Years ago, a man named Tatsuo, who worked at the Morita Technical Research Institute, visited the office of Morita’s father one day to talk about the final interviews for the people who want to join the company. Morita’s father claimed to want someone skilled at making curry, so Tatsuo had asked him to be serious for a moment. However, Morita’s father seemed to have just finished an invention: a remote control walker. Since remote controls always tend to be lost, you could set the remote control into this walker, and then leave it anywhere. When you call the remote control walker, it would come to where it heard your voice. With an unimpressed look, Tatsuo addressed Morita’s father by his first name Tsukasa and said that something like that isn’t needed. He also suggested that Tsukasa clean the room. Tsukasa wasn’t too thrilled with how Tatsuo was always so boring, always shooting down his ideas. As the two argued, the interviewees outside the room were starting to get very uneasy. One of the other employees thought that it was probably better for them to know early on what their boss was really like.
Bandaged and bruised, Tsukasa and Tatsuo emerged from the office to start the final interviews. However, Tsukasa took over and gave the interviewees a challenge: using the materials in this room, make an airplane in three hours. The person with the airplane that flew the furthest got hired. Of course, he forced his employees, including Tatsuo, to participate too. Tsukasa’s two children Shinobu and Kaoru also showed up wanting to make airplanes. Tsukasa decided to add the condition that if the interviewees lost to the elementary school kids, not only would they not get hired, but they’d also have to run 10 laps around the company campus. Adult Kaoru thinks back at this strange company that his father had created. Though it was small, it was quite lively. His father made machine parts, a lot of which were sold overseas. Kaoru remembers that what happened back then got burned into his eyes. Shinobu’s airplane had so easily danced through the air and their father had watched so proudly. In that youthful appearance, feelings of longing were directed at his father. Tsukasa ended up declaring Shinobu the winner and said that the company wouldn’t be accepting anyone this year. Kaoru recalls how Tatsuo had been standing by him, holding an airplane that didn’t fly – that was his profile.
In a separate incident later, Kaoru had led their father to a dirty and bruised Shinobu after he had fallen into a hole at a cement factory. Their father had called Shinobu an idiot, and Shinobu admitted to having been after the many loquat down there. Kaoru had been the one to urge their father to hurry and take Shinobu to a doctor, and so their father had asked him to go back to the company to tell everyone that Shinobu had been found. After that, their father had biked away with Shinobu. However, Kaoru noticed afterwards that he himself had a bloody leg from falling down earlier. With fresh memories of how worried his father had been and how his father had left with only his little brother, Kaoru started to cry. It had been Tatsuo who had then found him and asked if he was ok. Adult Kaoru recalls that Negishi Tatsuo had been his father’s childhood friend, his best friend, and his important partner at work. At that time, Tatsuo had carried him home and Kaoru had told him what happened. Tatsuo had laughed and remarked that Shinobu was just like his father when he was little: greedy and free-spirited.
Tatsuo recalled that their class had a child who was in the hospital on sick leave and Tsukasa would rush to eat that child’s share of the school lunch. If there was an argument, Tsukasa would go over there and make things worse. With a chuckle, Tatsuo remarked that their father really did as he pleased. Still, he was loved by everyone. Tatsuo remembers a baseball game when they were older and when Tsukasa had been at bat. There was no fear in him. Tatsuo thinks that either Tsukasa was holding down the fear with his strong heart or he just didn’t have any fear; although he’s been by Tsukasa’s side, Tatsuo doesn’t know for sure. And even if Tsukasa was the last batter in a losing baseball game, he would still laugh. In a pinch, he only saw the chance it presented him. Back then, Tsukasa had hit a home run on that at-bat. Tatsuo thinks that he never had a lot of the things that Tsukasa had, so he had felt envious of Tsukasa being loved by everyone and being so dazzling. With those dazzling eyes, he had stopped Tatsuo’s breath many times. Tatsuo had always thought that there would be something that only he was able to do. At this point, Tatsuo – still carrying Kaoru – stopped at a fork in the road that said “Stop” on the ground and said that he always wanted to think that there was something. The present Kaoru thinks that at that time he hadn’t noticed, but in those days Tatsuo already had an incurable illness. Of course Kaoru understands now.
