Hot Summer Martha (TV Drama)
The episode opens on a school of fish swimming in the sea, which is quickly revealed to be a scene from a virtual reality set. Rohan Kishibe is recalled out of the scene by two agents who have come to his house to advertise their VR set. One of the agents praises the sense of realism brought by the device and explains to him that his company have good hopes for the sales of their product. Furthermore, they expect that Rohan's full endorsement will boost the sales, given that he is a popular manga artist whose works reach across several generations. Rohan concedes that the video was indeed very realistic, which pleases the agent, but also criticizes that it doesn't offer the full experience. He notes that he was able to breathe and wouldn't be able to die even while looking at an underwater world. The agents candidly dismiss Rohan's criticism, and even suggest that he would be able to gather material from all over the world for his stories with the VR headset. This vexes Rohan, who angrily explains that he always seeks the real thing to bring realism into his stories, even the most bizarre ones, otherwise his readers would stop reading his works. Rohan then laments that even he cannot make proper research on death as it would prevent him from continuing his manga. The agents try to quickly leave, and the senior whispers that they will simply write a fake review and apologize to Rohan later for the "mistake". Rohan stops them, asking if they plan on deceiving his readership. Though the agents deny it, Rohan turns them into books with his ability, Heaven's Door. Rohan explains that his gift allows him to turn people into books, read their bios on the pages, and write on them if he wishes to imprint commands into their souls. Rohan reads the bio of the senior agent, seeing that he planned on exploiting Rohan and use a fake review, and thus commands him to use Rohan's review of the VR headset as is. Rohan looks at the junior agent and notes that he is a fan, and thus humourously writes an autograph on his forehead with a marker.
Six months later in July, Rohan is confined in his house in the middle of summer. Talking on the phone with his editor Kyoka Izumi, Rohan laments his inability to gather material outside for his stories and dismisses a suggestion to have online interviews because it would be hard for him to get a real feeling of the other person. At the same time, Rohan brings water to his little dog Bakin and accidentally spills some water which he quickly wipes away. Izumi misremembers the dog's name as "Dokin", prompting Rohan to angrily correct her. Izumi happily says that she didn't expect Rohan to get a dog and asks if he's received the box of treats for Bakin. Rohan quips that Bakin didn't like them, to which Izumi compliments the dog on his gourmet palate.
Izumi asks Rohan to switch to video calling and shows him a sketch of Hot Summer Martha, a new character Rohan plans on depicting in Pink Dark Boy. Izumi suggests that Rohan's design is problematic from a copyright standpoint and that he could be accused of plagiarism and thus suggests to change the design of the character. Rohan angrily answers that a design involving three circles is something that even the ancient Celts used. Still, Izumi insists because Hot Summer Martha black color and round ears make it too similar to a certain character. Rohan retorts that the big balls are its eyes.
Rohan is interrupted by a woman calling him from his frontyard. Coming to his window, Rohan salutes the woman, a fan smitten with him and who is elated to see him again. She shows him her pet snake and bearded dragon, to whom Rohan apparently gave autographs already. Trying to be as polite as he can, Rohan tells her not to trespass on his property and she leaves. Izumi asks what is going and Rohan explains that she followed him from the veterinarian's office. Izumi wants to have a word with the fan, suggesting to Rohan that he changes the locks and adds security cameras to his house. Rohan tries to refuse but he accidentally bumps on his desk and spills ink on one of his pages. Rohan loses it, exasperated by the mask he has to wear whenever he talks to somebody. Rohan regrets not being able to go outside and experience the world, and decides to stop his online meeting with Kyoka to take Bakin for a walk. In her office, Kyoka notes that Rohan has been acting strangely because of the stress, and remains determined to change Hot Summer Martha's design to avoid the cancellation of "Pink Dark Boy". She also orders new security devices for Rohan.
Outside, Rohan continues to depress about his stagnant life, feeling like he cannot move. At a crossroads, Bakin suddenly whines. Rohan realizes that Bakin is always restless when approaching a specific road. Curious, Rohan naturally heads that way. Rohan continues to walk in the heat haze, and suddenly finds himself in a shrine. Exploring the shrine, Rohan sees a sacred tree and goes down another road into a grove and discovers another tree with a similar aura to the sacred tree, but which has been sealed off. Rohan sees a hole in the trunk in which stands a small shrine with a mirror. Getting excited, Rohan opens the barrier and enters the hole to examine the shrine and its mirror up close. He suddenly blacks out for a moment and regains his consciousness. Feeling strange, he decides to hold his research and come back tomorrow.
When he returns home, Rohan hears his phone ring repeatedly and sees dozens of unanswered messages. The latest is from Izumi announcing him that Hot Summer Martha has had great reviews and that she will come tomorrow to pick up the manuscript, which puzzles Rohan. He notes the many torn up toys on the floor and wonders if Bakin has started his teething. However, when Rohan picks up his manuscript already neatly stored in an envelope, he sees something deeply wrong with it. He immediately calls Izumi. She happily announces the great sales of the latest issue of Pink Dark Boy but Rohan yells at her, asking how his manuscript can already be finished. Moreover, Rohan is furious to see that the design of Hot Summer Martha has been altered to four spheres. Izumi doesn't understand Rohan's anger and tells him that he was informed of and approved the design change, and that the comic layout was done two weeks ago. Speechless, Rohan then hears someone giggling in the second floor. He goes to his bedroom and is shocked to discover the woman from earlier naked, in his bed. Taking a baseball bat, Rohan demands to know what she is doing in his house but the woman doesn't listen to him, asking jokingly about who will play the pitcher this time. Flabbergasted, Rohan sees on the calendar that it's October already. Going back to his office, Rohan examines the work accomplished in front of him and guesses that someone else must have done it. When the woman happily comes to his office, he turns her into a book to read her bio. He sees that the woman, named "Eve", really lived a romance with him all autumn and that three months have passed without him realizing it.
