In this episode, Rintaro’s troubles finally come to light: he’s been struggling to keep his grades up while finishing his artista assignments, and now he’d had to add juggling being on the Hoshi Festival committee to that list too.
This time of stress is capped off by Rintaro’s failing of his initial Artista Selection Exam. Rintaro will re-take the exam in one week, so he asks the festival committee for a week-long break so he can focus on his replacement sculpture.
During this time, Rintaro sees Kohana several times. She supports him during his work similar to how she did with Aoi, and the two have an immediate connection. Rintaro has a very friendly, positive personality, and he seems to get along with his peers effortlessly, Kohana included.
Rintaro also shows Kohana his replacement sculpture: an owl. His grandfather made the multicolored owl that is displayed on school grounds, and we learn that Rintaro wanted to be a sculptor because his grandfather was one as well. Kid!Rintaro saw how happy his grandfather’s sculpture made people, and he wanted to have the same effect on people so he decided to be a sculptor too.
During a break from his work, Rintaro decides to visit a lookout point high atop the school, where he can see his grandfather’s owl sculpture. It’s here that Kohana finds him. Rintaro tells her that he’s grateful the committee accepted him so easily, and that he wants to do his best to reply to those feelings. Before Rintaro returns to his work, he quickly carves Kohana a little owl, and she’s clearly taken with it. Seeing Kohana so happy with the sculpture reminds Rintaro of the joy he saw on the public’s faces many years ago when they first saw his grandfather’s owl sculpture, and Rintaro knows what he has to do. In the end he hopes that he has put enough of himself into the sculpture for him to get a passing grade.
But it’s not enough. Rintaro fails his make-up exam, the only student to do so, and an official school notice goes up saying that he should drop out. Naturally the festival committee is devastated; they’d really thought he’d pass the second time around. However Rintaro is actually ok with the school’s decision, because he knows he gave his owl sculpture everything he had and if he failed, at least he failed trying his best.
Before he leaves, Rintaro asks everyone to eat the delicious-looking sweet he brought them. Everyone is reluctant but Louis eventually coaxes everyone into eating their treat. As they take their first bite, sparkles appear everywhere and Kohana and Rintaro are magically whisked off to a candy wonderland.
At the end of his insert song, Rintaro is seen presenting a treat of sweets to the school president and Todo-sensei. It looks like Rintaro is trying to switch his field of artista study. Luckily the president finds the dessert delicious and allows Rintaro to finally pass his Artista Selection Exam. Success! Rintaro will now be a confectionary-making artista.
There are only a couple of weeks left until the Hoshi Festival, so now that they’re back at full strength, the group knows that they must work hard to remain on schedule.
My thoughts: I really liked the parallels between Kohana and Rintaro this episode. If you remember, Kohana initially tried mimmicking her mother’s successes in an effort to become better at ikebana, but found that she couldn’t make sparkles until she tried something of her own design. Rintaro on the other hand has been shown to love both sculpting and baking, and seemed to practice both somewhat equally. He became a sculptor because he wanted to make people smile like his grandfather did, but realized that baking was his true passion and he could make people smile just as much by creating delicious things for them to eat.
I also really like Rintaro’s character, and I somewhat ship him and Kohana as my new OTP. Rintaro is very giving and considerate, and I feel like his personality meshes well with Kohana’s. Kohana is still a little shy with guys though it seems, so there probably won’t be a relationship between them anytime soon. Or maybe not at all given the preview for next week’s episode (but really who’s surprised by that, amirite?)
On a side note, boo to the school making it public knowledge that Rintaro failed his exam, and for going so far as to publicly shame him and try to get him to drop out. Like was that really necessary? :/