In a windstorm far away, a lady prays underneath a statue of Mary built high upon a plateau that seems to be crying tears of blood.
Hatchin arrives in Perna, miles away from Michiko and Shinsuke, and she overhears a man selling maps to see the crying statue of Mary. She tries to return hers for a refund since she’s desperate for money, gets refused. The next day a beautiful young girl wakes her up abruptly from the park bench where she was sleeping. She seems to be having some relationship trouble with the young boy named Masa that was following her, so she boldly claims Hatchin is her boyfriend and runs away with her. After they lose sight of the boy, Hatchin stops her from a near kiss with embarrassed proof that she’s actually a girl.
Even though she’s not at all impressed with Hatchin’s boyish appearance for a girl the same age as herself, she takes her to a café and chats with a man at the bar while Hatchin eats. On TV, Hatchin sees a news report about Michiko and the unfortunate Davi. Her immediate reaction causes her to stand up out of concern but she sits back down quickly, thinking quietly. Afterwards Hatchin finds out to her pleasure that the bill was properly paid. While they’re walking, the girl complains a little about feeling a ‘string,’ and introduces herself as Rita. She spots a lift taking tourists to the top of a tall plateau, so they catch a ride and look down over the entire city and lake.
While Rita looks through a telescope around the city, she tells Hatchin that she thinks the rumors about the statue of Mary crying tears are nonsense. She thinks there’s no way praying in front of it could make your dreams come true. After all, she’s not a kid. During the conversation, she spots a man and a woman walking in the streets together who seem to be happily dating, but the pre-paid telescope time cuts her off shortly afterward.
Back at the park bench, the two girls share a soda. Rita says she works at the circus, and invites her to come any time. Hatchin allows herself to smile for the first time in awhile. As Rita says goodbye, Hatchin gets angry at herself for worrying about Michiko, and throws the letter Michiko left her to the ground. That night, the man Rita saw earlier through the telescope reads a magazine in a private room at the circus. A man in a clown outfit comes in to yell at him, but Rita interrupts them and he leaves without saying another word. Brimming with anger at Gino because of what she saw earlier, she walks out and immediately walks back in and starts yelling at him, too.
As the circus sounds begin that night, Rita wakes Hatchin up from the park bench again. She sits next to her and confesses her broken heart. She’s been with Gino since she was born, and has always loved him, but he never looks at her the same way she looks at him. She wanted Gino to come after her when she left, but he didn’t. Leaning on Hatchin’s shoulder, she says her heart aches.
The next morning when Hatchin wakes up from the park bench, she’s greeted by Rita screaming good morning to her from across the lake, waving her arms as big as she can. Hatchin stands up and waves back, shouting good morning back to her friend with a huge smile on her face, clearly very pleased. While she brushes her teeth, the boy Rita dumped comes back to threaten her, not realizing she’s a girl. At first Masa is a bit nonplussed by the revelation, and checks that no one else heard their conversation before leaving quickly by bike. A few seconds later, he comes back and tells Hatchin to get on, and takes her to a restaurant in town.
Hiding halfway behind a menu, he tells Hatchin about the beautiful waitress called Natalia. She’s the woman Gino is dating, and Masa spills the secret that she’s pregnant with Gino’s child. Hatchin finds herself staring at Natalia’s thin and sexy waist, despite what the boy just told her. He promises to buy Hatchin anything she wants off the menu if she tells Rita about this for him. Overly pleased with his act of generosity, it comes as a big surprise to him when Hatchin stands up angrily to walk out, slaps him, and runs away.
At rehearsal for her circus act, Rita practices her rope swing routine with Gino. Missing the rope during a jump, she falls straight down only to land in Gino’s arms. He pats her on the head to comfort her after the scare, but she screams at him not to touch her, pushes him back, and runs away. In the staff area, Rita interrupts Hatchin being roughed around by the mean clown from earlier, and takes her safely to her private room. A little hesitantly, Hatchin tells Rita that she thinks Gino has a person he likes. Thinking Hatchin is urging her to give up, Rita smashes a coke bottle across the room in anger, and tells her friend to get out. When Hatchin doesn’t move, she leaves instead.
Outside in front, Hatchin asks Gino if Rita came out this way, but apparently she didn’t. Hatchin starts to leave, but then confronts Gino about Rita’s feelings for him. While Rita listens secretly from behind the curtain, Hatchin asks him to at least look properly at her and give Rita a chance. He says it’s impossible because he’s about to become a father. On top of that, it should be obvious that he can’t be with Rita. She’s so young. She still has years and years to date many guys, find herself in the process, and become a good woman. Afterwards, Rita walks through the city again, looking up at the lift to the plateau as it rises above the world, lost in her thoughts.
That night on the park bench, Hatchin takes out the map to see the crying Mary again. She stands up to leave and sees Rita waiting for her behind a tree. Rita apologizes, and sadly tells her she has nowhere to go now. Since they’re both lost, she asks if she can go with Hatchin to see the statue of Mary. A little later, Rita comes back with Masa’s bike. Losing in a game of janken, she tells Hatchin to get on the back, and pedals her way out of the city.
After a long journey and a lot of walking, they finally arrive at the statue together. A large crane seems to be loading the old statue onto a truck, and a construction worker tells Rita that because of the problems they’ve had with this one, they’ve been ordered to replace the statue with a new one. Upset by the news, Rita begins protesting, hitting the man in the statue’s defense. He pushes her down easily and they drive away with the old statue in tow. Rita chases them as far down the road as her legs can carry her, and screams as the truck disappears beyond the corner.