Sometime in the past, Tatsuo had been at his elderly mother’s side, giving her her meal. She had mistaken him for her husband, so he had to correct her by saying that he was Tatsuo. Hearing that name, his mother remarked that Tatsuo was of a marrying age and wondered if the tobacco shop Ricchan girl that Tatsuo liked would be his bride. Tatsuo recalled an image of Tsukasa with his wife & two kids and told his mother that “Ricchan is already…” but never finishes his sentence. He then remembered how a doctor had asked him to hospitalize himself. But Tatsuo had resisted because he knew that doing so meant he wouldn’t be able to go out. He had told the doctor that he wanted to work until the very end because he had a reason for having to work. If he died, who would look after his mother? Addressing Tsukasa, Tatsuo said that he himself had always been strange. Why are the “Haves” and the “Have-Nots” separated in this world? Why are there people who are loved and people who aren’t loved? Who divided this and where is the dividing road? Was there a dividing road in the first place? Wasn’t everything decided back at birth? At this point, Tatsuo asked God that if this is true, then what is the purpose of his life?
One night sometime later, Tatsuo had suggested to Tsukasa that they list their latest motor patent under the company’s name instead of Tsukasa’s own name. In addition, Tatsuo says that they need to issue more stock to increase their funding for expanding the factory. At that time, the busy Tsukasa had left everything up to Tatsuo. In his head, Tatsuo had asked Tsukasa to show him the differences of the people in their worlds. He had wanted to be smashed into pieces and returned back to the mud. Tatsuo had gone to the Floyd Electric and told their president that all the patents had been rewritten to the company’s name and that the stocks and preparations were in order. All they had to do now was to set a day to carry out their plan. The Floyd president had wondered if it was painful for Tatsuo to betray his friend. As repayment, he promised to give Tatsuo a reward that will correspond to all of Tatsuo’s pain and courage. Thinking in his head again, Tatsuo asked Tsukasa to show him if his light is real. Does it not fade away no matter what happens?
The Floyd Electric president had come to the Morita Technical Research Institute sometime after and started commenting on how the place wasn’t dirty but the layout needed to be changed to increase efficiency. Addressing Tsukasa, the Floyd president asked him to join their company as an important engineer. Although the management would be under Floyd Electric, the president said that Tsukasa and his employees can continue as they are. Ignoring the man’s offer, Tsukasa turned to Tatsuo and asked him what this person was talking about. At first, Tatsuo had kept silent and Tsukasa knew that in any case his words wouldn’t have been good. Tatsuo had eventually said that the terms stated were fairly good because nothing here would change and Tsukasa could devote himself freely to his research.
Tsukasa admitted defeat and said that he was leaving this place. Although he loved money, Tsukasa said that he hated having to obey others for the money. Tatsuo had asked him not to decide hastily and to think about it a bit; everyone’s salary would double, and as the top-class, Tsukasa’s annual salary would… Tsukasa cut him off and said that it’s enough. He really wanted to punch Tatsuo, but he won’t today. Tsukasa told Tatsuo that all the employees will depend on him now, and if he betrayed this, Tsukasa would kill him. With a smile, Tatsuo remembered that baseball game and thought that finally he would be able to sleep. He hadn’t been able to for a long time recently, but he thought that now he could finally sleep for a long long time, as if he were like the mud. In the middle of these thoughts, Tatsuo collapsed onto the ground.
