fetched. First is the seemingly ease which Hayami is accepted into the collective of the classroom just because Hinata is accepting her. Second is the whole Hotaru/Hinata thing. That's just insane. Hotaru was at least 2 years younger than Hinata, and while it may not have been noticeable at 4 and 6, when Hotaru was supposed to turn 14 and was only 12, there would probably have been enough missing changes to her body that someone would have gotten worried.
In the end though, you just have to hate her grandfather. He's an evil old man, and deserves the beatings that Hayami were receiving the first few episodes.
Anyways, once I got my suspension of belief stretched back into place, this was a decent episode. Oddly, for the past two episodes there's not been any real movement on the romance aspect of this anime, and I'm kind of wondering when that will pick up again.
So, for the record, this is a list of the grandfather's crimes:
- He's forced his granddaughter to try and snare a boy
- He's burned a rival family's house to the ground
- He kicked said rival family out of town, while forcing their young daughter to stay
- He forced his youngest granddaughter to take the place of the elder, dead one
- He's physically abusive
Frankly, I'm hoping for a rather messy, and violent (preferably bloody and painful) end for his story arc.
The episode starts out with a flashback to Hinata and her little sister sitting on the porch. Hotaru was drawing in a sketchbook.
After the OP, we find Hinata walking to the school, on the way she meets up with Hayami and Takuma. They make it to school, where all the girls are making yukatas for the summer festival. A task which Hayami excels at, and which endears her to her classmates since she's willing to help them. After school, the three are walking home, and Hayami has a flashback to her confrontation last episode with Yui. Hinata walks away from them, as she lives in a different direction.
Once she arrived at her house, she goes to Hotaru's room, and pulls out a sketchbook from underneath the bed. We find out that when she was little, Hotaru wrote a story about the Spirit of the Sounds of Time, and the Promised One who helped the people overcome their problems, and that the spirit was named Otoha. Then her grandfather shows up, being evil as usual, whining about Hinata being in Hotaru's room, and the fact that she was spending time with Hayami.
The grandfather storms off, and Hinata tells him that she doesn't want to do it anymore. Which really irks the evil old fart, as he drags her to the family shrine by the hair, and shoves her face into a picture of Hotaru, and tells her to say that again. Cue the flashback, where we learn how Hotaru died, and the fact that it was really Hinata and Hotaru was forced to take Hinata's place. After the flashback, he drops her, and tells her she's confined to the house.
That night, she has another flashback, thinking about the general state of affairs in how she was treated because she wasn't quite as outgoing as her older sister. We also see where she tells Hinata about Otoha (and we learn that Otoha is actually Hinata's spirit).
Three days later, Hayami is being emo about the fact that Hinata/Hotaru hasn't been to school recently. Takuma tells her off, with the help of a Otoha flashback.
We then go back to Hotaru, where she's thinking about all the things that have happened since she's adopted the place of her older sister. Especially, how often it's been said by various townsfolk how happy they were that it was the older sister that survived. She goes back to her old room, and looks at her drawing book, and we discover that Otoha is watching her. Otoha blows open the book, to a blank page and Hotaru breaks down in tears.
She's interrupted by some of her classmates dropping off the notes for the school work that she's missed. While looking through it, she finds a completed Yukata, and folded in with it was a note from Hayami, who says all sorts of nice things. Hotaru though focuses on a single sentence, and via a flashback we find out that its' something that Hinata had told her in the past.
The next morning, she's walking to school, and doesn't respond when Takuma and Hayami call her Hinata-chan. When those two arrive, they find that Hotaru is announcing her real name to the rest of the class. We then get to hear Otoha read out what happened after Otoha and the promised one finished their work, and then everyone starts calling Hinata Hotaru.