After what had been a really rather joy-filled episode eight, the next instalment of True Tears was well and truly placed to bring everything down with a depressing bump. As expected, that's exactly what happened in the opening portion of episode nine, with Hiromi and Jun's motorbike jaunt in the snow coming to an explosive climax (with every pun intended). What followed that moment was a demonstration of the subtlety of mood and character which has come to be the hallmark of this show, where volumes were spoken with just a handful of words and some far more important physical expressions.
From then on, everything turns around quite sharply for virtually all of True Tears' main players, for Hiromi in particular. I suppose it was almost inevitable that things would be shaken out into what you could easily regard a more predictable groove, and that's exactly what's happened here. I think I've become so emotionally entangled in this show that it's hard for me to say whether this episode was on a par with what has gone before, namely because it isn't particularly the direction I wanted it to take from a personal point of view. I know I'm not the only person out there with a bit of anti-Hiromi sentiment in me, and seeing everything come up roses for her at the expense of Jun and Noe in particular feels a bit sickening right now.
All in all, I suppose the fact that I feel that strongly about this episode proves that it remains a fabulous piece of work, despite the quality of animation being cut a little this week. Whether I'll be able to conquer my dislike of Hiromi over the remainder of the series remains to be seen - I wager it'll take a fair bit of good writing to convince me that she's the one for Shinichirō. Either way, there's still plenty of energy left in this wonderful series.