Over the phone, Usokawa encourages Ryuu to come with him and other friends to see the movie R-15 Splatter. Ryuu tells him that he cannot simply leave Kotaro alone at home. Just then, Saikawa appears behind Ryuu, offering to take care of him.
The day of the movie, Ryuu puts on his shoes and once again asks Saikawa if he is alright with taking care of Kotaro for the day, also promising not to be out too late. He tells him that he can still turn them down if he wants. Saikawa declines, citing that the chairwoman told him that encouraging social relationships with schoolmates is a priority.
Ryuu realizes that this is the first time that he will be going out without Kotaro since the two arrived here. He instructs Kotaro to be good with Saikawa while he is out. Saikawa, who holds Kotaro, pledges to protect him with his life.
As Ryuu leaves, Saikawa holds up Kotaro's hand and waves goodbye. Ryuu closes the door and reflects that Saikawa is rather enigmatic. He feels guilty going off by himself since Saikawa had recently taken care of the all the children at the daycare already.
Back at the estate, Saikawa stands next to Kotaro, who glumly stares at the floor in silence as he sits on the chair. The two awkwardly look at the floor before Saikawa breaks the silence. He asks him if he would like a snack of some kind, but Kotaro shakes his head.
Saikawa sees that the snack strategy has failed, and to restore happiness, he must make an offer of play. He takes a cattail-like plant from the flower pot next to him and waves it in front of Kotaro, who immediately lights up.
Saikawa kneels down and waves the plant around, telling Kotaro to play to his heart's content in his mind. Kotaro blushes as he stares at the cattail with excitement. Saikawa then holds up the plant in front of Kotaro's face, and Kotaro immediately jumps up and catches it.
At the movie theater, Usokawa, Ebizawa, and Saginuma wait for Ryuu. Ryuu runs up to them, apologizing for being late and asking if he is the last one here. Usokawa says that they are still waiting for Hayato. Hayato then promptly appears next to Ryuu, apologizing for the delay. Ryuu points out that he has bite marks on his face. Usokawa demands if he was with a girl. Hayato explains that Taka had bit him, asking to go with him, but of course, he simply hit him and left.
Hayato asks if Kotaro cried. Ryuu becomes flustered as he admits that he was too worried to leave. Hayato bluntly says that he loves his brother too much, a feeling that is completely foreign to him. Usokawa decides to tell all the girls that Ryuu has a brother complex so that none of them will like him anymore. Ebizawa discourages him, telling him that it will backfire. Ryuu wonders if he really does have a brother complex, feeling that it is more about "worry" than "love."
During the movie, Ebizawa, Saginuma, and Usokawa shake with fear, but Hayato remains unperturbed as he casually eats popcorn. Ryuu is preoccupied with thoughts about Kotaro. At the estate, Saikawa draws Ryuu on a ball and throws it, instructing Kotaro to fetch. Kotaro quickly runs after the ball. However, when he goes down to pick it up, he unintentionally pushes the ball forward and away from him.
Saikawa watches Kotaro bump the ball around trying to catch it and notes that it is incredibly cute. Kotaro turns the corner, and Saikawa tells him that he should not go too far. Kotaro ends up in a room with an open window. The wind blows the curtain around as the pages of a book flip around on the table.
Saikawa picks up the ball and holds it out to Kotaro as he explains that this room is the library that was used by the chairwoman's deceased son and daughter-in-law. Kotaro takes the ball while Saikawa continues to explain that a library is a place for storing books, and like Kotaro, Youichi and his wife were also fond of books.
In a flashback, Youichi sits with his wife at the table of the library and calls Saikawa over. He tells him to come over and listen to him read a joke collection, wishing to see him laughing his head off at least once before he dies.
Back in the present, Saikawa reflects on the memory, apologizing to Youichi for not being able to grant him that sight, remembering that the joke collection was not amusing at all. He also remembers the time when the chairwoman told him to stop cleaning the library since no one is using the room anymore, but later he had seen the chairwoman air out the room herself for the sake of the two who will never return.
Saikawa picks up the book on the table as Kotaro calls to him. Kotaro holds up a book about love poetry, and Saikawa asks if he would like him to read it. Saikawa smiles as he agrees, thinking to himself that this is for the sake of the two who will grow up here.
The chairwoman steps out of the car and walks towards the estate, she sees Youichi and his wife through the window of the library and gasps. However, she then realizes that it is Saikawa reading a book to Kotaro. She huffs and wonders what nonsense Saikawa is reading him.
In the evening, Ryuu waves goodbye to his friends and runs home. At the same time, Saikawa and Kotaro are standing at the door, waiting for his arrival. Kotaro goes up to the door when he hears steps coming from the other side. Ryuu opens the door, and Kotaro immediately hugs his leg. Saikawa explains that he was impatient to see Ryuu, so they waited for him at the front door. Saikawa welcomes him home, glad to see that he is safe.
Ryuu takes out a zombie keychain from his pocket and offers it to Saikawa as a gift. He figures that Saikawa would not like such an item, but Saikawa smiles as he happily accepts it. He tells Ryuu that because of the two of them, he has had a wonderful day. Ryuu remembers that it has been a year since he and Kotaro have come to this house.