The two girls take an empty bus home together that evening. Hatchin looks at her friend sadly, and places her hand on Rita’s to comfort her. Rita puts her other hand on top of Hatchin’s and says thank you, but never stops looking out the window. She wishes out loud that she could hurry up and become an adult.
That night at the circus amidst the busy preparations, Rita and Gino share a long moment of silence before the show begins. Hana watches from the audience as Gino rides out on a bike with Rita on his shoulders. She grabs a rope while he holds the other end, and they perform a perfect act together, bowing and smiling happily together at the end.
Afterwards, Hatchin sees Natalia congratulate Gino on a job well done while Rita watches from behind, seemingly unfazed. She smiles at Hatchin and tells her she’s fine now. Hatchin says she looked cool tonight, and Rita hugs her for a final goodbye. Hatchin walks along the edge of the lake alone, preparing to leave the city, but suddenly stops. While Rita continues cleaning up the circus tent after the performance, Hatchin surprises her by appearing at the entrance one more time. She asks Rita if it’d be alright if she comes along with her, and Rita smiles happily.
Episode 8 treated us mostly to Michiko’s adventure with Shinsuke and the fake Satoshi, so this week focused entirely on Hatchin in Perna. We got occasional glimpses of what was going on in Michiko’s world, along with some bad news about Davi’s fate. That was pretty expected, though. Hatchin meets a new friend this week (Rita), who despite being the same age seems at first glance to be much more mature than our heroine. She dresses stylishly, seems to have relationship problems, and on top of that, it looks like she’s in the middle of her period, as well. It wouldn’t surprise me if at least a small amount of style from a positive influence rubs off on Hatchin. Did you notice how quickly she began to trust Rita after she made sure her lunch was properly paid for?
But despite seeming fairly mature at first, you quickly realize Rita is only mature for a 10 year old. Upset because of her failure to catch Gino’s attention, eventually it’s clear that Rita was only interested in Hatchin at first because she thought she was a boy. Sounds like she was running from one boyfriend to another to deal with the pain like a typical teenager might. It should be noted that Hatchin introduced herself to Rita by the name of Hana. This isn’t because she’s cut herself off completely from Michiko, but rather just that she wants to. There were several moments in the episode where she forgot to stop caring, and her concern for Michiko seeped through before her anger could stop it.
Despite wanting to break ties with Michiko, I don’t think she will, and I think this episode slowly pushes Hatchin in the right direction towards forgiving her, or at least reconciling some of her own feelings. First of all, it’s obvious they’ll get back together because they are the title characters. But thankfully, this show’s writers are above making obvious calls like that, and they gave us some decent plot to push the story that way, too. For example, when Rita was crying on Hatchin’s shoulder after being rejected because Gino didn’t chase after her when she ran away, Hatchin didn’t say anything but just looked down deep in thought. It’s quite possible they were offering Rita’s situation as a contrast to the ending of episode 7 when Hatchin ran away. Unlike Gino, Michiko did come to rescue Hatchin, proving her bond and the strength of her feelings, as it were. I think Hatchin realized this, and even though she ran away again at the end of episode 8, it’s impossible for Michiko to come rescue her right now, so she had quite a lot to reflect on at that moment. It’s no surprise she couldn’t say anything to cheer her friend up. But the silent support seemed to do just fine.
I liked when Hatchin slapped the crap out of Masa for insulting Rita so much by his selfless act of generosity. He’s possibly more immature than Rita was at the beginning of the episode, but that’s perfectly acceptable since they’re all just kids anyway. Not only that, but they’re growing emotionally as well. I was really impressed with Gino’s speech to Hatchin outside the tent when Rita was listening. He’s always seen her from the viewpoint of a father, looking out for her future in a non-pervy way, so it was satisfying to see an adult act like an adult should. Michiko can tend to be a bit more volatile, so this is possibly the most mature character we’ve been offered in awhile. I was suspicious at first that he may have been Hiroshi in disguise, but the suspicion didn’t last very long. With his huge glasses on, it was hard to tell, and in the photo of him and Rita it looked like he may have had the semblance of a tattoo sticking out of his (way too) low cut jeans. But it was just a tease, as usual. No signs of Hiroshi yet – Only in Hatchin’s dreams. I think those images will fit into the end of the story somehow, but thankfully it’s too difficult to predict at the moment.
The scene at the replacement of the statue of Mary was touching. First of all, it’s sorta sweet that Hatchin bought the map in the first place with the intent on praying and having her wish come true. By the time she actually left with Rita to see the statue, I couldn’t decide what her wish would be. The obvious answer is to find her father, but she has many other worries on her mind, including Michiko and the fate of her new friend Rita, too. At the statue, Rita’s anger was not that they were taking away the opportunity to have your wish come true – She’s not a kid and doesn’t believe in that stuff, right? ha. No, she was upset because of the correlation to her own situation with Gino. She felt pity for the crying statue of Mary being thrown away, just like her own broken heart.
The ending this week was yet again different, and I think it ended on a very positive note. The two girls plan to travel a bit together, and while that seems loads safer than Michiko’s current situation, I won’t jump to any conclusions. Episode 10 is out, so a second helping of Michiko and Hatchin will be coming up soon. Enjoy!