Thanks to Anaru's circumstances and the rumours flying around her, we now have two of Ano Hana's main characters skipping school - what's more, Anaru has also now run away from home to live in the gang's former "secret base", as this episode begins with one of those typical "oops I slipped and now we're face to face and feeling awkward" anime moments. Does that ever even happen in real life?
Anyhow, with Jinta, Poppo and Anaru hanging out at the base, it's finally time to check out Menma's diary, something which they expect to give them the answer they need to that pressing question - just what is Menma's wish that she cares about so much? While much of this diary gives them absolutely no hints whatsoever, eventually they stumble across something which could give them a clue - an entry which discusses a visit the gang made to Jinta's sickly mother, which itself brings recollections of an attempt they made to create a firework so that they could send a message to God asking for Jinta's mother to get better. Whatever happened to praying?
The trouble is, buying or creating a firework of note is restricted by two things - age and money. While our gang don't even qualify from that first hurdle, a friend of Jinta's dad seems to offer them a way around it, leaving them with only the second concern to think about. Cue Jinta and Poppo taking on every job they can to raise the required cash, including working at the same video game store as Anaru. Whether this is even going to bring them close to their goal of creating a firework is one thing, but more importantly is it even the true form of Menma's wish at all? Some information withheld from the others by Yukiatsu suggests perhaps not.
Ignoring the odd moment of utter cliché (that "oops, I slipped moment, and another stupid outburst from Jinta), this was a decent episode in terms of building Jinta's character a little by both holding up a mirror to his own selfless attitude (after lambasting Menma for the same thing last week) and letting him "find himself" somewhat from the hikikomori shadow of a person that he was when we first met him. Of course, running alongside all of this is Anaru's feelings for Jinta, which were portrayed in obvious ways that don't necessarily make it any less interesting. Again then, this was an episode of Ano Hana that threatened to slip into stupidity at the wrong moments, but still manages to muddle through on its likeable characters and the fact that we still don't really know how things are going to end for either Menma or this bunch of friends.