While I would’ve been fine with this arc involving Mario’s indictment and facing seven years in prison dragging out longer, I’m quite happy about it wrapping up swiftly this episode so that the story can move on to more interesting things. There’s still Setsuko’s arranged marriage in addition to Joe’s sister Meg, the latter of which deserves a much better fate than the one she was left with at the end of episode two. However, that’s not to say this latest problem for the six remaining friends of Block 2 Cell 6 didn’t build on the series’ theme of friendship and courage in some significant way. Most notably, it opened my eyes a bit more on Mario’s character after learning that he willing went to the Shonan Reform Institution by sparing the girl he protected, Yoshida Junko (Kuwashima Houko), from having to let anyone know that she was raped by a teacher. Not only was Mario willing to stay locked up for those two years for Junko’s sake, he was even willing to do seven more in a prison if he had to.
I admittedly have a soft spot for chivalrous acts such as that, but I’m not oblivious to the stupidity involved in throwing oneself out on a limb without hesitation either. We’re talking seven years of Mario’s teenage to mid-twenties life versus a girl’s concern over how people will perceive her knowing she’s a rape victim, which isn’t something any rational person would elect to do without a second thought. What’s more, any testimony that Junko would make doesn’t necessarily have to reach her parents or her friends like she was worried about, making Mario’s decision even more thickheaded yet ridiculously kindhearted at the same time. He had no way of guaranteeing word wouldn’t get out if he spoke up about it, so he simply didn’t risk it and chose not to bring it up at all even though it may have helped his case. There’s something really admirable about that in my eyes, and while I’d like to believe I could do the same in his situation, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t hesitate whatsoever.
Thankfully, his willingness to sacrifice himself didn’t go unrewarded, as Junko eventually made a verbal testimony to the public prosecutor Takada, saving Mario from a life of hard times he didn’t deserve yet was willing to endure. As I mentioned last time, I was at a complete loss on what Baremoto’s plan would be against the Japanese legal system, so it came as a bit of a surprise to learn that he went for a completely legitimate combination of written statements and outright pleading on his hands and knees. It’s probably safe to say that luck played a big part in the success of the plan this time though. After Takada saw through Yoshitaka’s written statement as something they forced him into signing, it was pure coincidence that Baremoto’s father happened to be a good wartime friend of his who was killed in the war against China over Manchuria. I don’t doubt Baremoto’s sincerity when he used his last resort and pleaded desperately, but I question whether or not Takada would’ve been so understanding had he not heard how proud his friend was of his son, “Nomoto Ryuuji”.
In any case, it never hurts to have things unexpectedly work out in life, so I’m willing to cast this off as one of those cases after all the hard times these boys have been through. Quite frankly, it’s about time they caught a break. Still, kudos to Heitai and Kyabetsu (Cabbage) for being the two key guys in the plan this time around. Without the former taking two punches and a bottle broken over his head to blackmail Yoshitaka into signing the statement they prepared, and the latter camping outside of the Shonan Girl’s University in the rain in hopes that Junko will rethink her decision about making a statement, none of this would have worked out at all. Out of the six, they’re also the only two who have never caused any problems for the group, yet their loyalty towards their friends doesn’t pale at all in comparison to anyone else. For that, they deserve all the credit for saving Mario’s butt this time around. Now that that’s out of the way, it looks like the focus will shift back to Setsuko’s arranged marriage, which Mario will hopefully save her from now that he’s a legally free man and has his job back at the bar. I’m thinking a confession is in order to make Setsuko rethink her hasty decision for her father’s company’s sake. Time to man up to the opposite sex Mario!