Eru invites Hōtarō to visit Arekusu Shrine to celebrate New Year Eve together. However, during their visit they get into an uncomfortable situation.
Hōtarō and Eru are freezing, being locked inside of a cold shed. Hōtarō is asking Eru if she thinks that the saying, ‘What you do on New Years, you repeat all year’ is true. Eru responds that she doesn’t think it is true, because if you did nothing on New Years, then you would do nothing for the whole year. However, for the moment Eru is far more curious about the situation that she is in with Hōtarō right now than the other 364 days of the year. Houtarou sighs and asks how they got into this mess in the first place. Perhaps because, says Eru, he drew the bad luck fortune?
Hōtarō wakes up and while he is heading into the living room, the phone rings. His sister doesn’t seem to be around so he answers it. The one calling is Eru and she wants to know if Hōtarō has plans for the New Year. He says that he has none. Eru tells Hōtarō that she wants to invite him to go to the Arekusu Shrine together. Also she also tells Hōtarō that Mayaka will be working as a shrine maiden there. Hōtarō comments that Mayaka must not look so good as a shrine maiden. After reprimanding Hōtarō about his comment, she tells him that Satoshi will also be going, so he called to wonder if he wanted to tag along as well. And also, here Eru gets a little quiet. Hōtarō asks her if there was anything else. It’s not really anything in particular, answers Eru is the same quiet voice, but she wanted to show off her kimono.
Hōtarō is waiting alone in the freezing weather. He looks to be hunched over slightly as if clinging to his own body for warmth. He is wearing a business overcoat with a massive muffler. He notices a taxi drive up and drop off someone. The person steps out and they are wearing the most fancy kimono in just about any anime with beautiful purple and crimson patterns of flowers. In the woman’s hair is a golden and swirling hairpin that really sets off the look. The girl is holding a mini faded purple square hand bag with a flower pattern. She turns around and Hōtarō is stunned and blushing, to see that it is Eru. They exchange greetings as well as New Year’s blessings to each other before moving along. Eru’s face breaks into a wide and obvious smile when she notices that Hōtarō is looking over her with interest.
Together, Hōtarō and Eru ascend the long flight of stairs leading up to the shrine. Walking just a step behind Eru, Hōtarō can’t keep his eyes off of her. he then notices that Eru is carrying another faded purple bag, though this is longer, yet thinner and has no flower patterns. At the top of the stairs Hōtarō offers to carry it for her and she gladly agrees. Hōtarō asks what it is, and Eru answers that it is a bottle of sake; she is giving it to the caretakers of the shrine because that family and hers are long time friends. Doing chores on News Years, Hōtarō mentions that Eru sounds like she is busy. She is much busier during the day, she replies. It sounds like it is a lot of effort to be on your best behavior when she mentioned that her relatives were over at her house. Eru then asks Hōtarō what he did for New Years Eve. Hōtarō says that he was experiencing the life of a hermit crab (he is hiding from the cold underneath of the family kotatsu. There he ate, he slept, he read, and watched TV).
Hōtarō quickly changes the topic to Satoshi’s location after Eru wondered about what he meant by the life of a hermit crab. Apparently Mayaka is supposed to give Satoshi a call. Eru is excited and suggests that while they are waiting if they can pray at the temple first. The place of prayer is up another long flight of stairs, but finally Eru and Hōtarō have climbed to the top and are in the middle of their prayers. Hōtarō is actually praying to go easy on his energy levels this coming year. Next, they head inside to hand off the bottle of sake. Eru exchanges greetings with the family friend for a second before giving to them. Apparently the caretakers of the shrine have caretakers for themselves. They are showed into a long room where Eru does the handing off. The one who came to receive the greetings and the bottle of sake is the daughter of the family, someone who looks to be about Eru’s age and is wearing a shrine maiden uniform. She looks stunning!
The shrine maiden asks Hōtarō is Satoshi is around. Hōtarō is panicking and wondering if she is a psychic and delves into voodoo rituals and other such nonsense, but she and Eru both laugh. Eru introduces the girl as Juumonji Kaho from Class 1-D. now he is even more shocked to hear that she is in the same year as he is. What a small world it is. Eru asks Kaho if they can see Mayaka for a moment, if it isn’t too much trouble. Kaho gives them directions to where Mayaka is working behind the shop. They go there and see her. she looks amazing as always! Mayaka is wearing a long ponytail; she explains to Eru that the shrine staff helped her with it. When she notices that Houtarou is leaning through the doorway to se Mayaka, she tells him not to look.
