Eru asks Houtarou to be an umbrella carrier during this year's Doll Festival, and he agrees to help her.
Houtarou is awaken by phone call from Eru during one holiday morning. She asks him if he has plans fro the next day. Houtarou answers that he has none, and Eru asks him to help her during Doll Festival procession by carrying the umbrella. She also tells him that she will be playing the Empress during that. Houtarou doesn't think that it would be difficult, and he agrees. Next day, Houtarou is seen on his bicycle riding to the start location of the festival, Mizunashi Shrine
Part A Edit
Houtarou rides his bicycle to Mizunashi Shrine and he notices that cherry trees nearby are blossoming out of season. He approaches Choukyuu Bridge which seems to be closed for reconstruction. Houtarou asks construction worker if he can cross the bridge, and worker answers that he can, but the reconstruction will begin shortly, and bridge will be closed.
Houtarou reaches the shrine, and enters its main building. One shrine attendant looks at him suspiciously until Houtarou introduces himself and says that Eru Chitanda sent him to act as umbrella holder. Shrine attendant invite him inside, in the staff room, where Houtarou gets seated in the corner in front of a heater while other shrine attendants behind him doing preparations for the upcoming procession. Houtarou feels that he is out of place here.
One old shrine attendant, a senior one, yells a lot and scares Houtarou with his harsh attitude. He comes to Houtarou and talks to him. He apologises for burdening outsiders like him and bows. Houtarou returns the bow and acts formal and humble. After that the old man tells Houtarou to wait until his turn comes, and leaves him.
As shrine attendants still engaged in procession preparations, Houtarou overhears them talking about suspension of the construction works on Choukyuu Bridge. Houtarou speaks up and tells them that construction works have already begun. Senior attendant takes charge and orders other attendant, Sono, to take his truck and go check on the bridge. Houtarou finds out that the Choukyuu bridge is important because the Doll Festival procession goes right across that bridge. That's why the shrine asked to delay the construction. After some time Sono returns, and confirms what Houtarou said. It seems that someone called the construction company and told them to go ahead with the bridge as scheduled, and that person didn't introduce himself.
Senior attendant takes charge and says that they can't do anything about the bridge now, and they need to deal with it by taking a detour route. One attendant suggests are just walking on one side of the river, but this plan is rejected because it would leave the other side without procession. Another attendant suggests to walk on one side of the river, come back, and then walk on the other side of the river, and then return to the shrine. But that plan is also rejected as it would force the dolls to walk twice the normal distance. Third attendant suggests to go half way, return, cross the bridge, and go half away again. It's also rejected because senior attendant yells that it's shameful to do such thing. After that young attendant with with orange hair confidently suggests to cross river at Tooji Bridge which is located just a little further than Choukyuu Bridge. This way the dolls will be able to walk on both sides of the river.
However this suggestion was met with certain doubts, and suddenly a female attendant comes into the room and asks if a person called Houtarou is here. She says that Chitanda's daughter is calling for him. She takes Houtarou to a small room with a huge white curtain in the centre. He sits down on one side, while on the other Eru is being dressed for the festival by attendants. Eru asks Houtarou about the problem that she heard about. Houtarou tells her about problem with Choukyuu Bridge and how one attendant suggested the Tooji Bridge, but for some reason everyone else was hesitant to accept it. Eru compliments Houtarou for a good summary of this situation. Eru asks Houtarou to deliver a following message to everyone: "I’ll ask the other side's priest, myself. I'll ask my father to contact the representatives personally, too."
Houtarou has no idea what Eru means by her message, but other people clearly understand that when he delivers the message. They seem to be relieved and they decide to go along with Eru's plan. Therefore, it's decided that the procession will cross river at Tooji Bridge. Then senior attendant yells at everyone and orders them to start working immediately on the new plan.
Part B Edit
Twenty minutes later until procession start. Houtarou is being dressed by the attendant who suggested to cross river at Tooji Bridge. They have a small talk, and the attendant tells him that he couldn't carry umbrella as the ceremonial clothes is too small for him and, besides, he wants to be a watch it from the side. He finishes dressing Houtarou, and both he and Houtarou agree that Houtarou looks awful in these clothes.