The chairwoman bangs her cane on the ground, asking how long they are planning to stand around for. She instructs Saikawa to start preparing for dinner and tells Ryuu to assist him. They both immediately comply.
Ryuu stops the chairwoman, telling her that they have not done a formal welcome back before saying "I'm home now." The chairwoman welcomes him back as Ryuu realizes that the place that he calls home is definitely here.
Ryuu looks at the love poetry book with confusion and asks Saikawa what he and Kotaro did today. Saikawa explains that they played all the "standard games" and holds up the cattail. Ryuu awkwardly laughs as Kotaro shows Ryuu his ball.
As December begins, the city goes into Christmas mode, and Kotaro has been obsessed with the Santa decorations. While walking to school, Kotaro stops every time he sees a Santa, whether it is a Santa sign or a picture of Santa on the side of a vending machine. A man dressed as Santa and passing out flyers nervously looks back at Kotaro's intense stare. Ryuu tries to hurry Kotaro along when he stops to stare at a bearded man walking a dog.
Ryuu drops to his knees in exhaustion when he reaches the daycare center. He explains what happened to Usaida, who comments that he was wondering why Ryuu arrived later than he did. Ryuu complains that it took forever, and Usaida thinks to himself that Ryuu had indulged him every step of the way.
Usaida kneels down next to Kotaro, asking why he has a casino poster, as he is too young for gambling. Ryuu points out the small Santa picture on the poster, and Usaida is surprised to see that Kotaro spotted such a small Santa.
Taka proudly tells Kotaro that he saw a way cooler Santa at the department store. Ryuu greets him as Taka recalls that he asked for a hero transformation belt. Usaida says that he fell right for the department store's tricks.
He then apologizes to Taka, telling him that Santa only visits good boys and girls. Taka, dismayed, claims that he is a good boy, but Usaida points out that he does not eat his broccoli. Taka sniffles as he complains that he does not like broccoli, but is willing to eat it. Usaida is surprised by his motivation, but Hayato suddenly whacks him on the head. Hayato orders Usaida to cut the act. Usaida replies that he got Taka to eat his broccoli, but Hayato says that he only wanted to make Taka cry, which Usaida admits.
A crying Taka runs to Hayato, asking if Santa will come to their house. Hayato bluntly says that he obviously will not, as their mother had bought their presents, but Ryuu covers his mouth before he can finish his sentence, insisting that he absolutely cannot crush Taka's dreams. Hayato speaks through Ryuu's hand, saying that Taka was with them when they bought the gifts.
Kotaro pats Taka's head and calls him a good boy. Taka asks Kotaro if Santa will come, and Kotaro firmly nods. Ryuu starts thinking about Santa, and Hayato sees his pensive expression. Usaida stares at the casino flyer.
On December 18, Kirin begins to share what she asked Santa for, but then she decides to keep it a secret. Satoru swoons over his daughter's cuteness, asking Ryuu if he had seen how cute she is before threatening him if he falls for her. The next day, Usaida yawns as the children are playing. He looks over at the window and see Inomata and Ushimaru peeking into the room. The two girls gasp when they see that they've been caught.
Takuma holds Kazuma's hand as he proudly announces that he asked Santa to make sure that he and Kazuma can be together forever. Kazuma agrees, saying that he wished to be with Takuma. Kousuke cries as he holds Ryuu's hands, asking him what he should get Takuma and Kazuma since they are such good children, lamenting that he does not know what to get them as a present.
Yukari holds Midori, who is wearing a bear suit, and excitedly tells Ryuu that she has finished Yutaka's Santa costume. Ryuu pictures Yutaka as Santa and admits that he really does play the role well.
While Ryuu and his classmates change into their gym outfits, Ryuu thinks about dressing up as Santa. Usokawa asks what Ryuu is doing when he sees Ryuu stuffing clothes up his shirt to create a big belly. Ryuu becomes flustered and panics, quickly explaining that he is trying to figure out how to look more like Santa. Usokawa says that he really thought he was pretending to be pregnant. Ushimaru and Kawata pass by, and Ushimaru peeks into the room, wondering what Ryuu is doing. Kawata tells her not to peek at boys while they are changing.
Ebizawa asks Ryuu if he is playing Santa for his little brother, but before he can answer, Usokawa wonders why, saying that that is the father's job. Ebizawa and Saginuma immediately hit him, scolding him for not thinking about Ryuu's family situation. Usokawa swiftly apologizes, and Ryuu assures them that they do not have to walk on eggshells for him.
Ryuu recalls that his parents took Christmas really seriously, and he admits that he believed it all up until third grade. He says that Kotaro also really believes in Santa and is excited to meet him. His classmates are touched by his plan to dress up as Santa for him. Usokawa asks how he can be such a good older brother, and Ebizawa comments that it is funny how Ryuu believed in Santa all the way until third grade.
Saginuma asks if he has his Santa costume yet, but Ryuu says that his smartphone has been acting up lately, so he cannot search up cheap costumes. Usokawa scrolls through his phone for costumes as he asks Ryuu if his phone got wrecked. He suggests that he ask the rich chairwoman for a new smartphone for Christmas. Ryuu immediately refuses, claiming that he should probably get her something since she took him and Kotaro in.
