3-gatsu had another solid episode this week, which for now was exactly what you would expect from this show. Rei’s getting more social life, and this episode demonstrates the importance of the tutors’ roles, as both Hayashida-sensei and Shimada continues to guide him to improve himself, both in his personal life as well as his professional shogi life. But “solid” and “expected” also means that I don’t really have a lot to delve into, so instead of doing an usual format, I will try something different this time, running the episode down by key moments and giving you my thoughts on those. Notes that this is just one-off, mostly for the sake of trying something different.
If you really think about it, this “arson club” is the kind of club that Rei would never be a part of. They are as different from Rei as chalk and chesse. The club is noisy, active and silly, Rei isn’t. They try to make soap to attract girls, the kind of thing that Rei would never dare to try. Yet, they’re getting along well, because the club is determined to help Rei out. This section gets as silly and light-heart that it could get, but this is the light-heartedness that I wanted to see. Like Hiyashida-sensei, just watching Rei enjoying himself with other people is rewarding enough.
But here, we have one of the most satisfied life lesson that one could learn from his sensei for a long while. Heck, this life lesson still resonates well even to me, more than 10 years older than Rei right now. You need to rely on others sometimes in things that otherwise difficult when you do it alone, because then people can rely back to you. Rei is the kind of person who doesn’t want to trouble his friends for his personal problems, which is fair enough, but by doing that he creates a border that others can’t cross, and in turns they keep their distance with him. I haven’t really talked about him in details before but Hiyashida-sensei proves to be one of the most reliable tutor Rei could’ve had for guiding him to be more open in his social life. Rei needs more friends, that’s a given, and seeing him slowly realize the significance of opening up to someone else is really satisfying.
Shaft sure really takes liberty of making impressionist sequences that was heavily on mood than realistic sense here. Most of the time in this series it paid off really well, and here is another fine example. We have purple sky, sparklings everywhere but the whole sequences was conducted mainly by his footsteps. The pacing is this whole sequence is top-notch as well. Really great visual storytelling here!
I swear that Shimada winning over Gotou really caught me off-guard. I always presumed that Gotou had it in his bag so seeing Shimada came out as winner is a nice surprise. Shimada gets mentally and physically exhausted after the match though, but his effort really affects Rei in a good way. Rei’s finally asking him to attend his workshop. What a warm way to close of the chapter (and the end of volume 3 in manga)
The sisters, in a meanwhile, don’t have much roles for the last few weeks and THAT ISN’T FINE BY ME. All they doing for the last few episodes were just hanging around and casually talking about Rei. NO. Where’s MOMO? Bring up the girl’s party, seriously, bring them back to us as soon as possible (we have Kyouko coming next week so it redeems itself a bit, but still…)
While Hiyashida-sensei serves as a mentor for Rei in his high-school social life, Shimada serves as a mentor in another spectrum: for Rei to be more mature about shogi play. This workshop is actually very valuable for him because as of now what he lacks is experience and more matches; so with someone as mature and cool-headed like Shimada, Rei’s pretty in good hands. Except when his shogi ego kicks in. Or any kid’s shogi ego kicks in in fact. What we have in the end is less a shogi practice but more of a market’s trading where each of the kid showing their ‘best moves”. Love their stubbornness expressions.
And finally to that sweet hilarious final scene at the end. When the two of them getting carried away when a duck dunking his head to the water. Again, the whole sequence is silly, but for once I can see that Rei is acting exactly his age, because after all he is still a 16 year-old boy. Sharing useless moments like this, getting worry about something nonsensical is what a normal healthy 16 year-old boy do anyways. This last scene feels rewarding, now that we see him more relax towards other people, and he pretty much considers Harunobu as his friend now (he might never acknowledge it though).
3-gatsu has one of the most balanced episode for a while, shifting effortlessly between heartfelt drama moments to their lighter tones. I just hope the girls come back soon. They’ve been sidelined for too long.