It seems as though I might have misnamed last weeks title because this is definitely more the storm. And not just a storm, but more like the child of a hurricane and a tornado. I think it would be fair to say that this episode was the one of the saddest in the series so far, even rivaling episode 11 from season one, when Rei finally had his outburst.
The episode opens from where episode three ended, with Hina reluctantly entering her own home, worn down and ready to give up. As soon as Akari realizes what’s going, she rushes over to comfort Hina as she breaks down into tears. Rei, meanwhile, stands behind them, feeling both anger and powerlessness, as there is nothing he can do. Rei starts explaining that Hina was being bullied.
The episode goes into further details about the events that lead to Hina being bullied. It started with the groups in Hina’s grade being switched, which lead to Hina’s friend Chiho being mostly alone. A group of girls started bullying her. It continued, and the treatment Chiho got only worsened each day. Eventually, it got so bad that Chiho stopped coming to school, and Hina later found out that Chiho was moving. This hit Hina hard, and there wasn’t a lot she could do about it except say a final goodbye while crying into her friends.
One day while Hina and her class were in P.E., the teacher asked where Chiho was. The group who bullied her told the teacher Chiho’s situation, and then one of the girls whispered over to another “I wonder what could have happened” in a sarcastic tone. At that moment, something in Hina snapped. All of the pain of losing her childhood friend because of some middle school bullies unloaded, and she tackled the girl who had made the sarcastic comment.
Of course, these actions didn’t come without repercussion. Just as her other classmates had warned her, the girls started coming after, throwing her shoes in the toilet. This is where we come back to the scene at the beginning, with her walking home slowly.
After trying to pretend that she’s ok, Hina runs out of the house, and Rei responds by following after her. Rei follows Hina down to the river, where she had gone the last time Rei had followed Hina on her late mother’s birthday. Hina trips while running alongside the river and Rei finally catches up. The two find a bench so Hina can sit and cry, and while sitting beside the river, Rei explains just how much Hina has done for him, and that he’ll be there for her no matter what.
In the second part of the episode, Rei decides to take Hina to the library in an attempt to cheer her up. Rei gets Hina some books on sweets while he looks for information on a specific type of ladybug. It seems, at least for a bit, that his plan is working. She becomes curious as to what he is researching. Rei explains that he was looking for a certain type of ladybug, to which Hina points out the Japanese name is the Heavenly Star Insect. The two end up in the park while the sun is setting, and Hina sees a Ladybug launch from her hand, she realizes why its name is what it is. Hina starts crying again and the episode’s second part ends.
The third part starts with Rei feeling an intense emotional pain. He feels both anger and sadness because he wants to help Hina, but he can’t find the right words. He is stuck with a middle school girl crying and holding onto his arm, but he can’t do anything for her.
After contemplating what he could do to help Hina, the episode cuts to them heading home for dinner, where Hina’s grandpa is waiting. Before they all start eating, Hina’s Grandpa sits and explains he knows what’s happened and that he thinks she did the right thing. He parades her with compliments about how she is brave and that not many people would have done what she did. Hina is silent until he finishes speaking, barely getting out a thank you through her tears. The five of them sit around the table and enjoy dinner together, with Rei still feeling a lot of regret about not being able to help Hina.
I think my feelings about this episode can be perfectly summed up by something Rei said during the episode:
My emotions were definitely running high during this episode, and they were not good feelings. I think I want to conclude this week a little differently. If any of you are feeling depressed or just generally not good about life, talk to someone about it. No one should have to deal with bullying and suicidal thoughts alone, and taking your life is not the answer. You have so much to live for. I mean, think about all the anime you’ll be missing. If it helps to talk to a total to someone you don’t know, I would be willing to listen as well. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please be well. Bye for now, Friendos!