Kotoura & Co. wrap up their summer trip with a dinner, and Moritani makes food that makes her and Manabe hallucinate all night long. The Head Priest informs Kotoura that her mother Fumiko stopped by, but wouldn’t meet with her; Kotoura isn’t bothered, and she and her friends return home. Kotoura calls Manabe every day but gets no response, and is hiding his thoughts from her, so Mifune suggests they follow him to determine what he’s up to. After much hand-wringing, Kotoura finally learns that his secret was to set up a surprise party for her birthday that he learned from her uncle, while he worked a summer job to afford a gift for her.
The food trip is in our opinion a rare example of an underutilized anime trope, and the food trip this episode opens with is a doozy. Manabe and Moritani are whacked out of their gourds, and all their inhibitions melt away. They took the concept of Moritani being bad at cooking and wasn’t subtle about it, which we appreciate. After all, this show started with an extremely powerful (and equally un-subtle) story of Kotoura’s trauma prior to making friends. We also like her mature attitude towards her mother’s no-show; the show could have made the mom more of a villain, but there’s this mutual understanding that their relationship is just too intractable, and they’re better off going their separate ways.
While Kotoura has shown incredible growth, Manabe’s extended absense has her falling into old habits, remembering the cold words of her mother in a nightmare, telling her she shouldn’t have been born to this world (which I’m sorry, that’s just child abuse). But after hanging with Mifune and Moritani, she decides to trust Manabe, and when school resumes, he really does a solid, throwing a suprise party, just when Kotoura needed to know he cared, and then some. If this very loving and lovely gesture by Manabe doesn’t convince her he’ll never leave her side, we don’t know what will. Kotoura’s pervy uncle is geting really fucking annoying, but this episode’s ending was so nice and uplifting, we decided to be generous in our rating.
Rating: 8 (Great)