Category Archives: Episode Reactions

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 Episode 9 Reaction: The Courage to Move Forward

If it wasn’t apparent last in any of the previous episodes, which it really should have been, the bullying that Hina is going through has been weighing on her, pushing her down to the floor and making her feel like garbage. Her half-maintained stoicism becomes less convincing by the second, and it leaves a bitter feeling inside every time I watch it. But it isn’t hopeless. In this episode, we saw courage from both Rei and Hina as they face their problems in their own separate ways.

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Rei, with Nikaidou on his mind, goes to fight in the last match of the Newcomer’s tournament. As we watch his match with Junkei, the other finalist, we see Rei’s anger and hatred come out in how he describes his opponents more passive playstyle, as a creature lurking in the shadows.

This is the case because it is the same playstyle that Junkei used against Nikaidou in the match where he fell ill. Much of that anger gets channeled into the match against him, in what feels a lot like revenge. However, as the match goes on and Rei gets more and more worked up, he remembers that Nikaidou would much rather see him win then get angry and lose for no reason.

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Rei also realizes during the match that he has been acting fairly selfish up to this point, giving into what he thinks should be done as opposed to caring for the people around him. After thinking about both Nikaidou and Hina one last time, he goes on to win the match in what seems like a fairly easy manner.

The second half of the episode consists of a sort of reflection for Rei, and at the very end, a step forward. After finishing the match and talking to another player from the association about Shimada, Rei remembers that the day before Hina’s trip Hina said that her stomach wasn’t feeling good. Rei takes some medicine from the player he talked to and rushes to find Hina in Osaka.

The fact that Rei remembered where she would be at that time of the day on the schedule after having only seen it once is a real testament to how, despite the lackluster way he has been going about it, Rei does want to help Hina.

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With a spring in his step, Rei rushes from train to train to get to Osaka and gets to the place it said on the schedule. He looks around for a while but can’t seem to find her. Seeing a couple of girls from her school triggers a hard realization for Rei: that Hina wouldn’t be with her class because her class hates her.

He quickly rushes down to the river, a spot he knows she likes and a spot where she can be alone, spots her almost instantly. Upon seeing Rei, Hina becomes confused not sure what to do except release all of the negative emotions she has in the form of tears.

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It was one of the most satisfying emotional payoffs in the show yet.


A painful and yet simultaneously beautiful episode. What did you guys think? Did it break your heart? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for Reading and bye for now, Friendos!

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 Episode 8: A Tale of Two Tragedies

This week took a break from the ongoing tragedy that is Hina’s middle school experience to look a character who has, up until this point, gone largely without explanation, other than that he is Rei’s Shogi Rival.

The first half does deal briefly with Hina, as it opens on Rei’s homeroom teacher exploding in anger about what Hina’s teacher said to her.

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This time, it is Rei who actively has to restrain him, because the situation has gotten to the point to where even Mr. Hayashida is ready to rush into the situation without thinking, the exact thing he warned Rei not to do just a few episode earlier. It also shows Rei looking to Mr. Hayashida both for emotional support and for guidance, as he has at previous points in the show.

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I have talked previously on these episode reactions about my ongoing frustration with Rei’s character and being so idiotic in his approach to helping Hina, thinking that if he wins enough money that it will somehow help the family and Hina in dealing with their problems. Thankfully Mr. Hayashida shut that idea down fairly quickly, in what was likely the most satisfying scene in the whole episode.

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We also learn about the status of the Kawamoto’s father, and that he ran away with another woman, leaving the sisters to fend for themselves. And, like any sane human being, Mr. Hayashida got even more pissed, turning into a monster ready to tear down anything in its path. In all seriousness though, it almost felt like someone writing loser on your forehead after being hit by a truck. The sisters have already been through so much, so its hard for that to even register.

Mr. Hayashida tells Rei that the best way to deal with his problems is by dealing with them one step at a time. The first half of the episode finishes with Rei winning his semi-final match at the newcomer’s tournament and contemplating Mr. Hayashida’s advice. There is also an appropriately placed sign that says “remaining calm is the way forward.” As Rei walks out of the building thinking about Nikaidou not being in the finals with him, he overhears Shimada and Jinguuji talking about Nikaidou and him being in the hospital.

