For a minute I felt a bit cheated by this episode. Not because of the start though: I like how it turned the cliff-hanger of last week around by having Kaoru stop Sentarou at the last minute. After that though… Studio Mappa… a slide-show montage? Those are for lazy storyboarders who don’t know how to animate a certain part of the manga.
The real part that made me raise an eyebrow though was when Sentarou went off to return one of the music sheets that Kaoru forgot. You’re really going to end this lazily by killing him? It was all just too obvious. And don’t get me wrong: I really like a good major character death and they should be pulled more often, but this is just the complete wrong place for it.
What happened afterwards totally made up for it though: the revelation that it wasn’t Sentarou who was in critical condition in the hospital, but Sachiko. So yeah, Sentarou who was already facing huge difficulties in accepting his place in the family just drove one of his younger sisters into the hospital. It fits in much more with the themes of this series than just randomly killing him off, and the creators made excellent use of it. I really loved the climax, and it also created an absolutely wonderful set-up for the final episode.
Rating: ** (Excellent)