「Chapter.28 まぶしい闇 / Chapter.29 ほんの少しの水」 (Chapter.28 Mabushii Yami / CHapter.29 Honno Sukoshi no Mizu)
“Chapter.28 Blinding Darkness / Chapter.29 Just A Little Water”
That wasn’t what I was expecting at all from this week’s episode. But in a bittersweet way, I think this episode ended up being a lot more touching because of what happened.
Taking Losses in Stride
I don’t think we’ve ever seen Rei lose on-screen before. He’s had his stumbles here and there, but never in a million years did I think he’d suffer a complete and total loss with the final boss waiting for him right around the corner. But here we are, living in a world where a skilled player knocked the fighting spirit right out of Rei before he even realized what was happening. I don’t know about you, but there was something a little crazy about seeing Rei actually lose right in-front of our eyes. He’s been built up as this child prodigy that’s persevered through all kinds of nonsense and it really felt like he was on his way to hitting his stride. But then to see him fall from grace so quickly due to a myriad of problems that included his youth and shortsightedness really helped drive the whole point home — Rei is still just a kid that’s trying to take on the whole world and then some. And as difficult as it was to watch him lose faith in himself and what he’s worked for, it also felt strangely therapeutic. Therapeutic in the sense that life itself is an unforgiving bitch but there’s always a light at the end of whatever crappy tunnel you may end up in.
Overall, for an episode that revolved around Rei losing, I was surprised just how well it managed to hold up on its own.
While we haven’t seen him in quite some time, I’m so glad that Hayashida-sensei was around for an episode like this. For me, up until Rei ended up at school, I was wondering if the show was going to bring out our three favorite girls to help Rei get out of his funk. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Momo, Hinata, and Akari wasn’t what Rei needed. Instead of being babied, he needed someone to help kick his butt and get him to keep moving forward even though he didn’t want to. Which is precisely why Hayashida’s timely appearance moved my heart quite a bit when he caught Rei crying. I’ve said this in a previous post, but Hayashida has been the best mentor Rei could have asked for outside the Shogi world. He goes out of his way to keep an eye on Rei while trying to drop just the right amount of advice when the situation calls for it. Toss in his obvious use as comedic relief in a show that doesn’t have a lot of humor going on and you start quickly wishing he’d appear more often!
(That and it takes a true hero to give up his freshly boiled ramen for someone besides family.)
With Rei at a new time low and the pieces to help him find himself all scattered around, I hope we get to see just how good of an influence Shimada and Nikdaiou can be on Rei when he opens himself to the people around him. Anyways, I’ll catch you guys next week where we’ll hopefully see Rei find a little more happiness. See you then!