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If it feels like it has been a while since I have done one of these, it is because it has been. I explained in my last update post some of the reasons for that, so go read that if you like. However, I do not want to waste to much more of your time, so it is now onto the review.
Episode fourteen picks up right where the last one left off. After seemingly going into autopilot against his latest Shogi opponent, Rei is quickly snapped back into reality after Shimada corners him on the board. Cut to the opening, and here it goes again.
As Rei returns to reality, a few things begin to settle in his mind. First, Rei realizes just how egotistical it was of him to treat Shimada like just another player on his way to beating Gotou. Because of this, he feels immediately embarrassed, barely able to focus his attention on the board. Second, after Rei finally calms down, he looks at the board only to realize that his chances of winning are incredibly slim. Still, Rei understands that it would be childish to run away during the game, and so the two continue. This ultimately leads to Shimada taking the game.
What is likely the most devastating to Rei’s mentality is when the two talk about the game after the fact. Rei realizes when the two of them review different movement possibilities that his loss was inevitable from early on. Rei thanks Shimada for the game and rushes out.
Rei rushes home, running without stopping. Sweat drips down his face as he barrels away in confusion. The experience of losing in such an embarrassing way was to much for him. After he spent countless nights studying Gotou’s record while barely focus on an opponent who is so much stronger than him, it all came crashing down on him.
After the match, Rei sleeps, not simply to recover, but in a desperate hope to forget his loss and move on. However, it is not that simple. What he fails to do in the moment, and what he will later stubbornly admit to himself he must do, is learn from his failure. Another big component that made Rei’s loss so devastating is that he is not use to losing, because of his status of child prodigy.
Eventually, Rei realizes there is not point in sleeping anymore, and wakes up, only to discover he is dehydrated, only then to try and re-hydrate whilst realizing that hydrating to quickly makes it much harder to keep everything in. Eventually, Rei finds enough strength to return to his daily routine. As he regains his strength, Rei decides it best to go back to school, because of his large amount of absences due to Shogi.
He returns to school, goes to class, and eats lunch by himself, only to wonder if returning to school is even really worth it. Rei begins to cry, sitting alone by himself at the top of the stairs, but then Hayashida comes to talk to him, and then begins to console him.
An important note to make, Hayashida is undoubtedly one of the more important characters in the series, at least in terms of what he represents. Because Rei has never has been without a proper family for a while, Hayashida, like the Kawamotos, is part of his support system, and while it may not seem like it that often, Rei relies heavily him for advice, which is why he ultimately will follow Hayashida’s and join Shimada’s Shogi workshop later on.
As the episode ends, Shimada and Nikaidou have a brief conversation about why they cannot simply invite Rei to the workshop. Shimada explains that it is something that Rei has to figure out on his own. In other words, Shimada is underscoring that Rei’s desire for growth, both as a person and as a player, has to come from himself.
The episode as a whole serves as both a reminder of Rei’s failings but also as the beginning of his redemption arc. He will eventually come to understand what it is he did wrong, and learn from it as a result, something he is currently incapable of.
What do you all think of this episode? Let me know in the comments.
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