Mayaka and Eru exchange greetings and New Years blessings. Mayaka looks at Eru’s kimono and comments how beautiful she looks in it. Eru accepts the compliment with a smile. Is it a formal kimono, asks Mayaka. No, it isn’t; it is just a regular kimono. She won’t (can’t or won’t?) wear a formal kimono until she begins college. Mayaka then says that her shift ends in an hour and wants to know what eru has got planned. Eru thinks that she will be a guest in the main hall for a while. It’s Eru’s turn to ask something and she wants to know where Satoshi is. Mayaka replies that he came by earlier, but went home to watch some drama called The Winds of Change, Odani Castle. Hey, Houtarou was watching this when he was turning into a hermit crab earlier. Mayaka thinks that Satoshi is planning on coming back though when it is over.
Houtarou asks Mayaka what she is selling here. She answers that she is selling fortunes and that she is also in charge of lost kids, the lost and founds, and she is in charge of breaking change. The regular helpers are very good, comments Mayaka, because when they see something valuable on the ground they pick it up and take it to her. Mayaka instantly then turns on the tsuntsun charm of hers and looks at Houtarou with a little bit of anger and says how busy she was during the day with all of the lost children. But he didn’t say anything, thinks Houtarou who is stung by her tone. Eru is getting excited because she wants to draw a fortune. She asks Mayaka if it is okay and Mayaka tells her that it is. Eru draws the number ten and then hands the fortune thing over to Houtarou for him to have a turn.
While he is shaking the thing, Mayaka hands Eru her fortune that correspond with her number. Her fortune is good; it says that she has Great Blessing. Houtarou announces that he got number 16. Mayaka digs through the drawers and then hands Houtarou his piece of paper. Houtarou’s fortune is not so good as Eru’s. We have seen in the opening scene the results of his fortune. But regardless, he is hesitant to reveal his fortune. Mayaka smirks and asks him if he got the Future Blessing. Houtarou gulps down. Suddenly, Eru’s eyes shine with curiosity and her voice is teeming with energy. She has stolen Houtarou’s fortune and comments after reading it that she has never seen a ‘Misfortune; fortune before. Houtarou asks, in a slightly miffed tone, if Eru is honestly that happy about his misfortune. Eru then apologizes. Whatever, Houtarou just takes it back when Eru has had her fun.
In the background, Kaho is walking frantically back and forth. Eru asks her if everything is alright. Kaho first apologizes for forgetting to bring them some tea and then she mentions that one of their part-timers has tipped over a pot. Now they will have to remake the dumpling soup and sweet sake. Did they get burned, asks Eru. No, it doesn’t seem that way, replies Kaho. Eru then stands up and volunteers to help, because she loves cooking so much which we learned back during the cooking competition during the Kanya Festival. Kaho then reminds Eru that she can’t cook while wearing that kimono. Then, asks Eru, is there something else that she can do to help. Kaho says that it would be helpful if she could get the sake from the warehouse. Houtarou offers to go with Eru to fetch the sake.
They arrive at the warehouse. Houtarou simply pulls aside a wooden bar that locks the warehouse and thinks to himself that security is lax. Houtarou walks in first, wondering if there is a light switch somewhere inside. He can’t find one on the left wall and walks in deeper. Eru follows him inside. this is beginning to turn from an easy task to a pain-in-the-butt kind. It is so cold inside of the warehouse that vapor is seen whenever they breath out. Isn’t this a shed, asks Eru. Yeah, answers Houtarou, you could also call it a shack. no, says Eru, they are supposed to go to the warehouse. Well, you can’t blame Houtarou for making this mistake because his family doesn’t have a warehouse. Well, he can’t really say that, he just imagines it. So, they decide to leave this shack, however the door closes on there and they hear voices wondering if they should put the wooden bar back into place. A different kind of cold that turns their sweat to ice creeps over Houtarou and Eru. They try the door in a frantic attempt to open it, however, the shed remains locked.
