"Tender" is the one hundredth and one chapter in Ahiru no Sora.
To atone for his wrongdoings, Momoharu trims his hair. Afterwards, a determined Momoharu stares at the mirror and notices a changed person within himself. Due to the start of the rainy season, Kuzuryu High school staff decided to reduce the suspension on Momoharu, Yasuhara, Nabe, and Masahiro. All of them finally return to Kuzuryu High. Sora, upon arrival at school, is astonished to see his changed captain. Sora questions Momoharu, what happened to his hairstyle, and he looks different? Momoharu responds this is how he is beginning the conversation with him. The reduced suspension was a big sigh of relief for Momoharu and his friends. Before the class session, they went to the school’s staff office apologized to all the staff members and teachers for their wrongdoings. Like Momoharu, Nabe also shortened his hair. However, Nabe's hairstyle was buzz-cut. Later, Momoharu and his friends also apologized to their non-suspended teammates. One thing was certain that this incident changed them for the betterment. Upon hearing their regret, Nao hands out the hobbyist group petition form to Momoharu and his friends. They all fill out the form. After completion, Kaname asks Nao what about their club’s advisor? Nao responds she hasn’t found anyone. She has asked almost all the teachers at school, none of them is interested. The only remaining person is Satsuki-sensei.
Upon hearing, Kaname responds that the non-suspended members should go to Satsuki-sensei and request that he kindly reconsider the position. Chiaki replies that it’s meaningless and will not make a difference. The school will not recognize their hobbyist club unless all the members willingly agree to be part of it. An irritated Kenji states that he won’t oppose their recent decision, but he also can’t agree and leaves the room. A confused Kaname responds that he was confident that Kenji would be against it. While calmly walking in one of the school hallways, Kenji recalls the 1-on-1 basketball match he had with Karasawa. Upon experiencing the defeat from the university senior, a frustrated Kenji stares at the court. Karasawa advised Kenji that his plan to be a stronger basketball athlete than anyone in high school is entirely unrealistic. The reality is that high school matches do not compete on a 1-on-1 basis. Just because you’re the ace doesn’t mean your team is going to be successful. On remembering, Kenji becomes frustrated and furiously punches the wall. Kenji comments that the main problem with his shortcomings is that he hasn’t found teammates he can trust.
While heading towards their classroom, Momoharu informs Sora not to be worried about the advisor for their team, and he will try again asking Satsuki-sensei. Momoharu then tells himself that a lot has happened to their team in recent weeks, and he needs to take responsibility for his actions. Momoharu calmly pats Sora’s forehead and apologizes to him for his earlier mistakes. Upon hearing, Sora smiles and jokingly pushes his captain down the stairs. An injured and angry Momoharu furiously stares at his teammate. Sora cheerfully informs Momoharu now they’re even, and he is lucky and grateful to have him as their team captain. Momoharu calmly looks at Sora and comments that his judgement about him is wrong and he should be thanking Sora. While heading up the staircase, Sora jokingly mocks Momoharu’s hairstyle again and comments that a buzz cut would suit him a lot better. Momoharu responds that the buzz cut will not suit him because he has one big bald spot at the back of his forehead.
Momoharu then recalls when he first met Sora at Kuzuryu High and promised to show him his first successful dunk. After remembering, Momoharu promises Sora that he will bet his remaining high school life on basketball. Upon hearing, Sora feels grateful and wishes that Kenji was also present to listen to this. At how much changed person their team captain has become. Sora replies that their team needs everyone’s strength to go to the Inter-High and that promise will not remain empty-handed. At that moment, Sora sees Madoka at the lower level of the staircase. An excited Sora calls out her name. Upon hearing, Madoka notices both of them. As she approaches closer, Sora notifies Madoka of Momoharu’s changed hairstyle and comments he looks a bit funny. Momoharu replies that he isn’t bald. Due to their previous argument, at the Kawasaki bridge, a depressed Madoka quietly passes by Momoharu. Sora notices their odd behavior with each other and asks Momoharu if something happened between them. Momoharu calmly replies, no need to worry and nothing strange happened.
- Madoka Yabuchi
- Sora Kurumatani
- Momoharu Hanazono
- Yasuhara Shinichi
- Masahiro Saki
- Ryuuhei Nabeshima
- Chiaki Hanazono
- Kenji Natsume
- Nao Nanao
- Karasawa (flashback)