Rushing back to the shrine, Rohan meets two priests sweeping the area and who tell him that the shrine is closed. Rohan insists on going to the back area with the sealed tree and walks past the priest, but they suddenly appear in front of him to bar the way. Rohan wants to know more about the tree in the back area, making the priest realize that it was him who messed with the tree and that "it" was "his". They note that "he" looked strange as he was leaving the shrine grounds three months ago and that they should have realized it was the "Yabubako-Hoshi". Confused, Rohan demands to know what is going on.
The priests bring Rohan to the tree. They explain that it is 800 years old and that the shrine is 500 years old. The priests explain that when Rohan examined the mirror on the ground and that his got reflected in it, he was replaced by the Yabubako-Hoshi. The Yabubako-Hoshi then lived as him for three complete lunar phases before returning to the tree and returning Rohan to the world. Rohan refuses to believe three months could have passed in the blink of an eye for him and that the Yabubako-Hoshi could have so perfectly impersonated him, but the priests dismiss the idea of time always flowing like humans perceive it and also explain that the Yabubako-Hoshi "is" Rohan, only a "dark reflection" of him who lived without any inhibitions. In fact, it was to avoid situations like Rohan's that the entrance was sealed. Rohan realizes that he trespassed on sacred ground and apologizes, but still wishes for things to go back to normal. The priests state it is impossible to turn back time and even try to assure Rohan that the Yabubako-Hoshi may have relieved some stress for Rohan by living his life without moral constraints. However, Rohan cannot tolerate the altered design of Hot Summer Martha and wants to cancel it at any cost.
The priests ask how did Rohan find the shrine and he answers that he found it by taking the curved path at the intersection. The priests explain that crossroads are dangerous because crossroads can take you out of the normal world and that four-ways crossroads are especially dangerous. They nonetheless help Rohan by telling him to turn the mirror to the left 360° three times without him getting reflecting on it in order to undo the Yabubako-Hoshi's misdeeds. They let Rohan through the back entrance of the shrine and Rohan turns the mirror. Meanwhile, Kyoka prepares to bring Rohan a figure of Hot Summer Martha.
It is now night and Rohan gets out of the tree and returns back home. For her part Izumi has arrived at Rohan's house and tries to open the door; she discovers that it is locked and remembers that it is because she has had the locks changed. Izumi unlocks the door and puts the Hot Summer Martha on Rohan's desk, admiring it before noting that something feels wrong. Indeed, Eve is watching Izumi from above. Rohan arrives at his door and notes that a security camera is installed. When he enters he discovers that something has bitten off the head of Eve's snake. He hears a large dog barking and opens the door to his hallway, and sees with horror a large Bakin barking and growling at him. Thankfully, Rohan manages to stop it by ordering him to calm down and the dog whines momentarily in fear of his collar. Rohan closes the door before Bakin can reach him. He realizes that he's failed to undo Yabubako-Hoshi's misdeeds and sees on the phone that it is now January. Rohan understands that he got reflection on a small pot in front of the shrine and that the reflection got caught in the mirror, allowing Yabubako-Hoshi to replace him again.
In his office, Rohan discovers the altered Hot Summer Martha's figure with consternation. He also watch footage of the security cameras and sees the Yabubako-Hoshi fooling around with Eve. Rohan hears gasping and discovers Izumi agonizing on the floor in one of the corners of his office. Eve sneaks up on him and pricks him with a needle. Asking who that woman is and pointing out how overly familiar she is with the place, Eve angrily asks if Izumi could be a mistress. Already weakening from the drug in the needle, Rohan tells Eve to call an ambulance but she refuses because she doesn't want to be a single mother. Indeed, Eve is heavily pregnant. Rohan collapses on the floor as Eve declares that she will live happily with Rohan forever and that it will only take three five minutes for Izumi to die from the poison she's used. Eve grabs Rohan's phone and tosses it away, then wonders what they can do in the meantime. Sitting on Rohan, Eve reveals that she knows about Rohan's power and knows not to get too close to him, exclaiming that it isn't fair that only he gets to read people. Rohan begs Eve to spare Izumi but Eve plans on letting her die so that they'll be accomplice together in her murder and be linked for life. Rohan decides to turn part of himself into a book, tempting Eve to take a peek at his bio and check whether he truly and only loves her. Eve cannot resist and approaches, allowing Rohan to use Heaven's Door on her. Rohan thus commands Eve to go to the shrine and turn the mirror for him, which undoes all of Yabubako-Hoshi's misdeeds and their consequences. As a safety measure, she also writes on Eve that she won't commit any crime.
Rohan finds himself in his desk reflecting on the fact that Yabubako-Hoshi is his dark side. Izumi wakes up healthy, having no recollection of what happened. Remembering that she has to deliver more manuscripts, Izumi quickly leaves. On her way, she greets Bakin who's now a fully grown and gentle dog. After she leaves, Rohan notices that the Hot Summer Martha hasn't changed, meaning the Yabubako-Hoshi had nothing to do with the design change as he expected. He thus curses Izumi.
Later, a group of boys read the later volume of Pink Dark Boy and wonders at the new enemy Hot Summer Martha. Near them, a boy angrily closes his fist.