This was everything I could have wanted from a first match between these two characters. It wasn’t a major showdown but rather a peaceful and thought provoking game where Rei overcame both the mental hurdle of facing Souya and overcame the knowledge that he was going to lose after making a move he knew was wrong the moment he made it.
The game plays out quietly with only the commentary from the spectators (not in the same room) really providing any dialogue or sound outside of the pieces gently being placed upon the board. What I liked is that they showed us enough of the game to get as sense of the game but they didn’t drag this on overly long so viewers shouldn’t find themselves wanting things to move along. The pacing of this game just kind of hit the mark it needed to hit.
The second half of the episode then looks at the journey back to Tokyo which is broken in Sendai by the typhoon as the shinkansen (bullet train) is suspended. This is really where we get to see Rei and Souya interact and it is kind of surreal with the possibility that Souya can’t hear being raised. We also get to see Rei in a much different state of mind after losing a game then we’ve ever seen him before which is a testament to how far he has come mentally since the beginning of season 1.
It will be interesting to see if they continue with these two next week or if they will skip over it but I feel there is probably more coming between these two. While this was a much more low key episode in comparison to the emotional punches of Hina’s arc in the first half of this season, this feels like a very necessary part of the story and I’m really loving seeing Rei in this space. Looking forward to next week.
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