I've got to admit, I'm really not liking Ai here. I understand that whole follow your heart thing, but if she's going to behave like this, then she really needs to make things plain to Miyokichi. Then the next character that I dislike is Jun. He's quite manipulative, and that whole bargain thing. While it may have worked in She's all That in real life, I doubt there's a girl out there who'd be too happy about being a part of a bargain or a bet. I see that creating some bad mojo for all the characters involved in a future episode.
On the Shin front, one of the girls' feelings have actually penetrated that lead box that he calls a brain. I know that I'm not the most observant of all males, especially when it comes to a female's feelings. After all, the first time that I ever saw my wife, she was staring at me, and the entire class I thought she was staring at the clock which I was sitting beneath. Yet, how much more obvious about their feelings can these girls be. Actually, Noe was the least obvious, as she hadn't even realized yet what her feelings where.
Hiromi is still being less than nice to Shin, but he did kind of deserve it. Additionally, I still have my reservations about the validity of the sibling claim. It's just too convenient of an excuse to push Shin'ichiro towards a Noe ending, couple that with the whole "I'm a horrible person" comment from Hiromi after telling Shin, and then the question from Shin's dad--the one person left alive who could clear all such things up.
Miyokichi though, now he's an odd goat. If a girl I was dating, had implied that she liked my best friend, well, I'd be less than happy. Of course, I guess it would be hard to get mad at Shin, it's not like he's doing anything to encourage Ai, and he's demonstrated time and again just how oblivious he is towards the advances of the opposite sex.
That leaves us at Noe. Her naivety shines through here again, as does her penchant for confronting issues head on. This leads to both the fight with Hiromi, her confusion while dealing with the realization of her love, as well as forcing Shin to both say and write out his confession to her. I still fear that she's going to end up being emotionally beaten by the events of the next few episodes, and am almost cringing at the thought.
Still, I can't sing praises enough for this series, and am looking forward to next week's episode. What's most interesting is the fact that the anime really could still end up going any way. In CLANNAD or Myself; Yourself (for example) you're fairly certain at the beginning who the main character is going to end up with. It's often telegraphed, and done so loudly. Yet, I don't get that at all. I'm constantly flickering back and forth between Hiromi and Noe as to the one that Shin will end up with, and after the events of this episode, I'm even finding it conceivable for a Ai ending. It's just brilliant if you ask me.
The episode begins with Shin'ichiro still trying to digest the big reveal from yesterday. As he's preening in the mirror to see if he looks like Hiromi, we have flashes over to her cooking breakfast. Then we get the whole family sitting down to a meal, and Shin is tossing evil glares at pretty much everyone. He's playing the emo ticket all the way to school, and of course there's Noe trying to cheer him up.
After he tells her that she doesn't understand, she takes the lunch she made for him (fried chicken) and goes to feed it to the remaining chicken. When the chicken snubs it, she then goes finds Hiromi, and forces her to eat the lunch. Ultimately, she blames Hiromi for the way Shin has been acting and the two girls get into a fight.
Shin'ichiro and Miyokichi arrive on the scene, and when Shin calls out Hiromi's name, she runs off in one direction, while Noe goes in another. Shin follows Noe, and an inkling of realization sinks in through his incredibly dense head.
Shin then heads off to dance practice, where he's paying more attention to his angst than his dancing--but it actually improves his dancing. Ai is there watching him as well. After the practice, those two are walking home, and Ai subtly tosses herself at him once again. Before Shin can realize what's happening, Jun shows up on his motorcycle, and tells him again to keep his end of the bargain.
Ai is at home knitting, and gets a text message. At first she thinks it's from Shin so she's all sorts of happy, but quickly comes off her high when she sees it's from Miyokichi. They meet up, and Ai tells him that he shouldn't be so nice to her, and she tries to confess. Miyokichi tells her to hush, as he doesn't want to know, and that she's the only one for him.
Then we pop in on Hiromi who's working on the computer. Shin's mom comes over, and treats her nice. Shin catches the two talking, and asks Hiromi if his mom is being mean again. Hiromi just ignores him though. As he's storming off to his room, his father asks what he's been told by his mother, and he replies not that much, and keeps on going.
He gets up to his room, and starts thinking about all sorts of things, and quickly comes to the realization that he's been so conflicted because he likes Noe as well.
Jun arrives at his house, and finds Noe miserable on the floor. He cheers her up, and we get some more vibe of him liking his little sister a bit too much.
The next day, it begins to snow, and at lunch, Shin asks what Miyokichi is going to do. Miyokichi makes some vague comments, but Shin is clueless as to what he's talking about. Since, Miyokichi wasn't going to eat, he goes and finds Noe.
Upon finding her, she begins to run around the chicken coop, and Shin starts to chase her. Hiromi comes out from the basketball court, sees this behavior and then turns and goes back. Finally, catching Noe, Shin'ichiro ends up confessing to her. Which makes her happy enough that she feels like crying, and drives home to Shin just how much this girl likes him.
After school, Ai is working in her family's shop, and she opens the doors to find Shin hanging out there, getting snowed on. She drags him in, and makes him sit down while she gets a towel. On returning, he tells her that he's going to go out with Noe, which causes Ai to react.