The second half begins with Rei asking about Nikaidou’s condition and Shimada blowing him off, to which Rei quickly catches up with them as they walk out the door. Rei instead about Nikaidou life prior to the two having met. Shimada then tells him about Nikaidou over dinner.

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Shimada remembers the first time having met Nikaidou at a kids Shogi tournament. His first impression of him was not a pleasant one, but rather Shimada remembers him as a spoiled brat, jealous of his wealth because he grew up in a childhood filled with poverty. Shimada was a guest speaker there, so he simply made assertions about why Nikkaidou played shogi without giving it much thought, assuming that he would give it up after losing.

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Shimada quickly learns, however, that his assumptions were all wrong, and that Nikaidou played Shogi because it was one of the only things he could do. His illness made it so that he could not do the things that other kids could. He was weak and helpless, which is why he had to have special lunches. Shimada realizes as soon as he saw the score sheets for Nikaidou’s matches that he was more than just some rich kid.

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Shimada also recalls a time where brought books from their master and he decided to play Nikaidou in Shogi. He learned after one match that Nikaidou did not like it when he was let win. This came as a surprise to Shimada, but Nikaidou explained that if people could not take him seriously in Shogi, then there he was nothing but a weakling.

It was quite a surprise seeing this stark contrast between the Nikaidou we know as the big round goofball and the one who has had his whole life dominated by illness. It does not seem like they are even the same person.

The episode ends with Kiriyama wiping away his tears, and defiantly vowing to win the Newcomer’s tournament, presumably for Nikaidou.


This episode was indeed a powerful one, and also rather unexpected coming from someone who has not read the Manga. What do you guys think? Did you like the episode? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 Episode 7: A Return to Form and Renewed Passion

For the first time in this show, we’ve actually been introduced two characters worth hating in one episode. Well, technically the teacher was introduced a couple of episodes ago, but we didn’t really see the extent to which she is worth hating until this episode came out.

The show opens innocently enough on Hina lying on the ground of her living room with a nosebleed. Rei walks in with some fresh peaches, and Hina gets embarrassed by her nose bleed and asks Akari for a towel. Rei tries to cheer her up by telling her that everyone gets them, and then hilariously undermines his point by saying that he has never had one.

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#notfun
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Rei thinking about all the nosebleeds he’ll never have.

Hina thanks, Rei, presumably for all the time that Rei has spent with her, talking about what has been going on at school, but also for making her feel like she can be herself, and that she doesn’t need to be ashamed of who she is. Rei responds, noticeably happier with “sure.”

Rei and Akari head to the store for a sale and leave Hina in the house to let her nose bleed heal up. While walking over a bridge to get to the store, Akari tells Rei about Hina’s trouble at school with her teacher. Hina’s teacher is one of those characters worth hating because she is quite possibly one of the worst teachers I have ever seen.

As you might remember from last week, when her teacher walked in and saw what had been written on the board, she asks Hina, “What is the meaning of this?” and implicitly blames her for writing negative things about herself on the board. If you think that’s bad, just wait.

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What kind of teacher victim blames like this?

When the teacher and Hina are talking after school, she asks Hina “why can’t you get along with everyone else?” After that, when Hina accurately points out that this blatant bullying has been going on for quite a while, and is the reason that Chiho left, she says “don’t raise your voice at me,” as if to shut out all conversation about the matter.

You can really tell from a conversation like this just how bad of an educator she is. A large part of a teachers job is being in tune with what your students are going through, and if she isn’t even paying enough attention to realize that Hina isn’t the problem, then she really doesn’t need to be a teacher.

After hearing that from her teacher, Akari explains how angry and upset Hina was, with Hina silhouette surrounded by a sea of red, properly conveying those feelings of anger and sadness to the audience. Akari then starts to worry about what would happen if she had to go to a parent-teacher conference, wondering who exactly she should get to go with Hina. Meanwhile, Rei stands watching her go through this nervous, presumably feeling jealous because the next thing he does is scream “Me Too!” from the top of his lungs.

In this moment, when he uncharacteristically screams from the top of his lungs, we learn a lot about Rei’s current mindset. Rei wants to be someone that the Kawamoto sisters, and especially Hina, can rely on for help, so when Akari lists off names of family members and doesn’t include him he feels attacked.