We know return to events of the opening scene. Houtarou is first apologizing for getting Eru into this terrible situation. Eru waves aside his apologies, mentioning that neither of them thought that they would get locked in. Houtarou sighs and suggests that he tries yelling for someone to come and help them. He gets ready, clears his voice, and acts like he is going to start singing. During this Eru is trying to get Houtarou to stop and has to resort to placing her hands over his mouth. When asked why, Eru in turn asks Houtarou to think what would happen if he yelled for help in this situation. He answers that someone will hear his yell and they will come to help them by taking off the wooden bar. Eru then asks Houtarou how he thinks that person will interpret this situation. How, asks Houtarou. Eru tells him that the regulars know her here; if one of them comes to help and sees this situation then it is possible that they may get the wrong idea. Both are now blushing, Eru refuses to look Houtarou in the eye at the moment. Eru says that she is here today representing her father. If the situation happened anywhere else under any other circumstance, then it would be fine for Houtarou to shout for help. But if she is found in here today with him…
Houtarou sighs as he seems to understand the politics involved with Eru’s current position. It is clear that Eru thinks that her father’s reputation is more important than her wellbeing. Houtarou asks what they should do then, if yelling is out of the question. He also asks Eru what will happen if somebody comes by needing something from this shed, they will still get the wrong idea. If it were Kaho or Mayaka, then they would understand, answers Eru. Eru suddenly gets a good idea. They should use their cell phones to contact one of them. That’s a good idea, says Houtarou. He then holds out his hands to take Eru’s cell phone, but she doesn’t have hers on her, and he doesn’t have his on him. What do we do now, asks a panic-stricken Eru.
Houtarou inspects the door and finds out they can’t take the door off of its hinges. Eru explains that the reason why she didn’t want Houtarou to yell was because she thought they had their cell phones. But now the situation is different, Houtarou catching a cold has more value to her than her father’s reputation. Houtarou informs Eru, who is still worried that someone will get the wrong idea, that they won’t yell for someone unless all other options have been extinguished. Until that happens, Houtarou will think about some methods to escape. They can’t remove the wooden bar or take the door off, but Houtarou informs Eru that they still have four methods that they haven’t considered yet. First, break the door. Second, break the wall. Third, dig a tunnel under the wall. Four, make a hole in the ceiling. Without needing to tell him that these options are no good, regardless Eru still tells him so.
It is not the first time that Eru has displayed her superior sense of hearing. Even now, Eru is putting her senses to work because she first heard and then she peers through a hole in the wall and announces to Houtarou that someone is coming their way. Houtarou looks out of another hole. The person that they are looking at is, Eru mentions, a regular who is probably on patrol. He picked up something off the ground—a cell phone strap— and then walks away. Houtarou wonders if Eru is a wild animal or something because all of her senses seem to be sharper than just about everybody else. He is most likely taking the cell phone strap to the shrine office where Mayaka is currently watching the lost and found. Houtarou suddenly gets an idea and asks eru if it is okay to make a small hole in the wall because he wants one of the regulars to take something Mayaka will know if theirs that tells her about their plight.
Eru volunteers her handkerchief because Mayaka has seen it countless times while Houtarou chips away at the wall with a shovel. That should be good enough for Mayaka, now they will just be hoping that she understands the hidden message and comes to the shed. Houtarou then has Eru drop her handkerchief through the hole and presently a regular on patrol sees it and takes it away. Satoshi has come back. He is humming a tune while reading a text message from Mayaka telling him that Houtarou and Eru are currently here at the shrine. Satoshi walks into the main hall and greets Kaho. Kaho asks Satoshi if he has seen Eru around. He just got here so he hasn’t yet, he replies. Kaho apologizes for being too busy to take him into the main hall, but tells him there’s a stove in there for guests. Satoshi first visits Mayaka, who blushes and turns away when she sees Satoshi. They make some small talk about the drama Satoshi wanted to watch.
Suddenly, Mayaka picks up Eru’s handkerchief and shows it to Satoshi, asking him if he recognizes it. He doesn’t think so; Satoshi is really oblivious. Mayaka confides in him that she thinks it belongs to Eru. That’s good, says Satoshi, they can ask her if it is hers when she gets back. Back in the shed, Eru reports that no one is coming. Houtarou is on the floor freezing to death, it seems. He is just bad with the cold like a certain someone from Kanon. And here they thought that the handkerchief was enough to get Kaho or Mayaka to come. Next, Houtarou decides to throw out his wallet, which is taken immediately to Mayaka. When she sees it, Mayaka gives a start and shows it to Satoshi. Houtarou has tied his fortune to his wallet, though he emptied the contents before throwing it. Satoshi is reading the word Misfortune with a sense of pity for his best friend. But this is incredibly weird, says Mayaka. The wallet is completely empty. Satoshi takes out a 100 yen coin and tells Mayaka that he wants a go at the fortune.
