As her sophomore year begins, Futaba has pledged to start over; building everything she’d lost all over again, and maybe gaining more than she ever had before. On one level, that means making new friends on more than just a surface level. On the other, it means continuing to chip away at Kou’s armor, worrying less about who he was and learning more about who he is now.
Before that though, we see a flashback of how she and Kou used to make eye-contact, both “fumbling through” in sixth grade, but fumbling together nonetheless. Even present Kou can’t escape the past early in the episode, as his older brother, a teacher at the school, remembers Kou writing Futaba’s name at his desk one night.
It all works in both their favors, though, as Kou is forced to lead Futaba away by her hand. Futaba jumps the gun with too many questions at once, but Kou makes her cry by being too harsh, and has to apologize. He also apologizes for not meeting her at the festival years ago. Right now Kou’s cold and warm sides are fighting each other. Futaba sees it too, and she wants in. She’s here for him. Will he let her in?
Meantime, Futaba also sees to another goal—rebuilding her shattered social life—by trying to set the right “atmosphere” in her new class, which consists not only of Yuuri, but Kou as well; in fact, Kou’s easygoing, almost practiced attitude in interacting with people inspires Futaba to do the same. Funny then, that she manages to make Yuuri look good, but rumors of her dealings with her old friends earn her the “scary delinquent” label. High school. It’s brutal.
One day in, and Futaba is frustrated and depressed. Enter Kou once more, who tells her in his cryptic, pretending-not-to-be-interested way not to give up, and “do what she wants,” because despite her notion that everything has “started” (and has somehow sputtered) in reality, nothing’s started yet. Futaba starts something by volunteering to be class rep. Kou joins as the male rep; Yuuri and newcomers Aya and Shuuko as event reps. And just like that, Futaba has built a nice-looking circle of (potential) friends. Now she’s getting somewhere.