The bullying saga continues and there are no easy options here. Every step leads to further complications and Hina is caught in a very rough spot. However, once again March Comes in Like a Lion shows us it understands people very well. Hina’s friend fled from bullying and retreated into herself and now is receiving counselling elsewhere. She’s completely withdrawn from school and from everyone she used to know. Rei remarks in a voice over that he thought that if things got bad she could just leave as another advocate for a flight response. One that we see Rei himself has taken many times in his life. Whle he doesn’t always physically flee, he withdraws himself from situations and human connections.
Hina on the other hand… Hina is not just upset. She’s angry. She’s a fighter and one who continues to think of others even while trapped in a cycle of misery. However, just standing up doesn’t solve the issue anymore than running away from it will and it is fantastic for an anime (or any story) to point out that neither response really magically makes the problem disappear.
Episode 28 is a great episode for building on Rei and Hina’s relationship. We see Rei trying to be the older of the two and trying to be the helping hand for Hina but then struggling to understand how to help her sending himself into a downward spiral of self-doubt and loathing that Hina then rescues him from in true Hina fashion.
Rei may not realise it, but this is helping Hina. For a little while she has a problem in front of her she can solve and a person she can help. He might feel like he’s useless and making things worse, but I don’t think Hina is ever going to see it that way.
The one thing I have to wonder is whether the teacher will remain in denial, or worse, whether she’ll try to redirect the blame onto Hina. We’ve already seen that this particular anime teacher would rather stick her head in the sand rather than see the reality facing her students and has brushed aside complaints of bullying previously. Though with one student having fled the school entirely and another now being openly targeted you would have to wonder how much longer she can keep that up.
The other fun part of this episode is where Rei recruits Takahashi (baseball character seen previously) to help out. It actually further complicates the situation but it does give Hina one further companion so at least she knows she isn’t alone even in the school. We also see Rei preparing for and playing in various shogi competitions. It is nice that he is motivated for a change even if he is still a little misguided.
This episode continues to be visually wonderful to watch, emotionally powerful and the story and characters are just fantastic. No complaints at all about how season 2 of this show is progressing.
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