When the time hits twelve exactly, the women participants come out of the dressing room. Houtarou learns that Irisu is also taking part in the Doll Festival procession as he sees her in the costume of Emperor. When Eru comes out, Houtarou is astonished and his breath is taken away for a while. The procession begins, and all Houtarou can think about during the first half of the procession is that coming to this festival was a really bad idea. He feels that his energy conservation policy is being shattered.
During the second half of the procession, Houtarou is consumed with a desire to get a look at Eru's face from the front. Houtarou's mind is filled with curiosity. He is yearning to look at her. His all-consuming thoughts are abruptly interrupted with Satoshi shouts "hi" to Houtarou from the side. Houtarou comes back to his senses and sees Satoshi and Mayaka waving at him.
After the procession is over, Houtarou is seen sitting with Mayaka and Satoshi while Eru and Irisu do some purification ceremony in the main shrine building. Satoshi jokingly tells Houtarou that he wasn't looking good in his outfit while Eru and Irisu were the most elegant things that he has ever seen. Mayaka chips in and tells Houtarou that he alone was ruining the whole festival. Satoshi then gets up to get more food, leaving Mayaka alone with Houtarou.
Mayaka thanks Houtarou for what he did during Valentine's Day. Houtarou admits that he got angry at Satoshi and even yelled at him. Mayaka smiles and says that she already knows this because Satoshi told everything her.
Houtarou then walks into the main building where he is greeted by Irisu, who is leaving now. Irisu brings up the issue with Choukyuu Bridge. Irisu asks Houtarou about his opinion on the reason why this happened. At first Houtarou wants to answer her seriously, but after he remembers her flair for manipulating other people, he answers her that he has no idea. Irisu replies that it's a shame because she thought that he can solve this mystery. After that Irisu smiles to Houtarou and tells him that she wouldn't lie to him during Doll Festival.
Some time later Houtarou excuses himself and leaves the after-festival banquet for staff, and sits outside in the little courtyard. Eru comes to him and sits beside. It seems that she is filled with curious excitement. Eru tells Houtarou that it was so hard all day, behaving and trying to act as if nothing is wrong. Good job as the doll, says Houtarou. Not that, replies Eru. The Choukyuu Bridge, the construction company; Eru is simply bubbling with her curious energy. Eru had a job to do and was forced to hold in her energy all day. Basically, "You’re curious," stated Houtarou in a monotone. "Yes!" replies Eru. She is positive that Houtarou has thought about it. Well, says Houtarou, he does have his suspicions about a certain someone. What a coincidence, Eru has her suspicions about someone too.
Eru suggests that they both write down who they think is suspicious on a piece of paper and then reveal their suspicious person to each other at the same time. But there's no paper, points out Houtarou, so they write the suspects on their hands. Eru wrote "Konari's son" while Houtarou wrote "brown haired guy". Eru informs him that they are the same person. So they thought of the same person, amazing. So, why did you suspect him, asks Eru.
First, says Houtarou, they know that someone called the construction company to begin work on the bridge today. That's right, comments Eru. Then who made the call? Everyone was in a panic, says Houtarou, but there was one person who was working under the assumption that they couldn't use the Choukyuu Bridge. That person was Konari's son. Him and Houtarou talked for a bit while they were dressing Houtarou. From him Houtarou learned that this guy came back home to watch the festival procession because you don't get to see it very often. That's weird, says Houtarou, because they hold it every year. It wouldn't be strange to see the festival procession for someone who has grown up in this town. Eru admits that Houtarou's logic so far has no holes.
This means that something you don't get to see very often is happening this year. Houtarou asks Eru what that something was. She replies that the route was changed. While she is thinking, Eru suddenly gets what Houtarou was thinking. The out of season blossoming cheery tree which you can only see if you go along the Tooji Bridge route; the view of the dolls walking beneath the blossoming trees is something that you don't see very often. Eru takes a sharp intake of air as she suddenly realises that the whole festival was almost ruined for so small a thing. But it's not that simple, thinks Houtarou while recalling the memory of Eru walking under that very cheery tree. Houtarou was a little too quietly thinking about Eru, which made her almost prod him out of his thoughts.