He thinks about giving her shoulder massages, but his friends ask if he is being tortured by the chairwoman. Ryuu denies this, saying that the chairwoman is really nice. Hayato opens the door, and Ryuu calls to him, wanting to go with him to gym class. Hayato bluntly says that he is ditching class before exiting and closing the door. He walks down the hallway and stands in front of the chairwoman's office.
On Christmas Eve, Ryuu and Kotaro excitedly look at the decorative Christmas tree. Saikawa bows as he presents a magnificent feast for the two. Ryuu sees that all the food is clearly too much for just the two of them. Kotaro eagerly holds up his fork, ready to eat. Ryuu asks where the chairwoman is, and Saikawa explains that she is attending a very important dinner, which disappoints Kotaro. Saikawa apologizes, saying that he has some work to finish up, meaning he cannot eat dinner with them, also disappointing Kotaro.
Ryuu sees that Kotaro is depressed, but he turns to Saikawa and thanks him for taking the time to prepare them dinner when he has work to do. Ryuu pats Kotaro, telling him to thank Saikawa too, but Kotaro continues to look down with a dejected expression. Ryuu says to Saikawa that he does not need to worry about them, but Saikawa firmly says that he will stay. He then adds on that he would like to stay, but he really does need to go. Before he leaves, he smiles and says that he is incredibly happy to see how much the two of them will miss him. He wishes them a Merry Christmas and exits.
Kotaro grabs onto Ryuu's sleeve, and Ryuu thinks to himself that Kotaro has been a lot more expressive with his feelings since they have arrived. He also notes that it is a lot easier to comfort him when he is lonely. Ryuu assures Kotaro that his brother is still here, so the two of them can still enjoy the food that Saikawa had made for them. He tells him that he is sure that Santa will be here soon, and Kotaro's eyes sparkle with excitement.
Ryuu suddenly realizes that it will be hard for him to change into his Santa costume if it is only the two of them here. He recalls Usokawa giving him a Santa costume that his dad used to wear at New Year's parties. Ryuu pretends that he needs to go to the bathroom, planning to put the outfit on in there. However, Kotaro follows him to get the bag with the costume and even in the bathroom.
Ryuu sits on the toilet while Kotaro stands in front of him. He awkwardly asks Kotaro if he would rather wait outside. Ryuu is dejected when he sees that Kotaro refuses to leave. He wonders how his father was able to change into his Santa costume without him noticing. He figures that he had slipped away while he and Kotaro were focused on cake.
Just then, the doorbell rings, and Kotaro announces that Santa is here. As the front doors open, Ryuu is stunned, wondering if his parents could be outside the door. Outside the doors are all of Ryuu's friends, the daycare center, and the parents. Everyone wishes Ryuu and Kotaro a Merry Christmas in unison. Yutaka is even dressed up as Santa.
Kotaro beams when he sees everyone while Ryuu blushes. The chairwoman, who is standing next to Saikawa, holds a small present as she instructs him to give the bag to her. She taps his head with the present, saying that she dislikes children who fail to mature and show unnecessary consideration. Ryuu accepts the gift and blushes. He asks about the chairwoman's important dinner, and she says that she obviously left early. Ryuu and Kotaro laugh and smile with everyone.
Inside the box was a smartphone of the same model as his old one. Hayato had told the chairwoman about his broken smartphone the other day. Ryuu speaks to his parents, telling them that the moment he opened the door, he felt a little disappointed that he did not see the two of them. However, that feeling was outweighed by the immense joy he felt when he saw his friends.
Everyone counts down from five as they get ready to take a commemorative picture together. They all wish Merry Christmas as the picture is taken.
Characters in Order of Appearance
- Ryuuichi Kashima
- Kotaro Kashima
- Saikawa Keigo
- Hayato Kamitani
- Taka Kamitani
- Morinomiya Youichi (flashback)
- Morinomiya Youko
- Usaida Yoshihito
- Kirin Kumatsuka
- Satoru Kumatsuka
- Takuma Mamizuka
- Kazuma Mamizuka
- Kousuke Mamizuka
- Midori Sawatari
- Yukari Sawatari
- Umi Mamizuka
- Shizuka Kamitani
- Yayoi Kumatsuka
- Yutaka Sawatari
- Inomata Maria
- Ushimaru Yuki
- Nezu Chuukichi
- Yagi Tomoya
Changes From the Manga
- Usokawa invites Ryuu to the movies in-person in the manga, but in the anime, he calls him.
- Rather than explaining that Taka witnessed Shizuka buying the Christmas presents, Hayato tries to tell Taka that the "Santa" from the department store was just a marketing technique in the manga.
- In the anime, Kirin decides to keep what she wants for Christmas a secret, but in the manga, she theorizes that Santa probably does not exist.
- In the manga, Inomata and Ushimaru do not appear to peek through the daycare center windows to see the kids.
- Taizo does not appear in the anime, so the conversation between Hayato and Taizo is not animated.