Not really a surprise to those who read my review of season 1, but this show really does take its audience on an emotional roller coaster and this week, while objectively the episode was no better or worse than any other, this week it hit me hard. Partly this is because I’m in a fairly fragile emotional state anyway at the moment due to a bunch of things going on with my work, and partly it is because I kind of care deeply for Rei’s character at this point. Either way, I kind of ended up in tears after this episode. I did feel a bit better though so maybe it was exactly what I needed.
Basically this episode starts as benignly as humanly possible with Smith and Issa being complete idiots over a pair of large shoes at the shogi hall. It was kind of cute and more importantly it recapped previous events without actually making us watch them again, so that was kind of nice.
We transition to Rei and Nikaidou eating lunch together. Well, food is getting eaten but mostly what is happening is Nikaidou is verbally dissecting Rei’s character and motivations much to the amusement and bemusement of the others eating at the time. However, it does once again drive home the point that as much as Rei keeps reflecting on himself, he still doesn’t really understand what he really wants. The fact that Nikaidou can see straight through him is an endless source of embarrassment but Nikaidou is a needed character because as much as he annoys Rei, his insight is sometimes exactly what Rei needs to hear to change his line of thinking.
From there however we start rolling into a downward spiral emotionally. Again, benign introduction with Rei buying bread from a bakery the sisters have recommended and eating in a park before his match. And then… then he sees a bush. That bush triggers a memory from his childhood and before we know it we are deep inside Rei’s thoughts as he sees how all of those events, the choices he made, the choices thrust upon him, the misunderstandings, the confusion, have all shaped him into the person he is right now and pushed him onto the path he is now following. The problem is, and as we saw in episode 23 (first episode of the second season), Rei isn’t even sure it somewhere he wants to be. He plays Shogi but he can’t even answer a simple question of whether he likes it or not. And without Shogi he has no understanding of who he would be.
And then the magic of this show kicked in and I started thinking about the events that have led me to the events of the last four weeks at work and start wondering where I could have possibly gotten off this path so that I wouldn’t have had to go through that. And whether I actually wanted to avoid it at all or whether it was a needed thing to experience on the path to something else. And that’s more or less where I finally had the emotional released I’d needed for quite a number of weeks and had a good cry. That doesn’t fix anything but my head was much clearer after the fact.
As a final kick to the teeth we then have Rei visiting the sisters when Hina shows up in quite the state. Of course we’ll have to next week to find out what is happening there but it does not look good.
I love this story so much at this point. It doesn’t do things with fanfares and it isn’t going to take the world by storm, but for me this story is one I need to watch at this point. I need to see where Rei’s journey will take him.
Thanks for reading.
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