The episode’s first half ends with another important admission. After talking with Nikkaido on the phone about the newcomer’s tournament, Rei opens up the door of his apartment and thinks about Hina, but also about himself. Of course, He cares about Hina and wants her to be happy, but his reasons are also a bit more selfish. The last line of the first episode is “I:

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This one line reveals just how much Rei is still dealing with himself, almost as if he’s using Hina’s problems as an excuse to not deal with his own.

With Rei waking up to a brand new day and the beginning of the second half, we see Rei headed to play his semi-final match in the newcomer’s tournament. On the way to his match, we see that Rei is not only ready to play his match, but that for the first time in his Shogi career, he actively wants to win. In this match, Rei isn’t just playing because he’s good at it, but instead because he see’s winning as both a way to help Hina and also as a prize in and of itself.

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His opponent and the main focus of the episode is a man named Subaru Hachiya, an up-and-comer in the Shogi scene who is infamously known as “The Irritated Prince of the East.” Why? Because throughout his matches he likes to make clicks with his mouth, tap his finger, shake his legs, and be an overall distraction. In this regard, he is a polar opposite of Rei, who enjoys the quiet atmosphere that usually comes with a Shogi match

After a long and grueling match for Rei, he takes the win and cements himself as a finalist of the tournament. His friends from the association, however, are a bit annoyed. Sakutarou and Tatsuyuki both blame him for making Hachiya to his annoying ticks more loudly, using the metaphor of a buzzing bee. Sakutarou tells Rei that the two are very alike, and feeling personally attacked Rei tries to rebut with a “how?” to which the two reply while cutting him off:

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called out!

The episode then ends with Rei having to hang out with Hachiya because he wanted to apologize.


What did you guys think of this episode? Are Rei and Hachiya both huge narcissists? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 Episode 6: Extended Metaphors are Really Powerful

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.

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Akari is concerned

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.

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OMG Momo!

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.

 

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Rei is very cautious while in Hina’s room

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.

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The invisible hierarchy

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.

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Rei being a real stand up guy

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.

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Karma!

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.

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The End of Hina’s happiness

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 Episode 5 Reaction: Rei’s Misguided Redemption and Akari’s Hesitation

It’s fairly obvious to anyone who’s seen season one of March Comes in Like a Lion that this show knows how to handle mature topics. In fact, using the word handle might be underselling the show’s complex and terrifyingly human tendencies. This episode, continuing with the show’s bullying arc centered around Hina, show’s two very different reactions to bullying.

The first half of the episode focuses Rei talking to his homeroom teacher Takashi about Hina’s situation. Rei eagerly takes notes on the advice his teacher gives him. Takashi gives one key point of advice to Rei, being that he should only get involved as much as the victim, in this case, Hina wants. Getting too involved, he explains, will isolate her from her friend groups and only exacerbate the problem.

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After their discussion, Rei accidentally drops some papers detailing the money he could win from various tournaments. He then explains to Takashi that he owes Hina a debt, and in multiple scenes throughout the episode, he says that he must repay his debt win money. This is probably one of two times I can say that I have disliked Rei as a character because I think this idea is fundamentally wrongheaded.

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Rei believes that he owes a debt to Hina “as a human being” because Hina is his “savior.” Now, there’s nothing wrong with feeling like you owe someone something because they helped you in a huge way, but the idea that debt can be repaid by attaching a dollar sign to it is wrong. A human debt, as a described it, should be repaid by legitimately caring for that person. It also flies right in the face of the advice that Takashi was giving him for 10 minutes of the episode, rendering those 10 minutes irrelevant.

We see Rei in the second half continuing with his plan to help Hina by trying his hardest to win and vowing to not lose, to which afterward he loses immediately. He tells Nikkaido to help him train and they play at his house.

After this scene, Rei gets a text from Akari, presumably about helping her with groceries, as we see the two walking home with an abundance of food. In what is probably one of the most impactful scenes in the show, Akari sees that Rei is struggling to carry the box of onions and potatoes and asks if he needs any help. Rei responds with “I’ve got it. I’m a man after all.” Akari then says under her breath “Rei doesn’t seem to be getting fluffy at all.”

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This scene imparticular portrays so much detail in just these two lines. Now, if it were a mediocre shonen action series and a character said “I’ve got it. I’m a man after all,” then nobody would blink an eye. But here, in a show as complex and nuanced as March is, it comes off as noticeably different from his usual personality, which might have even criticized someone else for saying that. Rei says this because he likely believes in that moment that he is indirectly helping Hina by literally taking a weight off of Akari’s shoulders.

