Ai Yori Aoshi - 13: Star Festival

Title:Ai Yori Aoshi
Episode:13: Star Festival
According to the legend of Tanabata, two lovers who died were turned into stars that meet every once a year on July 7th. On that "Star Festival day" everyone writes their wishes on papers and hangs these on a tree branch. But Aoi doesn't want to show her paper...
July 7th happens to be Aoi's birthday as well, and Aoi used to celebrate it only with Miyabi as her parents normally were busy. So Kaoru wants to make it a special event for Aoi this time, celebrating it all together in the western style house.
When they go shopping together Kaoru sees a beautiful dress in a store window [image1] and wonders how it would suit Aoi. Being a poor student, he secretly accepts several part-time jobs [image2]. But while he is working day and night, Aoi is feeling lonely [image4] and is afraid Kaoru is avoiding her - is she not good enough as his fiancée? Meanwhile, Tina and Taeko have both bought new dresses for Aoi's birthday party and ask her what she is going to wear on this event...
On July 7th, Kaoru has the money for the dress together. But when he reaches the store window, the dress has been sold already [image3]! He rushes through the rain from shop to shop, but none has this dress in stock... time is passing, and the western style house inhabitants are waiting for Kaoru to return.
Finally the party [image5] can start, and as usually Tina is drinking too much. When Kaoru returns to his room he finds a note: Aoi is waiting for him in the backyard. And what a surprise: She is wearing the dress that Kaoru knows so well [image6]! She had recognized Kaoru looking at the shop window. But she forgot to buy shoes that would fit to this dress - what a perfect opportunity for Kaoru to give her the birthday present he bought...
And in the end we even learn about Aoi's wish for this day.
(2004-03-01, Devil Doll:)
This scenario nearly duplicates the main part of the Love Hina Christmas Special - Kaoru is even doing the same type of part-time job as Keitarou. Yet, the ending is different in an interesting way.
The second episode in a row where Aoi has to worry about being a worthy fiancé for Kaoru. Both Kaoru and Aoi get to think about each other a lot in this episode, and their ability to understand each other's thoughts leads directly to this type of ending. A great episode for the development of their relation!
Sadly, I failed to derive Aoi's age from the candles on her birthday cake (do the Japanese have the same habit in this aspect as the Europeans?), basically because the number of candles changes from scene to scene (at first we see 12 candles, but when Aoi kills the flames with her breath there are only 9 left)... the makers of this series don't seem to care about such details.

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