|Mysterious Girlfriend and Boyfriend|
After meeting Urabe at a cafe, Youko daydreams about her highschool days and her former boyfriend. Urabe and Tsubaki visit the gravesite of his mother. Urabe makes a profound prediction about her future shipping with Tsubaki.
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( Manga cross-reference---Chapter 19, "Mysterious Big Sister", and Chapter 12, " Mysterious Memory " )
Coming home from school one afternoon, Akria 'discovers' that his older sister, Youko, is napping, as well as drooling. This brings up many questions in his mind about the intimate aspects of his sister's personality. Later, Youko meets Urabe out in public, and invites her to spend time talking at a cafe. Urabe accepts.
Youko sees Urabe is wearing the girl's high school uniform, and reminisces about when she was in high school. Youko wants to know if her brother, Akria, is dating anyone. Urabe is deliberately vague, not wishing to reveal to Youko that she is not only dating her younger brother, but the two of them have already shared intimate and somewhat erotic moments together, including being drool bonded to one another. Youko continues to reminince about when a boy dated her in high school, although she is not longer in touch with him. Urabe is surprised to find out that Youko also has drool bond capabilities. As the conversation begins to wind down, Youko apologizes to Urabe for her day dreaming about old times, and presents Urabe with a cherry mochi for her time and attention.
At the time of the Spring Equinox, the Tsubaki family observes their annual ceremony at the graveyard of their deceased mother. Preparations are made with the flowers and burning incense, with the family then individually praying, and observing a period of silence and meditation at the gravestone. Afterwards, Youko and Akria ask each other what they prayed about. Youko tells all, but Akria is deliberately vague, as his prayer was about only one thing---that he has kept secret from the family his intimate relationship and being drool bonded with his girlfriend, Urabe Mikoto.
A few days later, while walking home from school, Urabe casually mentions that she got to visit with his sister, Youko, at a cafe recently. Youko talked about her high school days, and the boyfriend she had back then. Tsubaki mentions that the family recently visited the gravestone of his deceased mother. Urabe is taken aback that Tsubaki is without a mother, and wants him to take her to visit the gravestone, too.
On the next Sunday, Tsubaki meets with Urabe, with him dressed casually, but Urabe dressed super, uber cute in what looks like a little girl's party dress. At the gravestone, Urabe also offers flowers, a food offering, and kneels to pray. Afterwards, while still at the gravestone, Urabe wants to know about Tsubaki's mother, but because he was so young at her death, he can not remember anything about her. Urabe then does a mutually occuring drool bond with Tsubaki, right in front of the grave. Urabe begins crying, due to the extreme sadness that was transmitted to her from Tsubaki, with the result that Tsubaki begins crying, too.
As the two walk across the graveyard, Tsubaki feels that the drool bond at that time and place may have been 'inappropriate'. Urabe mentions that in the future, they will be doing many more 'inappropriate' things together. Urabe then points to the budding and blossoming cherry trees, as a sure sign the spring is approaching.
After school one afternoon, when Akira gets home, he finds that his older sister, Youko, has fallen asleep at the heated table in the center of the room. When Akira tries to awaken her, he notices that she has been drooling on the table while sleeping, just like how Urabe did that one time on her desk at school. A surprised and unnerved Akria points out her drooling, and subsequently asks Youko if she has a boyfriend, perhaps as a way of indirectly asking her if she is drool bonded to anyone. Youko becomes very offended by the question, and leaves the room. Akria wonders if a boyfriend would think of his sister as being 'cute' for having drool bonding capabilities.
A couple of days later, Youko is in the shopping district, at an outdoor deli counter. But who should be walking by at that very moment, but Urabe !!! Urabe introduces herself, and Youko remembers that Urabe has been to their home twice to visit Akria to ( supposedly ) drop off homework. Urabe then bows to say good-by, but Youko implores her to join her at a coffee shop to talk and spend time together. Urabe agrees.
