「昭和ブルース」 (Shouwa Buruuzu)
In order to understand Arashi better, Hajime travels back in time to the Showa Era with the help of Yayoi. In 1940, Arashi is the same age as Hajime is now and got into her fair share of scuffles with punk kids. Not exactly what you would expect from a young girl from a wealthy family, but Hajime tags along and becomes a key memory of Arashi’s past — her first love.
Too bad we can’t all go back in time to make someone fall in love with us from the very beginning. Now wouldn’t that be a convenient use (abuse) of time travel? While that wasn’t Hajime’s intention, it’s what he ended up doing by putting his life on the line to protect Arashi. He was pretty smart about it too, believing that he’ll succeed since the future Arashi doesn’t have any injuries to show for this incident. His own safety wasn’t guaranteed, but he did make good on his determination by taking out the finger-chopping leader with a mere bokutou. I love how he feigned having a kendo background afterward too, just to help scare off the rest of the losers once he picked up the katana. This isn’t exactly the kind of cool character you’d envision from our glasses-wearing Hajime, but it was enough to impress both Arashi and her older brother Rintarou (Koyama Rikiya). Story-wise, watching Arashi take Hajime’s broken glasses as a memento and kissing him was really cute, especially when she added how he can kiss her on the lips in return when they meet again. With Kaya and Jun retrieving those glasses from Arashi’s past, she’s now well aware she’s already fallen in love with someone before, and that person was none other than Hajime himself.
Although things wrapped a bit quicker than I would’ve liked, this was a nice turn of events between Arashi and Hajime. Arashi was absolutely adorable when she was a somewhat rebellious kid, and I found myself seeing her current self in a slightly different light after learning how she was then. I’d say it’s akin to finding out something about someone that you wouldn’t have expected after talking about their childhood. Except here, I’d imagine things are much deeper and meaningful since Arashi’s past is actually linked to Hajime. After seeing the two of them timeslip together again followed by the “The End” 「おしまい」 on the tree, I felt this would’ve been a good way to conclude the season, especially once Shiraishi Ryoko’s “One Summer Experience” ending theme from season one started playing for the credits. SHAFT didn’t pad the time with Kanako/Yayoi stories nor their messed up orders, so we actually got a full twenty or so minutes of meaningful content too. I just hope they can build on this type of story in the remaining few episodes.