Bokura is evolving smoothly and at a nice pace toward the emotional complexity we all knew was there. What happened last year between Yano and Yamamoto Yuri? Why does Takeuchi not have a girlfriend?
The style of this show's direction (by Daichi Akitaro, who did Fruits Basket) is a big part of its strength. It moves slowly and delicately. There is room for feelings to arise. The pace mirrors the spare style of the art.
Once again this episode begins with the strong final scene of the previous episode, where they embrace and Nana-chan realizes that it was only in the winter she was 15 that she learned what loving someone meant.
Then we see vague pictures of them together, with Nana's voice talking about how nice it felt when he stroked her back through her blouse. And when he ran his fingers through her hair. Somehow, his maleness came through so strongly. And she lost all ability to think. Then he touched her breast...and she stopped him.
She says it's no good...at least right now. And they both sigh in their different forms of frustration. Just touch? he asks. You wouldn't stop there, she says. But still they smile at each other in love. On the bus later, she apologizes in her mind to Yano, and remembers thinking while he held her that it might have been nice, but then thinks how she is afraid of the self that could feel that way.
She arrives early at the store where they were going to meet and goes in and looks at jewelry. There is a ring she likes. When Yano comes in, he has a strange reaction to the woman behind the counter. It turns out that she is Takeuchi's elder sister. Nana thinks she is so mature and beautiful, and says that Takeuchi has been nice to her. As Nana looks at other things, Takeuchi's sister says to Yano that she hasn't seen him for a long time, and that he has grown up. She says Nana is cute and seems like a nice girl, if a bit babyish.
She goes and gets out a ring that has just arrived to show Nana. Nana loves it, but it is far too expensive for her. When she goes off to look at something else, the sister says to Yano that he is going to buy it. Of course, he answers. He asks her to put it away and he can get the money together by using his New year's money and selling some things and then pay in installments. She says she can't give it to him until it's paid for and that would end up being too late for Christmas. She says she will buy it on her employee discount (of 40 percent!), even though she isn't supposed to, and tells him to bring in what money he has the next week.
He drags her away, and as they are walking she says how pretty Takeuchi's sister is, and that she hopes she can grow up to be like her. She says that Takeuchi must have no girlfriend because his sister is so beautiful and grown-up and that makes his standards too high. He asks her when Takeuchi was nice to her. She says she was just being polite, but realizes that Yano is jealous. She can hardly believe it, and squeezes his hand. She says she hopes Takeuchi can get a girlfirend soon, so they can go on double dates. Yano says it's better to be just the two of them. I have to understand his feelings, she says to herself.
At school, Nana meets Takeuchi and says she met his sister and she was nice. Takeuchi says she's actually a guy in drag, that she fooled him for a long time, too. Nana says she thought he must not have a girlfriend because he's a siscon. Takeuchi's friend says no, he's gay, and only loves himself. Nana realizes it's a joke and asks him directly why he doesn't have a girlfriend, even though girls like him. he says they don't. She won't believe that, and asks if he has someone he likes. There is a dramatic pause before he says no. I guess we know who he likes already, don't we? She asks why, and returns to the idea it's because he likes his sister. She walks away thinking how strange the conversation was.
Next, Yano is waiting for Nana in the empty classroom. She texts him that the student council meeting is going long and he should go home first. Then Yamamoto Yuri comes in. When she is putting on her scarf, Yano remembers the previous winter, when he saw her putting on a scarf he recognized as Nana-san's (her dead elder sister who was his former girlfriend). After accusing him of being unfeeling because he never visited her grave, she said then it was originally hers and Nana-san borrowed it, like she did everything she wanted, usually returning things all dirty and stained. She offered to give him the scarf as a memento. He turned away and she said he was just pretending to be cool, that he was a guy who had been jilted. He shoved her against the wall and twisted the scarf around her neck. Don't look down on me, he said. You're just as bad as your sister. Don't lump me in with her, she replied. Then we see them outside by the school incinerator. He throws the scarf in and burns it. Then we return to the present, and see Yuri alone in the classroom.
The next day in class, Nana is yearning for the day to end. She thinks: I have been thinking about Yano all day. Then they are waiting for the bus together, sitting on a bench. I'll have to go on the next bus, says Nana. You said that an hour ago, replies Yano. Let's have another kiss, he says. She says: people will see us. No they won't, he replies. There's nobody around. And they kiss. When she gets on the bus and says goodbye, he suddenly climbs on after her as the doors are closing and says he will take her home. As they are sitting there together holding hands, she thinks: I wish the bus would never stop.
As we see the school the next morning, we hear her wondering if there's any limit to how much you can love someone. In home economics class, Nana asks Yuri to help her with some sewing. Nana remembers wondering if going out with Yano would make Yuri not like her, but says it looks like it's okay. Yuri quickly sees that Nana has the piece the wrong way round. Nana says she's not very good at sewing, and Yuri replies she hates it. The same word she used about Yano.
Then Nana and Yuri are walking down the hall. Nana sees Yano going to play basketball. Yuri starts up some stairs and is knocked down accidentally by some boys. Yano catches her and falls under her. Suddenly he remembers something else that happened that day the last winter when he saw her with the scarf: after she said not to lump her in with her sister, he kissed her.
Yuri rushes off without thanking Yano. Nana sees that Yano has cut his hand and takes him to the First Aid room to put on a bandage. She says he doesn't have to worry about Yuri, that he didn't do anything wrong and her sister's death was not his fault. She suddenly feels she has said too much, but he just embraces her passionately. He says they are on a bed and she asks why he's always thinking of that. Let's have a kiss, a long one, he says. She worries about people coming in, and he says they won't, and anyway who cares. So they do.
She thinks: When I kiss Yano, nothing matters. I can't even think. I'm scared of myself. What would life be like without the person I love, or if he no longer loved me? I rally like the way they've drawn her eyelashes in the close-up here. We see Yuri, alone in the classroom, thinking about standing with Yano the year before, watching the scarf burn, holding hands. And we hear Nana-chan saying: Please be by my side always, Yano.
In the preview, we see Nana-chan overhearing Yuri saying to Yano that he used her to get back at her sister. And we see him in an argument with Takeuchi's sister at the store. Then we hear Yuri asking him why he cried, and Nana-chan saying to herself: Yano? Cry? Then she is asking Yano: During middle school, did something happen between you and Yuri? And we see Nana-chan and Yano lying on a bed together.