Sorry this one is a little late, I’ve been a little lazy the past couple of days.
I said in the reaction for the last episode that March Comes in Like a Lion did a great job at handling their ongoing motif through Rei and Akari’s conversation on the bridge. It showed that 1) the writing for this show is high tier, and 2) that Rei was not feeling himself, and that it was obvious he was not feeling himself because of the way Akari phrased her concern by saying that he didn’t seem fluffy.
This week focused a bit more intimately on Hina’s relationship with Rei and Takahashi, as well as the growing extent of her bullying at school. The show opens with what is probably in the running for top 5 cutest Momo moments of the whole show, where she goes crazy for the cherries that Rei brought over for dessert.
After dinner is done, Rei offers to teach Hina more about shogi, but Akari kicks them both upstairs because she needs to give Momo a bath. The two sit down in front of the Shogi board and Rei plays Hina with a handicap. Even with the handicap, though, Rei continuously beating her over and over. Here we see just how worried Rei is about Hina, where he feels bad that Hina has to console him because he’s freaking out that he keeps winning. It shows that the trouble Hina is going through has very rarely left his mind.
It is here where Rei asks Hina to talk about what’s going on at her school, and what her situation is like. Rei tries to comfort her by telling Hina that she only has to tell him bit by bit if she wants. Hina then proceeds to talk about the class and her being bullied.
She starts by explaining that every day at lunch, most of the people at her table are quiet. Because everyone is quiet, she has no one else to talk to. It’s during lunch where the girls who bullied her friend Chiho sit and laugh, and that in their class it feels like there is a hierarchical structure that dictates who gets to laugh the loudest.
One of the most interesting things that this episode does is continue the use of March’s most prominent visual metaphors: water. Water, at least in this case, is most likely a metaphor for the repressive social structure that exists within the class, as she describes her situation as “drowning in the girls’ laughter.” And the use of water as a visual metaphor for Hina’s situation actually makes a lot of sense. We’ve seen it used many times as a way to describe the situations that Rei has been through, like when Rei was narrating his connection to shogi from his past, he described it as being lost at sea with a shogi board. In both cases, water serves as a symbol of oppressive force.
The episode continues, going into the second half, and focuses more on Hina than Rei. We see Hina at the beginning having caught up with Takahashi, her crush, and captain of the middle school baseball team. Takahashi invites her outside to play baseball during lunch. Of course, she accepts, because, ya know, what else is she going to do when no one will talk to her. While the two are playing, Takahashi talks about Rei coming over to play shogi, to which Hina smiles and the two continue to play.
We cut over to a two-minute scene where Rei is getting excited over his recent victory in the shogi hall. He is mainly excited because he is now one win away from the semi-finals of an important tournament. He sits by one of the benches in the park and calculates how much money he is going to make in these tournaments when he quickly notices the charm that Hina gave him, which reminds us as to why he is trying to win money in the first place. I’ve already explained why I think this attitude is problematic in a different post, which you can check out here.
The show cuts back to the next day when Hina find that her desk has been written on, telling her to stop liking guys and that she’s a moron. She quickly wipes it off, likely hoping no one notices but knows deep down that everyone already knows. That day, when Takahashi comes to get her for baseball, she invites the bullies along with her and then gives them the proper middle finger by almost hitting them with what was likely his strongest fastball.
The show then cuts back to Hina talking about all this with Rei as they play more Shogi in her room. Hina is justifiably angry, and thanks Rei for being there to listen. She explains that Rei has asked her so many times what she wants to do about the bullying and that she hasn’t figured out herself.
Here is where we also get another great visual metaphor involving water, where the sink outside of her classroom is running and is slowly drowning the entire hallway while Hina does nothing. Again, we see water hear symbolizing the oppressive social hierarchy of her class because she wants to do something, but if she does she’ll only make the situation worse.
The episode ends with a back an forth of Rei heading determinately to class and Hina heading silently to school. Here, Rei talks about how he thought that people could just run away from their problems, but as we have seen in this Arc with Chiho, that doesn’t work, and we end with the chalkboard in Hina’s classroom calling her a bitch. Based on the music and the scream of the bird that comes right after Hina sees the board, we know she has now been cemented as the outcast.
What did you guys think of this episode? Good? Bad? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!