While the festival goes on as normal, with Haruka and Hibiki visiting stalls, along with Miya and Sae performing a play, Ai finds herself remembering the events of the year before and feeling afraid and alone without Junichi.
After the festival is over though she meets up with Miya and Sae, who seeing that she’s alone invite her along to the sleepover they’re having, but just as they step out the school gate Ai remembers that she still has to pick up a Christmas present for her brother. During which her feelings of loneliness reach their peak as she walks through the streets full of happy couples, eventually finding the same toy powerbelt that she and Junichi had played around with the year before and realising that with him heading off to university soon they won’t have any time at all to see each other. However just as this thought has crossed her mind Junichi appears behind her, reminiscing about the past and revealing that he had finished his papers and had sneaked away so they could have their date.
Leaving Ai to have to go back on Miya and Sae’s offer to join them, where Junichi snatches the phone who impersonating a cheesy sort of villain claims that he has Ai now, and seeing through it Miya cheers him on. After which they go on to pick up a present for her brother and head out together after dropping it off at her house. Walking through the brightly lit streets and heading to the store where Junichi saw a white coat that he thought would suit her, giving it to her as a Christmas present as he borrows her usual coat. However while it looks as everything is going well for them there’s still the matter of the search team that the cram school had sent out, but as a gift from him Umehara throws them off their tail as he resolves to pick up a girl. Aside from that Miya and Sae have some fun of their own.
After which Junichi and Ai go on to the arcade before they find themselves wandering into a street lined with love hotels, but while Junichi tries to explain that he didn’t intentionally bring her here, she simply blushes and tightens her grip on her hand. But before things can go any further they’re cut off when Junichi’s teacher steps out of a spa, forcing them to make a quick escape just as Umehara spots and calls out to cute girl in the distance, his teacher. Following this Junichi and Ai find themselves in the park, where Ai confesses how afraid and lonely she was without him, but Junichi assures her that no matter what happens he won’t let it stop him from being with her. Thinking both in the short term of his training camp and the long term of the apartment he intends to rent, for which he intends to give her a key. And some time in the future Junichi and Ai go on to live together, watching the fireworks from their window, wishing to do the same the next year and each asking the other to continue taking care of them.
A fitting end to a pretty nice arc, the message for which seemed to say that sometimes you have to throw your cautions and responsibilities to the wind and do what you want to do regardless of what happens. Which was pretty nice given their struggle and the state they were both in by the end of the last episode.
Where due to their responsibilities from their home lives, clubs, and studies they had effectively found themselves boxed into a routine in which they could barely find the time to see each other, and when their chance to meet up finally appeared it was so easily snatched away from them. And if anything Ai’s fears would have proven to be true in time, once Junichi graduated and moved onto university what little time they had together would have been further reduced, not to mention any other responsibilities Ai would get during her last year. Up against those odds it only would have been a matter of time before their relationship was crushed underneath the weight of it all, so this message was nice to see at the end.
In order to seize their chance to be together Junichi had to ditch his cram school and Ai had to run out on Miya and Sae, though they didn’t seem to mind and for the former he did at least do everything he was supposed to do before running off, by all means their date only happened because they both took the initiative for it. Sure they had a bit of help in the form of Umehara throwing the people the cram school had sent off Junichi’s trail, but I’d still say a large part of it came from them intentionally choosing to place meeting each other above everything else and anyone else for that short moment. So given that it was great to see Junichi make his return around halfway into the episode, he not only managed to cheer up Ai but also turn a relatively depressing episode around.
After which the episode was great, we saw Junichi give Ai the white coat he had been eying up in the last episode and then, as well as being shown how the other heroines and characters were spending their Christmas Eve, move onto the arcade before it culminated with Ai confessing how she had felt without him and a promise from Junichi that he wouldn’t allow his studies to get in his way of being with her. Then ending on a nice point in the future to show that he had kept it as they watched the fireworks together from his apartment, in a way any doubt that they wouldn’t stay together may have been dispelled by the original epilogue, but this was still a nice addition and worked well as an epilogue as well.