At the Cat Town Cafe, Youko and Urabe share a cup of coffee. Soon, Youko does something quite unusual, she reaches out and grabs the sleeve of Urabe's school uniform. Youko exclaims that touching it brings back so many memories of her high school days, in fact, Youko attended the same high school that Urabe and Akria are now attending. Next, Youko asks Urabe point blank if her brother is dating any girls in his class. Urabe blushes deeply, but is vague and apprehensive, not wishing to reveal that herself and Akria are not only dating, are not only girlfriend and boyfriend, but are deeply drool bonded to one another. Youko mentions that she was allowed to date when she was Urabe's age, and confesses that she, indeed, had a boyfriend in high school, and that they dated together for quiet some time.
FLASHBACK---In a flashback to the other day, Youko relates how Akria found her asleep on the warming table, and pointed out to her that she was drooling. Then he asked her, for some unexplained reason, if his older sister had a boyfriend. (#)
Youko wonders out loud why her brother would ask that of her, of all things, after seeing her drooling ? She wonders if his question would have had anything to do with what she was dreaming of while she was sleeping. Urabe sits in silence, tamping down her feelings about drool bonding, now that she knows that Youko also has drool bond capabilities.
FLASHBACK---Youko flashes back to when she was in high school. At that time, Youko did look super, ultra, uber cute, with her hair done in twin tails. Youko and Arima are walking home from school, when Arima casually shows Youko a picture of herself that he took. It is a picture of Youko drooling on her desk at school. Youko wants him to throw the picture away, but he grabs it out of her hand ! He says that he occasionally looks at it, because Youko is so unbelievably ultra cute, what with her wearing twin tails and drooling. (#)
So that is why Youko was so prone to old memories lately. Youko then declares that Urabe must be bored to tears by her recollections of her high school days with her boyfriend. Urabe asks if she is still dating or in contact with Arima. Sadly, Youko says that they went their separate ways after graduation, and lost contact with one another about six months later. Youko wonders if he still has that picture of her. When asked by Youko if Urabe has a boy that she likes, she simply states, " I do. ". Youko then states that she has not dated or sought out a boyfriend at all since way back then.
When they are finally parting outside the cafe, Youko gives Urabe a cherry mochi that she bought, as a friendly gift for her time today. She then tells Urabe to take care of Akria, implying that she has known all along that the two of them are dating. Urabe thanks Youko, and bows to her with respect.
It is the day of the Spring Equinox, and the Tsubaki Family is performing their annual ritual and obligation. They are at the cemetery, and visiting the Tsubaki Family graveside. Akria is filling a bucket with water at the public water faucet. He soon brings the full bucket down the steps to the gravestone of the wife and mother of the family. Youko orders Akria to wash down the grave headstone, for Father to prepare the incense, while she takes care of the flowers and cherry mochi. Finally, everything is set in order, and the ceremony is ready to begin. Once again, Youko takes command of it, by having all three of them to be in front of the gravestone, and having each one offer their individual silent prayers. Youko and Akria are kneeling in front of the display, with Hiroyuki standing behind the two. After a long, motionless silence, the spiritual obligation is done.
Walking through the graveyard, Akria asks his sister what she had prayed about. Youko's prayer was that she would be a good mother's role model for Akria, and look after him until he graduates from college. Akria protests, telling her that she should not have to wait that long to look for someone to marry. Father chimes in with his agreement. Youko points out the fact that the two of them can't even cook, other than heating up microwave meals. So how would they get by on their own ? Youko then asks Akria what he prayed about. Akria is evasive, stating to her that he only mentioned " stuff going on ". Actually, he actually mentioned only one thing ( * ). . . .
A few days later, while they are walking home from school, Urabe very nonchalantly mentions to Tsubaki that she met his sister the other day, and they spent time together, talking at a cafe. Asked what they talked about, Urabe mentions that Youko spoke about having a boyfriend in high school. Tsubaki is quite taken aback, not knowing that his sister had ever dated, let alone having a steady boyfriend. Urabe discloses that she told her that although they were boyfriend and girlfriend, after graduation, they slowly drifted apart. Urabe then mentions that Youko gave her a cherry mochi. Tsubaki answers that is because cherry mochi was offered at his mother's grave. His family visited the family graveyard last Sunday. It was a warm and pleasant day, and they ate at a Chinese restaurant afterwards. Urabe is taken aback by the fact that it was his mother's grave. Tsubaki tells of his mom dying when he was very young, and he now has no memory of her. However, Tsuabki says that he is now accustomed to not having a mother around. Urabe and Tsubaki do their usual daily drool routine. Then afterwards, Urabe asks in an off-the-cuff fashion if Tsubaki is free this coming Sunday, and can he take her to his mother's graveside ?