Akari’s response also holds a lot of meaning, specifically as a response to Rei’s change in character. For those who haven’t been paying attention to details in this show, Rei, both in personality and in appearance, has been described as “fluffy” by multiple characters in the show, especially by Momo. In this case, Akari saying that “Rei doesn’t seem to be getting fluffy at all” is a testament to how noticeably different he is in personality compared to the beginning of the show.

The two get back to Akari’s house and begin to clean the vegetables. Akari, alone in the kitchen with Rei, wears her heart on her sleeve and starts speaking aloud, not directly to Rei, about how she feels guilty that she can’t do more for Hina.

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In her own words, she feels like she hesitated, and that if she had said something more concrete like her grandfather that Hina would be feeling a lot better. Rei tells her that she shouldn’t be sad and that it is normal to feel lost in a situation like that. He also explains his feelings that Hina is a savior to her, and that Akari is in many ways an indirect savior as well.

The episode ends with Hina, Momo and their grandfather returning from the amusement park and eating curry together. Hina gives Rei a charm she won that she thinks looks like him, to which he says “I’m touched.”


I would say I’m touched as well, but how about you guys? What did you think of this episode? Are you enjoying season two? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for Reading, and bye for now, Friendos!

Cowboy Bebop Episode 1 Reaction: Conquering the Classics

While anime may be one of my favorite pastimes, I have yet to properly the explore the medium’s history to any significant degree. Sure, I’ve seen Akira, but that’s about as far as my jump back through time goes. Honestly, it kind of makes me feel like I am missing out on a lot, so I have been trying to rectify that little by little, and this marks one of my biggest steps so far: Cowboy Bebop.

Bebop that exists in a lot of people’s mind as the pinnacle of anime, and I can now definitely see why. The first episode was a well-paced thrill ride that got me invested right from the beginning with a scene from Spikes past that will likely be addressed later.

After listening to/seeing one of the best anime openings of all time, and yes you can quote me on that, we are introduced to life on the Bebop with Spike and Jet. You can tell immediately based on the roughed up look of the ship and by the fact that Jet cooks Bell Peppers and Beef with no beef that they are flatly broke. The two work as bounty hunters, finding targets and collecting the money afterward.

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The first episode has them going after Asimov Solensan, a man who works selling a dangerous drug called bloody-eye which heightens a person’s senses. The drug is exceptionally hard to make and is worth millions of dollars. While searching for the man, Spike runs into his girlfriend Katerina, and she explains that she wants to get to Mars in order to find a good life. Spike explains that he was born on Mars, and also tells her that its only good if you’re rich. The conversation establishes that she isn’t really the bad guy in all of this and that Asimov is actually kind of insane, as evidenced by the fact that he tries to choke out Spike.

The three of them meet again when Spike reveals that he stole a vile of bloody eye when they last met. Asimov and Spike for a bit before the police show up, to which Asimov responds by running away with Katerina. Spike chases the two in his ship, following them to exit of the planet. Katerina realizes that Asimov has become insane and that she likely isn’t ever going to get to Mars, so she proceeds to Asimov in the head. a barrage of bullets gets fired at their ship from a blockade in front of them, destroying the ship and leaving Katerina to fall to her death.

As far as a first episode goes, I was impressed. The shows animation holds up very well, even compared to shows that are coming out now in the age of digital animation. This even more impressive when you realize that Cowboy Bebop was one of the last anime to use Cell animation, as in totally hand-drawn frames.

The music is another one of the show’s high points, and boy did it deliver. Yoko Kanno not only manages to bring a diversity to the sound and tone of her composition but also manages to make each of her songs sound incredibly good on their own. Tank, the show’s opening theme, is a prime example of this. Its fast pace jazz sound gives the feeling that the show you are about to watch is anything but calm. This has truly been an amazing beginning to a journey back in time, and I can’t wait to finish the rest of it.


What do you guys think of Cowboy Bebop? Love it? Hate it? Overrated? Underappreciated? Let me know in the comments. By for now, Friendos!

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 Episode 4: Hina’s Resolution

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

 

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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 jackscheibelein@gmail.com


Please be well. Bye for now, Friendos!

