Nishino's reasons for going to another school was definitely interesting when she revealed them, indicating that she knew she couldn't compete with Tojo while being in the same school and not wanting to see that play out in front of her. The idea of going elsewhere so she can become the person he really wants at some point is interesting, as is the general idea that most high school relationships fail at some point anyway. So why not avoid it entirely and pin your hopes elsewhere? Speaking from experience, it's certainly an interesting idea and it can work and there's always the strange potential of meeting someone from high school twenty years later and finding them to be the love of your life.
Nishino's obviously not looking that long term and the separation of the two is definitely having an impact on her. Of course, she ends up getting very needy (yet in a realistic and small way) when her birthday rolls around and she wants to see Manaka again. So much so that when the two do end up talking on the phone late at night, she almost sounds like she's in tears, something that spurs Manaka to action to go and see her. The two have a really wonderful series of quiet moments together outside, initially with her holding two pieces of cake from them, but what she wants in the end is to just shake his hand, a sly way of holding his hand at this stage when she knows she can't really have him because of the circumstances. It's a moment that leaves a strong impression on both of them, which of course causes Manaka to think about things even more.
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