The day of the school fair concert arrives. Haruki, Setsuna and Touma perform “White Album” perfectly and Haruki gets through the “Sound of Destiny” guitar solo without embarrassing himself. After the third song, Haruki finds Touma in the practice room and watches her play piano until he falls asleep. When he wakes up past six in the morning, Setsuna is there instead. She confesses her love and makes the first move, kissing him.
Everything’s literally been building up to this, from the first episode’s cold open. We have to admit, it’s a fairly exciting episode. After all the informal practices, the light music club is finally on the big stage, with fancy lights and come-hither outfits, and a huge crowd of their peers watching. Not surprisingly, they do quite well for themselves. Formally speaking, we liked how the episode simply gave the first two songs room to breathe, though interestingly, their performance of the third and most significant song is totally skipped. Now the dream is over, as is the truce between Setsuna and Touma in the battle for Haruki.
Setsuna knows Touma likes him, but Touma is unable to say or do anything about it, while Setsuna, ultimately, is. Things aren’t helped by Haruki referring to Touma as the “person” he always wanted to be “friends” with, while Setsuna is the “girl” who came down to “be with” him. All Touma can do is retreat when he falls asleep from exhaustion, allowing Setsuna to swoop in and make the move she’d clearly been waiting to make; she couldn’t wait anymore. Touma is “bothered” by Haruki’s presence and doesn’t want to talk about her future, but Setsuna is already planning hers out, and at no point does it not include Haruki.
Rating: 8 (Great)
Haruki dotes on a bedridden Touma, who insists on moving her futon to the studio so she can watch him practice his solo. Both of them miss their rehearsal at school, and Setsuna is simply unable to sing without them. Touma tells Haruki about how she almost quit the piano after her mother left for Paris without her, saying there was no reason to bring her. The next day Haruki very publicly steals Setsuna away and they take the train to Touma’s. Haruki and Touma show a third song that they wrote the music and lyrics to, which she’ll sing as their final piece at the fair. They only have 24 hours left to practice.
This Haruki guy is one smooth operator. Swooping in as the white knight on his horse whenever his damsels are in trouble; be it Touma’s fever or Setsuna’s anxiety. Rejecting Haruki’s calls to cancel the show if she isn’t better, Touma is committed to seeing it through to the very end, as promised. But as she lies on her side watching Haruki practice, the concert isn’t all that’s on her mind. It’s Haruki himself, and the fear he and Setsuna are going out. Meanwhile, throughout Haruki’s extended stay at Touma’s, Setsuna herself is just as fearful there’s something going on with the other two. Whenever either of them are alone with Haruki they’re on cloud nine, and to be truthful, so are we; it’s far less stressful when he’s warmly interacting with Setsuna or Touma one-on-one.
But this lovely “truce” (or “purgatory”) can only last so long. Specifically, it will only last until the light music club has their concert, plays their songs, and takes a bow. Once the lights go out on that stage, their shared goal will be fulfilled, leaving only their own individual goals. We know at this point that both Setsuna and Touma’s like Haruki, so their goals are obviously in conflict. Haruki’s goals beyond the concert remain murky, though the third song (which happens to be the OP), sheds a little light: he joined the music club so he could write that third song; it’s his “dream.” But as he doesn’t explain why it’s his dream (only that it is) and we’re left to ponder the significance—and the true subject—of his lyrics. (Setsuna’s momentary lip-bite suggests it’s not her). He’s wisely held back on breaking anyone’s heart for the sake of club cohesion, but surely he’s smart enough to know he can’t keep that up forever. A reckoning is coming. We can’t wait.
Rating: 8 (Great)