That Sunday morning, Youko wants to know if her younger brother is going out ? He is ! Tsubaki then repeats his comment that Youko can have a boyfriend if she wants ! Tsubaki recalls the conversation with Urabe from yesterday. He is to meet Urabe at the bus station. He then ponders that is was unusual for Urabe to ask to see his mother's grave, and that this will make for a most unusual date. Tsubaki is dressed casual, in jeans and a hoodie, but he is shocked to see Urabe dressed in what looks like a little girl's birthday party dress, and having with her a bouquet of flowers and offerings. On the bus, he can't take his eyes, or mind, off of Urabe, now looking so, so super cute !
At the graveyard, Tsubaki walks Urabe to the Tsubaki Family graveside. He points out which gravestone is his mothers, and Urabe places the bouquet of flowers into the cupholder, in front of the gravestone, along with a food offering of bacon wrapped beef. While Tsubaki is standing, Urabe slowly knees down, and offers her prayers. After a long, silent interlude, Urabe slowly arises, and lifts the hem of her dress, as a girl does to curtsy. She explains that it is such a very important event to visit the grave of the mother of her boyfriend, and that is why she wanted to dress as cute and attractive as possible. Tsubaki is sharply taken aback by her holy reverence, not to mention her profound cuteness, innocence, and unbelievably high Moe Factor.
Next, Urabe wants to know if Tsubaki ever knew anything about his mother ? He says that he was so young, that he remembers practically nothing about her. What did you feel at her death, Urabe now wants to know ? He says that he also does not remember. A very quirky and unusual request is now made. Urabe asks Tsubaki, as she grabs his left wrist with her right hand, to put his left hand on the top of the gravestone. She now commands that they do a mutual simultaneous drool taste of each other's drool. The resultant overwhelming ecstasy and eroticism is unbelievable. Tsubaki blushes deeply, while Urabe begins to silently cry, with tears streaming down her cheeks. She announces that Tsubaki was crying so much at the death of his mother. But now Tsubaki smiles more so than being sorrowful, because of the love that his mother gave him before her death, as well as the love he now receives from his father and sister. Urabe makes an impassioned plea that she also be someone who gives him that kind of love. Tsubaki now begins crying, too. After a while, then both slowly begin walking back across the graveyard. Tsubaki tactfully remarks that the both of them shared their drool bond right in front of his mother's grave. Something that was inappropriate, according to him. Urabe is unapologetic, stating with a smile plus clear and playful eyes, that they will be doing many more 'inappropriate' things in the days to come.
As they continue to walk through the graveyard, Urabe points to the budding cherry trees, seemingly as a predestination of something to come. She mentions that Spring will soon be here . . . .
Walking side-by-side, Tsubaki now offers a silent prayer to his mom, restating ( * ) that he has a steady girlfriend, and her name is Mikoto Urabe ! He then recalls the dream that he first had about a butterfly alighting on a flower, and the flower soon spilling the nectar outward . . . .
( See the very beginning of Anime Chapter 1 )
( Program Note---The visit of Urabe and Tsubaki to the family graveyard, and them seeing the blosseming of the cherry trees is the end of the regular anime series. An anime OAV tells of the story when Urabe and Tsubaki attend a summer festival together. Although the anime ends here, the story continues in the manga, from now until about the time that they both graduate from high school. But how far does their romance go? )
Commentary and Opinion
By observing the ceremony at the Tsubaki Family gravestone, it is probably safe to assume that the Tsubaki family, as well as Urabe, are either Buddhist, Shintoist, or Taoist. Most Japanese people who are religious, belong to one of those three religions.