Expecting Hotori Arashiyama to buy anything approaching a decent birthday present is pretty much a guarantee of disaster, so when she rolls into a nearby antique shop on the hunt for a gift to give Tatsuno you know things aren't going to end well.
While the gift she ends up having foisted upon her (a locked box with no key) is bad enough, things only get worse when Hotori forces Futaba's date of birth out of her... only to find out that it's the day of the party currently being held for Tatsuno. Cue an awkward silence and an upset Futaba, while Arashiyama's attempts to make things better really don't help at all.
For the second half of the episode, Hotori and Toshiko's class are given an IT assignment to design a web site, allowing Arashiyama to kill two birds with one stone by using it as an opportunity to create a page advertising the cafe. With no computer of her own however, she decides to rely upon Sanada's goodwill and PC to help her complete the project - a snap decision which causes Sanada some heartache as he finds himself torn between his collection of downloaded porn and his good standing with the apple of his eye Hotori. Perhaps inevitably his love for Hotori wins the day, but the whole thing is for naught ultimately anyway due to Sanada's lack of scanner and his slightly less thorough hiding of some dodgy magazines. All of this takes place against a backdrop of a rampant cold doing the rounds, which seems to be striking everyone except Hotori. Hmm, how does that saying about idiots and colds go again?
Overall, this was another good episode of Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru, making full use of Hotori's oddly charming idiocy coupled with plenty of snappy one-liners from elsewhere to make for laughs aplenty. Even when there are plays on words that don't really translate well (in a literal sense at least), the general sense of amusement carries this episode through with a stash of good gags both visual and verbal. When Arashiyama is kept at the centre of things Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru continues to be quite a riot, and it remains one of my surprise favourites of the season.