|Period 19: The Money Tree|
|Previous||Period 18: Miracle Ball|
|Next||Period 20: Best Friend|
Akane obtains a wonderful bonsai tree that begins to bloom money! But as more and more money appears, Akane can't help but notice that several people are beginning to vanish...
Yomi sees the Reader while patiently waiting in line. She greets them and holds up a coin, explaining how people often spend money without second thought. Today's lesson is about money.
Akane boredly listens to her rich classmate Julie as she brags about spending winter break in Hawaii, surrounded by the other girls in class that she invited over to her place. While she is a little envious she doesn't mind very much since Julie usually gives her souvenirs- although her friend quietly complains about how much of a bitch she is. Everyone can't deny how lucky Julie is to have wealth, and she claims it isn't anything special. Just then she takes notice of Akane's skirt and points out seeing her wear it two days straight now, and she starts teasing her by wondering if she has any money.
This turns into cruel mockery as the other girls begin to laugh at Akane, leading her to sadly rub her eyes as Julie recalls something and leads the group to a vault in a nearby room. Before opening it Julie warns them that they can't tell anyone what she is about to show them, and she reveals that within it is a small, strange look withered plant. This bonsai is the cause of their weath, much to everyone's surprise.
Akane barely listens, instead wondering why they could be so cruel because she wears a skirt she likes so frequently. As she heads home she remains in a foul mood and she sadly runs up to her bedroom to count the money she has currently in her bank. It's impossible to buy clothing with such a meager amount, and she begins to daydream about what she would buy if she did have money; new clothing, manga, video games.
Just then her mom calls her for dinner and Akane gets up to join her. But on her way there she happens to spot a familiar plant just outside the backyard door. She cautiously opens it and sees the bonsai tree owned by Julie, and as she notices money is hanging from it, her mom approaches to hand her the phone. She hears a distressed Julie on the other line, who asks her if she saw the tree since she left. She explains that it went missing and has no reason not to believe one of the girls took it, and Akane initially plans on telling her that it showed up in her yard- until she remembers earlier, and still feeling hurt, she suggests a girl stole it and ends the conversation. She decides to hang on to it for a couple of days to get back at her, then she will return it.
The next day Akane visits the grocery store to test the money out and she leaves with a few large bags, surprised the money was usable. She decides to head home until she walks by an arcade to see a large, Pinny-Guzzu plush and she uses the spare money she has to win it. The employees are surprised as she leaves, recalling that her mother never let her play in the arcade before under the assumption she would waste a lot of money.
Before heading home Akane stops by a store to pick up a couple of new video games. But when she arrives she finds her suspicious parents, who demand to know how she could afford them. Realizing she has no choice Akane reveals the money tree to them and explains how it grows money. When asked how she found it, she claims it was in the yard; which is technically not a lie. While they seem hesitant, her parents are ultimately happy by the sudden wealth and they begin to use it on things they needed, her father taking a quick liking to it much like she had. They buy brand new, expensive items and large sections of a shop, eat out at expensive places, and make upgrades to their home.
Over the next few days Akane comes to the decision to hang onto the tree for a while longer, since everyone is so happy now. She shows off her brand new, fashionable attire that wows her class as a friend notes seeing it in a magazine lately. She's unaware of Julie observing her.
At home Akane prepares to discard trash when her mother stops her upon recognizing the coin bank in the pile and asks Akane why she would throw it away. Akane insists she has no use for it now because of the tree making dollar bills, and she can't understand why her mother won't let go of their past ways and enjoy their newfound wealth like she and her dad have been.
Akane heads outside to collect today's funds when she notices the tree has been planted into the ground now. She assumes it was her dads doing, but stops upon recognizing the hair tie on the ground and looks around to see if Julie is there. She tries to hide herself and the tree, but after a few minutes and nothing happens she returns inside.
The following day at school Akane is shocked to learn that Julie isn't there. Her friend mentions that she's been missing for over a day now, and even the police had to get involved. As they think of how strange this is, they recall Julie's mother going missing the day they were visiting her.
Akane arrives home to find her mom speaking to one of their newly hired maids, and she goes on to inform Akane that she has discovered her husband has been missing. One woman suggests they contact the police, and her mom confesses that she recently found out that not only did he quit working, but he's been spending the past few days drinking at the bar. It's hard to say what happened to him.
As she heads outside to observe the tree again Akane wonders how its possible three people could have vanished so suddenly. Her mother also steps outside and she doesn't seem very surprised to see Akane there, and Akane insists they offer money as incentive to locate her dad. Her mom expresses concern hearing this, mentioning that money can't solve everything, nor does it always lead to happiness. Seeing how confused Akane is, she brings up the old coin bank she had planned on throwing away, revealing she grabbed it from the trash and kept it. Akane disregards this by saying that the money has made them happier, and they can afford anything they want so they should just enjoy that. She turns her back to her mother, who helplessly stares at her and realizes she has become blinded by their newfound wealth.
After hearing no response from her mom, Akane turns around and to her alarm, she sees she is now missing. She rushes around the yard in search of her, and hearing nothing but the rustling of the scenery around her, the terrified Akane runs inside after gathering all of the money she can find. She calls the police to inform them of what happened and it's officially announced that four people are missing.
Despite everything she did her parents couldn't be found. As a result, Akane's overly eager relatives suddenly show up saying she can't live alone in such times; although she manages to determine fairly quickly that they could care less about her and are only there to get their hands on the money.
As they admire the wealthy home Akane sadly steps outside and observes the tree while wondering why her parents would vanish when they had everything. She sees several dollar bills on the ground, along with a big lump she doesn't recognize, and she grabs a nearby shovel to dig at the spot and discover the old bank her mom was holding when they last spoke. Akane picks it up and notices how much heavier it is since the last tim she held it, and she realizes that her mom must have been saving little by little and putting it inside for the family. As she remembers the day she got it as a present some years back, Akane begins to cry and begs for their return. Recalling her mothers words about happiness, she declares that if her parents won't be around anymore then she doesn't want the money. She makes a desperate wish to see them again, unaware that the money tree appears to have listened to her.
Suddenly, the ground beneath Akane shifts and caves in, and roots tangle around her leg to keep her still. Akane is horrified as she looks up to the tree to see its now twisted expression, and she is swallowed by the ground, desperately clawing and trying to pull herself to freedom. As she recalls finding Julie's hair tie a while back, it ons on Akane that everyone who has gone missing is beneath the ground. The tree has been using them as nutrients to grow more money.
Akane cries out for help but her greedy relatives don't hear her, blinded by everything expensive in the home. Soon her mouth gets covered and soon she is entirely underground. Several dollar bills rain down from the tree.
After a few years, a new family has moved into the home for the time being. They are impressed by its large size and are concerned they cannot afford it very long due to having a low income. It's then their young son returns from the backyard with money and points out the large tree in the backyard after they ask where he got it. They follow him to discover the large money tree, unaware of the skeletal remains beneath the dirt from everyone it has taken nutrients from, tangled within its roots.
Dressed up and on a luxurious chair, Yomi explains how Akane ended up losing everything as a ghost fans her. As long as greedy people will remain, so will the tree. She then picks up a small pot where a money tree resides and asks if the Reader would like to try cultivating it as well.
- When Akane first counted her money, she has 1210 yen. This is equal to about 15 dollars.