Houtarou moves with a start and asks Eru why she thought that he was the culprit. That's because, she says, the only person there who could watch as everyone else lost face was Konari's son. But now that she has heard Houtarou's reasons she feels at ease with her guess. What do you mean, asks Houtarou. Apparently Konari's son hopes to be a photographer in the future. He's even attending a technical school in Osaka just for that purpose. Eru smiles warmly as she thinks how Konari's son only wanted to take pictures of something unusual.
Later that evening, Houtarou and Eru are walking down the road. Eru brings up what she said earlier about talking to the other side's priest herself. Yeah, says Houtarou, everyone stopped panicking after that. it may be a bit boring, but Eru wants to tell him why. Some time ago, this land was divided. The north side was one village's side while the south side was another village. They often fought over land and water. It's all history now, but if one side still walks over the imaginary border today without notifying the other side first it can cause a lot of problems. Ah, so that's why, comments Houtarou in his lazy tone. But as it stood, they didn't have anyone to ask permission, which was where Eru came into the picture. And that's why they could enter the other side without worry. A powerful old family, just like Satoshi said, mentions Houtarou. Eru, quietly, wonders about that.
Eru says that Kamiyama's northern half is a small world. All Eru did was resolve an issue between two halves of a small world. Of course, she doesn't think of her actions as insignificant, but also she doesn't see them as having any significance. Even if she enters a university, Eru feels like she has to return to this place. No matter what road she takes in life, she'll have to return here. Then in a sudden but relative change of topic, Eru asks Houtarou if he is planning on entering the humanities or sciences division next year in school. Houtarou decided to go into humanities. Eru chose the science division. Eru is not sad or disappointed that she has to return here one day, because she has her role as the Chitanda family daughter. She has thought about how she wants to go about doing that her whole life.
She has decided on two methods. The first is to produce the very best crops so every has plenty to eat. The other is to work on the business side with profits to avoid going into the red. In the end, Eru chose the first option, and that is why she chose to enter the science division. Houtarou comments how the second option doesn't suit her at all. Eru smiles and brings up the time during the Kanya Festival when she went around causing trouble for everyone. She is just not cut out for business.
Eru suddenly stops walking and holds out her hands and tells Houtarou to look at her. she says that this place with the running water and the soil is her place. The people are growing old and tired. She doesn't think this place is the most beautiful. She also doesn't see this place as one full of potential. But, Eru says a little quieter but with no less conviction as she turns her head down and to the side, she wanted to show Houtarou this place of hers. "By the way", says Houtarou as he looks away from Eru, about the business side, Houtarou wants to know if he can do it for her. Eru's eyes light with joy and her mouth gaping; speechless, and motionless she stands there as a wave of cheery blossoms flutter down to the ground all around the couple.
“By the way, what?” asks Eru. Houtarou blushes and turns away from Eru. He wonders if this was how Satoshi felt on Valentine's Day. "It’s getting cold", says Houtarou to cover up for the awkward silence. "No...", replies Eru smiling, "...it is spring now". A sudden gust blows and the same imaginary vision that Houtarou was having just seconds before comes a reality before his very eyes except that if anything Eru is more beautiful now than in his imagination. The sight is much too strong for him and he looks away blushing; looking down he smiles.
Blu-ray and DVD releases Edit
- Blu-ray Limited Edition release: Volume 11, KAXA-5011, April 26, 2013
- DVD Limited Edition release: Volume 11, KABA-10096, April 26, 2013
- DVD Regular Edition release: Volume 11, KABA-10107, April 26, 2013
- Hyouka BD-BOX release: KAXA-9806, February 27, 2015
- This episode is adaptation of Story 7 "The Doll that Took a Detour" from The Doll that Took a Detour.
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