Back again in the shed, Eru reports that no one is coming. Houtarou is still freezing on the ground .inside of his pocket is all the money he owns in the world. They are doing okay, but just barely. Eru wishes that she had brought along her haori. A haori is a jacket for kimonos, says Eru in answer to Houtarou. While on the topic of regret, Houtarou regrets that he didn’t bring along his trench coat. It sure is getting cold, comments Eru. Houtarou apologizes to Eru, saying that Mayaka has their stuff, but it doesn’t seem like she is going to leave her work station to go look for them. No, says Eru, it is her fault for being selfish and dragging him into this problem. Houtarou replies that it isn’t her fault because she has other responsibilities. Regardless, Eru is in agreement with Houtarou with his idea to yell for some. Her family will just have to deal with the rumors as they come, says Eru.
Eru mentions that she thinks that Satoshi is here anyways. Suddenly, Houtarou gets a new idea upon hearing that Satoshi might be here now. Houtarou starts looking around the shed and then he asks Eru if she has a string about 50cm long. He says that will be enough to convey their message to Satoshi. Eru tries her sandal string, but it is too short. Next she suggests her purse string, but that’s no good because they will be using that to convey their message. Eru then suggests Houtarou’s shoelaces, but he tells her that he is wearing laceless boots today. Well, if they absolutely must, Eru has the string on her kimono. Eru says this while blushing. Houtarou doesn’t know that much about kimonos, so he asks Eru what happens if they take that obi string off. The obi would come off, says Eru while looking everywhere but at Houtarou. Houtarou panics and says that is not going to happen. Houtarou then asks if they have any other string. Why do they need string to get a message to Satoshi in the first place asks Eru.
Houtarou doesn’t answer Eru. Instead he has remembered that there is a banner just outside the shed. He then stands up on a wooden chair and takes the shovel in hand. He then chips away at the shed again and creates a hole through which he grabs the string on the banner. With the string in hand, Houtarou asks for Eru’s purse. In the very next scene, Mayaka lets out a gasp and shows the purse to Satoshi with panic, telling him that it definitely belongs to Eru. Satoshi rubs his chin and muses if this is Houtarou’s Misfortune at work making him lose his wallet, the purse, and the handkerchief. All of the items were picked up near the shed, says Mayaka. Se wonders what in the world they could possibly be doing. There’s even some dirty string attached to the purse, mentions Mayaka. Satoshi looks at the purse with a new perspective; once he sees the string he suddenly gets up and runs out of the temple office after asking Mayaka where the temple shed is.
While they are waiting for Satoshi to come save them, Houtarou is telling Eru why they tied up her purse. The purse is a bag, states Houtarou; if the opening and the base are tied, then that means the insides are trapped. ‘Trapped like a rat.’ Eru looks at Houtarou and wonders what he means by this. Houtarou says that he didn’t come up with it. It came from a historical event. Houtarou asks Eru if she knows about the Battle of Anegawa. She knows it. The phrase comes from a story just before that known as the Siege of Kanegasaki. When Nobunaga was attacking Asakura, Nobunaga’s brother-in-law, Azai, betrayed him. Nobunaga’s sister, Oichi, sent a bag tied on both ends to Nobunaga who was on the front lines. Apparently the message it was meant to convey was ‘trapped like a rat.’ Though, Houtarou admits that he doesn’t know much of what actually happened. Eru says that she has never heard that story before. But both Houtarou and Satoshi know about the message because they watched the same drama today. He should know the meaning behind it, and at the very second Satoshi knocks on the shed door and calls through it. The episode ends with Satoshi smirking at the lovely ‘couple’, wishing them a sappy New Year as soon as they gain their freedom.
Intercut between acts
冬至 (Tōji, "winter solstice")
日南の限り行て ("When the Sun passes its southernmost")
日の短きの至りなりば也 ("And the Day reached its shortest")
Rope for the Escape-From-Shed case
- Chitanda Eru doesn't say the phrase "I'm curious" throughout the whole episode.