|Repeat from last episode: Yamato confessed again, by chance using Kazuki's words from two years ago - and Asahina ran away into the night, crying. As she didn't return for two hours, Yamato started searching for her. Now on to the new stuff:
As Yamato's mother has sent fresh pears to the Fujikawa house, Ayano wants to invite Yamato and Asahina to eat them together, only to find out that both are not at home. Saotome informs her that she watched Asahina running out of Yamato's room in tears, and Megumi concludes that Yamato must have gone searching for Asahina. As this wasn't the first fight between these two, the fellow lodgers decide to let them be.
At home, Honoka-chan remembers Yamato's depressed face after the race and wonders if he's alright. She almost gives him a call with her cell-phone [image1] - but then she remembers that the boy has Asahina next to him, so she shouldn't intrude.
While Yamato is running through the night, Asahina is sitting in front of the temple. Yamato's confession brought back all her memories about Kazuki - how the senpai confessed to her, how her big sister teased her about having fallen for that childish guy, how she was waiting for Kazuki's result at the nation-wide tournament, how Miyamoto called her to tell her about the accident, how she wasn't able to cry during his funeral [image2], how she went to get his belongings from the team office, and how she completed Kazuki's scribbling on the table [image3], finally answering senpai's feelings for her when it was too late already.
Honoka happens to run out of lead for her mechanical pencil, so she takes a walk to the convenience store - and to her surprise finds a crying Asahina sitting at the staircase in front of her home. Despite all of Asahina's instant denial Honoka soon figures out that something has happened between Asahina and Yamato, and before Asahina can escape Honoka confronts her with the truth: Asahina's denial of her feelings for Yamato is causing trouble for everyone around, most notably Yamato and Honoka. Asahina replies that Honoka has no clue how it feels when someone you love passes away [image4]; Honoka counters that Asahina has no clue how it feels when someone you love is stolen away from you by another girl! And she tells Asahina to finally go to Yamato who waited so long for her... but Asahina flees the confrontation, as usual. Moments later Yamato arrives at the staircase and tells Honoka that he can't find Asahina anywhere; Honoka grins and bears it, telling Yamato the direction in which Asahina ran away.
Alone in a park Asahina ponders about Honoka's words, and remembering all her happy memories with Yamato makes her cry - but she decides that she'd rather have nothing than going through that pain again. Then Yamato arrives to take her home, and Asahina runs away once more but stumbles and falls [image5]. With her last bit of strength she shouts that Yamato should leave her alone; Yamato replies he was worried about her. Asahina tells him to stop being so kind to him, or else she will start liking... she doesn't say the name but it's obvious whom she refers to. But she tells him she never wants to experience that again. Yamato understands that she's talking about Kazuki's death but tells her she can't know what will happen in the future - and before she can run away again the boy gives Asahina a long kiss... [image6]
|(2006-01-03, Devil Doll:)
Finally we learn more about Kazuki's death, with two important details: Kazuki ran into the truck after he overslept (which is much like Yamato would have acted in the same situation), and Asahina blamed Kazuki for dying before she could answer his feelings! Asahina considers herself the true victim (which is awfully unfair and selfish of her IMHO) and thus shut herself up into her emotional shell.
An awesome last battle by Honoka-chan: Countering Asahina's self-pity with its consequences for other people was a powerful way to open the Denial Queen's eyes. The shy and selfish miko has matured so much during this series and shows true love for her boy, helping her rival to make him happy. Actually it would be good for Honoka as well if Asahina finally made up her mind - instinctively she still wants to help Yamato (she loves him after all - note how the cute little dog is still attached to her cell-phone) but she has faced the fact there's no place for her between those lovers, so she would prefer not being put in a situation that could give her hope again, only to have her heart broken once more.
Towards the end of this episode Yamato shows his fighting spirit and earns quite a few brownie points by his proper response "I was worried about you". His kiss was great timing, and for about ten seconds Asahina gave in to him... only to be awakened by the car passing by, reminding her of that fateful accident. No fewer than six painful slaps were the boy's punishment for his derring-do... even Narusegawa was never that cruel against Keitarou! And Asahina uses the "I hate you" clause way too easily (even against her own sister)... I really wonder if that Ice Queen is worth all the effort when Yamato could have ♥♥♥Honoka-chan♥♥♥ instead.
Again they repeated the closing scene from the previous episode at the start of the next one, as if to hammer the events into the audience's memory. Other that that, a wonderful episode... it's just that there is little hope for a reasonable ending. After so many people have been trying to convince Asahina to open up and she still refused, and not even Yamato's drastical measure (to show Asahina that he's not "just a bystander") showed any effect, what can happen now? I'm instinctively hoping for a car accident of Yamato but we've seen this plot already in some other series...