When Tsubaki first approached Yamada, it was because she suspected him of cheating in a game she watched him play online. He lets her watch him play, and she does—for hours. He didn’t cheat, he’s just that good. In the present, neither she nor Okamoto can get ahold of Yamada.
Okamoto tells her if she doesn’t make a move, Yamada will end up with some rando. Tsubaki’s mask falls and she tears up, and Okamoto rightfully feels bad for pressuring her, as she’s already quite aware of her situation.
Turns out Tsubaki wasn’t the younger girl with whom Yamada couldn’t promise to be together forever. Rather, she hears from Yamada why he doesn’t have a type, never had a crush, and is generally uncomfortable with women. It all comes down to that girl, who was mercilessly bullied for liking Yamada until she stopped coming to school.
Their teacher sent him to the girls to give her handouts, keeping a connection between the two. The girl kept liking him, and then asked him to make a promise he couldn’t make. He says he only did what he did because the teacher told him to, but often wonders what would have been the right thing to say instead of what he did say.
From the day Tsubaki learned that about Yamada to the present, she feared ever falling for a guy as kind and cruel as him, lest she get hurt someday. And that day seems to have arriving—or will do so soon.
As Okamoto and Tsubakai wander the streets and presumably head to their respective homes, Yamada spends the night at Akane’s, but not for romantic purposes. His role is purely to observe and protect. Akane is in a terribly bad way, to the point he wisely takes her to a late-night clinic where she gets an IV.
Akane is somewhat aware of these events, but her fever is so bad it all feels like a fuzzy dream, up to and including when she comes to and finds Yamada dozing beside her bed, her “getting over heartbreak” book loosely in his hands.
When she realizes all of the things Yamada did for her when she was well and truly much out of it, Akane bursts into tears of gratitude, feeling like “someone like her” wouldn’t normally deserve such kindness (which is of course untrue).
When the heartbreak book comes up, Akane tells him how it’s really gotten her out of her funk, he tells her he’s not the good guy she thinks he is, and she recognizes his expression. It’s the same one Takuma had when he broke up with her.
Akane tells Yamada she’s glad Takuma put an end to things that way rather than lie to her. It’s her hope that should he look back on the memory of her, it’s of her smiling, not crying and wailing, making him think “she was a great girl” and “I shouldn’t have let her go.”
Just as Yamada’s face reminded her of Takuma’s, Akane’s bright toothy grin reminded him of the girl he essentially broke up with without knowing it at the time. He even remembers something he forgot: the last time he saw her face—and the first time we see it—she’s smiling at him through tears, thanking him for being there for her.
As the night wears on and Tsubaki logs off the game with no one else around, Akane’s fever drops and she’s able to eat some yogurt. As she eats, she can’t help but notice how safe and secure Yamada’s presence makes her feel. But when she tries to reach out to him, she suddenly feels horrible.
It’s a leg cramp, and it’s agony. But as she shouts and thrashes, Yamada calmly takes hold of her foot and leg and stretches it out. Her other foot flies wildly around his head and face, sometimes hitting only air, and sometimes hitting face. But after a minute or so, the pain subsides.
Yamada thanks him for saving her yet again, and Yamada comments that she’s “so dramatic.” But when he looks over at her as she says her leg was killing her, she’s scarcely looked more beautiful. The two have an extended moment where something might happen, but it passes, and the night proceeds without incident.
The next morning Yamada heads off to school without sleep, something he assures Yamada he’s done before. She’s fine for him to go, but hopes he’ll take care and let her know if he feels sick. No doubt she’ll want to be the one to nurse him should he fall ill; such is her transactional way of showing affection and demonstrating her worth.
But more than ever before, Akane is acutely aware of her body being naturally drawn towards Yamada without her having to think. That’s the product of how safe and secure she feels around him. He’s about to leave when she grabs a corner of his jacket, only to tell him she’s fine and to go ahead and go. But when he’s gone, she can’t help but sigh, and her blushing isn’t just from her cold.
This episode was another triumph of shoujo romance shot composition and direction, full of beautiful cross-fades and dissolves reflecting the characters’ states of mind. Minase Inori and Uchiyama Kouki’s layered performances also add to the intimate atmosphere of an episode that takes place almost entirely in Akane’s bedroom.