Hinata, Hotaru, Hinata…just who is who? Many revealed secrets this week including the true identity of Otoha (like we didn’t see it coming a mile away).
In a Nutshell: Hayami is in the classroom and has just finished sewing a yukata for a “friend”. Another girl asks for help and she is happy to while she receives praise. Yui on the other hand is still thick skinned but soon gives in; however, Hayami refuses and causes Yui to go into her usual screaming tantrum. Hamaji asks if Hinata wanted help as well seen as she was looking depressed but she declines. It then turns out that she was the one who brought all of the yukatas.
Walking home together, Takuma tells Hayami that it is good that Yui is no longer bullying her and we see a short flashback of what happened. Everyone in the class is warming up to Hayami and Takuma wonders if it was because of Hinata and thanks her. Soon Hinata has to make a turn, but Hayami thanks her again before she walks off.
At home Hinata looks at the room that is her sister’s and flashes back to when she told Takuma about her sister’s death. She opens the door and looks under the bed where she pulls out a box and from that a sketchbook. She flicks through the pages but soon find that the story inside wasn’t completed. Granddad walks past and asks what she is doing. He then interrogates her about being with Hayami. As he leaves Hinata runs out and tries to say that she doesn’t want to…but before she can finish she was dragged to the grave picture of her sister. He then tells her to say what she was about to say in front of the grave and whether or not she will keep her promise, Hotaru.
“Hinata” then flashes back to her sister telling her that she will get her a flower and then the image of her drowning. In the background afterwards we then hear that granddad has decided that Hotaru will be the one that dies and that Hinata will now be the name of Hotaru…for the sake of the Kagura family. Back at present time granddad tells Hotaru that she will no longer be able to reclaims her previous identity and has grounded her in the house.
Another flashback and in it shows how Hinata is praised for being the better child of the two as she was a splendid woman even at a young age. Hotaru on the other hand suffers from lack of confidence in herself and is looked down upon. Hotaru is then sobbing outside where Hinata approaches her with a sweet and the infamous motto that follows. She asks Hotaru what story it is this time and she gives the title: “Tale of the spirit of the sounds of time”.
In the story, Hotaru explains how Otoha and her promised person is in a village and helps people in it to get over their differences (Seem familiar?). Hotaru then goes to explain that the spirit, Otoha works with her promised one in order to get back to the spirit world. Hinata is worried that the promised one will become lonely nonetheless she is looking forward to the completion of the story. Back in present time, Hotaru cries.
At school, everyone is worried and especially Hayami who tells Takuma that Hotaru (I will use her real name from now on to avoid confusion) has been missing for 3 days already and it must be her fault. Takuma insists on saying that it isn’t her fault and that they should go to Hotaru but Hayami remains sceptical. Takuma then remembers otoha’s words about how it isn’t because he cannot do something, but how he believes that he cannot. Takuma relays this message onto Hayami and she is surprised. Takuma tells her not to give up and she becomes less hesitant.
Hotaru who is still trapped in her house remembers all the times she has tried her best to live up to Hinata’s name. However, even though her own family thinks that it was good that Hotaru passed away, she can never forget the faces of those that are familiar to her, her friends.
She returns back to her room and was about to pick up her book when she changed her mine. Ototha looks on and blows the book open, but this only makes Hotaru breakdown more. At the front gates, Hotaru’s classmates appear to give her their support.
Back in her room Hotaru reads the letters of encouragement and brightens a little. She then reads a special note from Hayami who tells her that she has made her yukata. She then tells her the quote that Takuma told her which causes Hotaru to be surprised and she becomes emotionally moved when Hayami tells her that she must attend the festival.
In another flashback, a crying Hotaru is comforted by Hinata because she is not allowed to draw anymore. The reason for that is that she is expected to study more because she is a “useless” person. Hinata agrees somewhat after she lists out her reasons but soon takes it back saying that she cannot draw as well. She then tells Hotaru to show it to her granddad but she refuses saying that she can’t. To Hinata those are horrible words and we heard where the infamous quote originated from. Telling that to Hotaru, Hinata says that it is alright for Hotaru to be herself.
The next day, Hotaru walks to school by herself, ignoring Takuma who is calling out to her. At school Hotaru announces her real name to the rest of her class. Back at home Otoha answers the question of what happens when the spirit leaves. She says that Takuma will not be lonely because of the friends he made and in the end we see Otoha putting her hand on the last page of the sketchbook saying that it was a great story.
Thoughts: My my, from one arc to the next, this series has changed from ousting bullying to defeating the great evil that is ojii-san.
Our suspicions are finally cleared with most stuff concerning Hinata (or should I say Hotaru) revealed.
It turns out that Hinata that we see now is actually Hotaru who is the sister that is said to be dead. But in fact Hinata was the one who died (by drowning) whilst they were playing one day and because Hinata was the popular and favorited girl, Hotaru was forced to take her place so that the family name isn’t ruined.
The Hinata that actually died becomes the Otoha that we know and surprisingly she was influenced by a story book Hinata/Hotaru wrote all those years ago, right down to the “promised one” character which was in the story. Unfortunatly the story wasn’t finished up until now.
The episode itself was very solid and moving. The great evil that is granddad who has trapped the helpless Hotaru into doing what he says and the innocent Hotaru who is too weak to stand up for herself. The flashback scenes were very well done in showing what a contrast Hinata’s personality is to Hotaru and how the current Hinata has adopted quite a lot of her sister’s trait such as the sweet thing…but still fails to utilise the word “boku” when addressing herself.
But now she has realised that she can no longer continue living in someone else’s shoes and has reverted back to her true self, throwing away those rusty chains! Hurray for Hotaru!
On another note, I am pleased to say that Hayami is getting much more respect…or for one thing she is not at least treated like a human. I guess her arc is over and so is Hotaru’s but we still aren’t at the end yet. I feel that there is still something left to be said about Otoha and not forgetting Takuma.
This series has picked itself up quite nicely after that shaky start.