 

The Ancient Magus Bride Episode 4 Reaction: Lots and Lots of Cats(and Sorcerers)

If you’re wondering why I’ve started with episode four when it comes to reactions to The Ancient Magus Bride, then I have two reasons. 1) I’ve been busy with school still, and 2) I have already detailed my thoughts on the shows initial episodes in an older post, which you can read here. With that Out of the way, here’s my reaction.

As someone who hasn’t read the manga in any capacity, I have gone into to this series completely blind, so I definitely was not expecting episode four. The show picks up from where episode three ended, with Chise having passed out after a ride with one of the elder dragons. She wakes up on Elias’ lap and sees that they’re on a train, where she meets a talking cat and discovers what their next mission is. Already I was both taken by surprised and extremely intrigued, and this was only the first three or four minutes of the episode.

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The group finds themselves in a village Ulthar, a small village which is known as the Cat Kingdom. This is because even though humans live there, a huge population of cats is concentrated in the area. Elias and Chise meet with the King of the Cat Kingdom, Molly, who asks for there help with a particular task: getting rid of an evil.

Molly tells Chise the story of a couple that lived in the village long before she had been alive. The husband of that couple was a maniac who would kill cats and go on a rampage. This is when the cats decided to come together and fight back. This addition to the lore of Ancient Magus Bride was an interesting but also fun one. The show opens with what a cute and funny set of new furry characters, but as we learn is much more serious. A lot of this seriousness comes from learning more about the differences between a sorcerer and a mage.

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The middle part of the episode shows Chise with the Molly and the other cats looking at the problem that the cats created when they decided to kill the cat murdering maniac named Matthew. Out of nowhere a mysterious woman comes and drops Chise in the water before leaving, attempting to drown her.

At the end of the episode, we get an even clearer picture of who the sorcerers are, when they appear while Chise is attempting to rid the village of Matthew and his wife. The sorcerers tell Chise that Elias is only using her as a toy and that she will die soon.

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Overall, this was a good episode. It is established that the two sorcerers we meet are people that Elias knows from somewhere before, and are likely to be the series’ main villains. It also seems as though the original doubts that Chise had about Elias are likely to resurface, and it doesn’t seem like Chise is the type of person now who would take her questions being brushed off. Next episode will likely be a revealing one.

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 Episode 3 Reaction: The Calm and Then the Storm

This episode was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least. It started off lighthearted in the first half, with Nikaido and Rei joking around, and then quickly did a 180 in tone in the second half.

The first half shows both Rei and Nikaido in the Newcomers Tournament, where Nikaido is so confident in his Shogi ability that he starts talking about not only winning the tournament, but then going on a tangent about getting on a famous TV show, and even narrates his own narration. Rei quickly calls out his BS, and then possibly one of the most savage dudes in the history of anime, who is sitting and eating lunch with them at the time, turns over to Nikaido and says:

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It was hilarious and provided a great punch line to the continuous joke that is Rei’s best friend.

After this goes down though, Nikaido starts talking about how Rei is always so quiet because he assumes he’s going to win and that he doesn’t have to take anything seriously. Rei initially refutes this point, calling it ridiculous, but after thinking about it for a bit, Rei realizes that a lot of people in his Shogi community view him like that. Rei, of course, responds by retreating from the room to throw out his lunch in embarrassment.

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The second half of the episode takes a complete tonal shift, focusing on Rei before his next match in Newcomers Tournament where he recalls part of his childhood after seeing a particular bush behind a bench he was sitting on. He thinks back to how most of his time in elementary school involved him getting bullied, which only made him want to be more of an introvert.

It also didn’t help that it seems as though even his stepmom started to become annoyed with him, and, as was established in the first season, his brother and sister resent him as well. Rei could only ever drown out his problems by playing Shogi, and even then he describes it as clinging to a Shogi board while leg kicking in the ocean.

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The most shocking part of the episode though comes at the very end, where we see Rei come over to dinner. As he, Momo and Akari are getting ready to eat, Hina comes home, and we discover that she is also getting bullied at her school.

I honestly cannot tell you how powerful of an ending that was. As soon as I saw that Hina was getting bullied I got emotionally sad and Physically angry. I wanted to punch a hole through my computer screen and help Rei beat up whoever it was. It just goes to show how well written this show is. This was by far and away one of the best episodes of the series.