- Soon after the baseball game, the Little Busters discover that the school is holding a tanka contest. Naturally they decide to participate, with Mio as their flagship. After this plan is born, Riki has lunch with Mio as usual and discusses poetry with her. Riki is no poet, so Mio takes the lead and launches into a quiet ramble on the nature of reality. She says that substantively, there is no present. What we perceive as the present is merely the infinitely repeated experience of creating memories, or creating the past. The present is thus like the horizon, a definite border, but only defined by what it separates.
- Well this is all over Riki's head, they next meet with all the Little Busters and try to figure out a way to write a tanka truly representative of the circle. Mio is bemused but reserves some of her comments. She decides to write an entry on her own. Leaving her to such devices, Riki goes to the town's shopping district to run some errands and happens to see a girl who looks just like Mio. However, this fleeting vision carries no parasol and wears a bubbly grin uncharacteristic of Mio. Confused, Riki asks Mio, who deflects the inquiry, yet slips out language that suggests she knows the girl.
- Later they go on a date ending with relaxation on the riverbank in the evening sun. They talk of poetry, and Mio mentions one of her favorites that presents a separating river as a metaphor for romance. The connection is common in poetry, but this particular river is reminiscent of that poem where lovers reunite as branches of the river. Finally she wonders about the fate of a paper airplane, tossed into the vast yet insubstantial border between sea and sky.
- At school Riki hears from some of his classmates that they too have seen a carefree, no-parasol girl who looks just like Mio. Not knowing what to make of this, he proceeds as usual, taking Mio to the literary club room to submit her tanka. As thanks, Mio invites him to have tea in her room. After getting buried in a book avalanche, Riki is given Mio's favorite poetry collection, the book she once said represents herself. Riki is honored but also worried about being given such an important item. Putting his worries aside, they go on another date, this time to a bookstore. Riki unwittingly asks for recommendations and sees Mio return with two towering piles of books, reaching over her head. Mio describes all of them, but Riki cops out and chooses the top of a pile.
- Coming back from the bookstore, Mio takes him to the beach, which is conveniently romantically deserted. There she thanks him for all the time he spent with her. Riki begins to feel uneasy, and indeed Mio soon reveals that this will be where she says her farewell. Riki tells her not to go, but Mio says it's always been her dream to be that seagull in her favorite poem, forever interred between sea and sky. Suddenly the girl who looks like Mio arrives on the scene. In conversation with Mio she is called Midori. Then Mio's parasol is cast aside by the ocean wind and Riki witnesses the fact that neither girl casts a shadow. Shocked and awed, Riki faints.
- When he returns to his daily school life he finds that Midori now occupies Mio's place in the memories of others. Midori is the new Nishizono Mio and Riki is the only one who remembers the true Mio. In this reshaped reality, "Mio" and Riki are a couple, so Riki must confront Midori daily. She's warm and friendly, but at the same time tells Riki it's better for him to forget Mio. Riki will do no such thing, and refuses to acknowledge Midori as anyone other than Midori. He pores over Mio's treasured poetry collection searching for some clue on how to rediscover Mio, but decrypts nothing. As the days pass, Riki's memories of Mio grow less and less solid. When eating lunch with Midori, she mind games him into remembering Mio with glasses, highlighting for him the transience of memory.
- His resolve shaken, Riki consults Kyousuke for advice on the situation. The rest of the Little Busters, however, all remember Midori as Mio, and Kyousuke is no exception. The only advice he can give Riki is to not rely on the words of others and just believe in himself. Riki takes that in and continues with his overwritten relationship. One day at lunch Midori almost weasels him into calling her "Mio", so symbolic that it would cause him to forget. He steadfastly calls her Midori, so she sighs and leaves him one clue. Speaking of Mio's favorite poem, depicting a seagull in eternal isolation between sea and sky, Midori wonders where the blue comes from. Water and air are clear, yet become blue as the sea and sky. Riki doesn't take this as an opportunity to lecture on elementary science, and instead rushes to the beach to meet Mio again. She is waiting at the beach, amazed yet sad that Riki remembers her. She explains the situation to let him know why she must go.
Imaginary Sister midoriEdit
- Mio had always been a bookworm as a child, and loved to imagine and act out the stories she read. Still it was unsatisfying to enjoy these worlds alone, so one day she met Midori in the mirror.
- They quickly became best friends, playing and pretending stories together. Mio's parents were concerned, however, since no one but Mio could actually see Midori. They sent Mio to a hospital where stayed for a while, talking to doctors and taking medication until slowly she forgot all about Midori. Recently she reread that old poetry collection, encountered the poem of the lone seagull, and remembered Midori. Mio felt extraordinarily guilty for forgetting Midori and so made a wish for Midori to gain the same privileges as an embodied person. So Midori was forged from Mio's shadow, and would now replace Mio in reality. Midori would actualize and Mio would be free. If Riki insisted on remembering Mio, then Midori would once again have to fade from existence, which Mio does not allow.
- Riki hesitates for a split second, torn between Mio and her wish, and in that instant she becomes a seagull and flies away onto the horizon. Devastated, he receives a phone call from Midori, encouraging him and telling him not to let it end like this. Midori admits she's a little jealous, but assures Riki that she will live on inside Mio. With this blessing Riki plunges straight into the ocean and swims after Mio. He's far from an ace swimmer, but persists until his body can no longer move. Sinking, enveloped in black, Riki watches as Mio and Midori reconcile. Midori was happy to be real, but tells Mio that there was never anything to feel guilty about to begin with. Magic rescues Riki, and he returns with Mio to the beach where they embrace and live happily ever after.
References and CitationsEdit