At the hospital, Tsukasa had asked Tatsuo if he was going to die. Tatsuo had confirmed it and apologized. He had learned earlier that if he died, according to his contract, all his assets would go to Floyd Electric. Tsukasa called him a fool and said that he won’t forgive him. He would have a grudge against Tatsuo until he dies, and even if Tatsuo was reincarnated 100 times, Tsukasa would still have a grudge. But because of that, Tsukasa asks Shinobu and Kaoru not to hold a grudge. Shinobu had immediately agreed, but Kaoru said that it was impossible. In tears, Kaoru asked Tatsuo “why”, but Tatsuo didn’t answer him. Tsukasa had patted Kaoru on the head and claimed all the cursing and grudges as his own duty. He wasn’t going to let his kids have that and he asked them to move forward. In the end, the Morita family had to leave their home, and Kaoru had been the one who pressed the button that turned off all the lights.
It was in the city sometime later that the two kids had come across a walkman at a storefront. Shinobu identified as something their father had made, but now it was being sold under the name Floyd Electric. Kaoru had gotten angry and tried to pull the walkman out of its display, but it was tethered. The store employees noticed and started coming after them, so both kids ran. However, Kaoru wasn’t quite as fast as his little brother. He remembered how his father had told them to not get caught by the dark feelings and to go forward toward the light. But Kaoru thought to himself that it was no good – he can’t run as fast as Shinobu. He finally understood Tatsuo’s feelings. As all the memories filled his mind, Kaoru thinks that he’s always been envious of Shinobu and his father. He felt that he had nothing, and, with memories of Tatsuo carrying him after the cement factory incident, Kaoru said that he had also wanted to think that there was surely something only he could do.
When Kaoru tripped, the darkness jumped at him. Shinobu turned around and ran back to shield his brother. Right as the darkness was about to cover both of them, the current Shinobu wakes up. Kaoru, who is sitting right beside him typing away at the computer, tells Shinobu that there’s nothing more for him to do. Everything else is left up to Kaoru, so it’s ok for Shinobu to go over there now. But Shinobu decides not to go anywhere after all – he’ll stay here with his brother. It is sometime later that the two brothers are told by an assistant that the car has been prepared. Kaoru and Shinobu are ready to go send them all to Hell. At this time, Takemoto notices that the wind outside is blowing pretty hard. Yamada, who is with Shuuji, wonders if the exhibits outside will be ok. Riding in the car, Morita says that they did not know… In front of his tower, Takemoto says that it was not possible to even have noticed…. In Spain, Mayama says that they had no way of predicting it…. …the things that are going to happen from now on, each day from now on, nothing.
A lot of introspection into both Kaoru and his father’s friend Tatsuo this episode (apologies for the long write-up; there was a lot to cover). We find out that the “I always though that there must be something that only I am capable of” line that was from last week’s episode was actually said by Tatsuo, though Kaoru felt the same way. The obvious parallels here are between Tatsuo & Kaoru and Tsukasa & Shinobu. The former two could never be as good as the latter two in doing anything. Still, although Tatsuo decided to try to test his best friend by betraying him, I don’t think Kaoru is going to pull something similar on his little brother. And certainly Morita seems to have become more mindful of his brother’s feelings, especially if most of this episode were part of his dream.
I do have to say though that I’m not a huge fan of all the Tatsuo stuff. I don’t really like his character for betraying Tsukasa, though I don’t like Tsukasa that much for playing favorites with his kids (intentionally or not). And honestly, this feels like it is straying a bit too far from the main plot, even if it is to explain the Morita back-story.
Still, Honey and Clover has some great episode endings (especially since Split gets better every time I listen to it) and this is one of them. My favorite part is when all the main characters are talking about they didn’t know, they couldn’t have noticed, etc, as if they’re building up to something. The shock hits you at the very last screen where you see what is unmistakably Hagu-chan’s hair surrounded by shards of bloody glass with the obvious implication that something very bad happened to her. Each main character (except Hagu-chan) delivering one line at the end gave you the sense that everyone is together, even when they’re not, and you can tell that this is something big. I’m definitely looking forward to next episode to see what happened. 🙂
Insert song this week is Suga Shikao’s 「夏陰」 (Natsukage) from his 2005 single 「奇跡/夏陰/サナギ」 (Kiseki/Natsukage/Sanagi).