「六月 / てんとう虫の木①」 (Roku Gatsu / Tentouchuu no ki ①)
“Chapter 50 June / Chapter 51 The Ladybug Bush (Part 1)”

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「てんとう虫の木② / てんとう虫の木③ / 想い」 (Tentouchuu no ki ② / Tentouchuu no ki ③ / Omoi)
“Chapter 52 The Ladybug Bush (Part 2) / Chapter 53 The Ladybug Bush (Part 3) / Feelings”

Let me preface this post by saying, I’m so sorry. The delay comes from losing my laptop charger, then having no proper contingency plan in place. Any remaining energy had to be redirected towards similarly affected legal studies, which unfortunately took precedence over Random Curiosity. However, a fantastic person offered me their laptop this weekend, so here I am! Not exactly the ideal scenario, but better than nothing. Now dear readers, if you could forgive me, that would be great. And for these misgivings, I owe everybody an apology, especially my fellow colleagues. Special thanks to Choya, who helped gather screencaps for episode 3. While we’ve never met in real life, my platonic love for you is seriously off the radars!

So we’ll actually be forgoing a quick recap of the previous episode. I believe that the narrative structure really lends itself towards exploring the underlying theme in one fell swoop – and that would be the topic of bullying.


I think it’s always good to talk about personal experiences when approaching these kind of sensitive matters. After all, like many people, I have also been a target of bullying. I won’t deny I was frickin’ dumb in more than one way, so make what you will of it, but I was no saint when it came to arrogantly flaunting my superior knowledge. However, these incidents mostly took place in primary school, and overall weren’t too bad. Back then, I was chubby and book smart – two traits that seemed to mark me out as a target, and which seem to have worn off with the passage of time. Although physical violence and racism were sometimes deployed, for the most part, my bullies resorted to denigrating remarks. But with the hindsight of a few years, I’m actually thankful towards them. If anything, I became a stronger and better person, who could somewhat empathise with the plights experienced by others. Not that I ever learned how to shut my mouth.

Fortunately, that was the worst of it. Hina saved Rei from the darkness, and I was saved by the selective grammar school which I applied for. I was spirited away from quite a miserable life, and found myself in a fun and friendly place. My emotional needs were provided for, and meaningful challenges came to me on a daily basis. You see, this is the reason why I choose to stand by selective grammar schools, in spite of the fact they are often purported as elitist institutions. Some kids need that safe space to thrive, and while these places remain a reserve for the affluent middle class in the UK, I’m under the impression I can’t have been the only one from a less privileged background who was rescued from what felt like a hopeless situation. That said, I do concede that others were far less fortunate compared to me. I’ve heard of many horror stories that would echo the cruelty that Hina and Chiho were subjected to.

Now, I just want to clarify that I’m up to date with the manga, so I knew what was coming. In fact, I even made a point of it in the Fall preview. However, nothing could prepare me for seeing the bullying, and getting my heart torn to shreds. Hina and Chiho are both such good and sweet-natured girls, that I’m positively disgusted by how badly they were treated. In other words, they’ve done nothing wrong, and didn’t deserve everything horrible that came their way. I think it would be disingenuous to pretend this isn’t a common occurrence in real life, because it happens so much everyday in our world. So I ultimately despair at how humans can treat each other like this, and like Rei, I despise my lack of agency in these sordid affairs. Rei might have been there for her, and it was really cool of him to run after her, and try to cheer her up. But the fact of the matter is that  he couldn’t stop Hina from becoming emotionally fragile, and we could see she prone to losing it at any given moment.

Shaft really took my breath away, where they vividly animated exterior and interior emotions, in order to express these sentiments. But what broke me most was seeing Momo burst into tears. She’s just a little kid, who doesn’t understand the serious implication of Hina’s situation. Yet she still waddled over, and I kid you not, that face and those tears completely shattered me inside. Good thing grandpa appeared. I’m not surprised that Someji stepped up to the plate, and as the only adult who hasn’t let Hina down, he is totally right in validating Hina’s actions. We should remain proud of her, because it takes real conviction to stand against bullies, knowing you might receive backlash yourself. Even though it didn’t change the outcome, I’m sure Chiho will truly appreciate Hina’s efforts for the rest of eternity. I truly wonder, do these bullies forget how much it hurts for others, because of the agony hidden within their own hearts?

It’s very difficult for me to get wholly invested into caring about people who are not real. Which is why 3-gatsu deserves props for managing it, because everyone feels life-like to me, to the point where I’ll make a bold claim. Umino Chica has masterful understanding of what being human entails,and she can freely elicit intense emotional reactions where her characters are concerned. Who hasn’t been in a position where they have been bullied, or been powerless to stop a dear person being bullied? She honestly relates to us in special and wonderful way, and I know there’s more to come. It looks like Kiriyama is still trying to figure out a solution, and considering that these episodes merely scratch the surface, you can look forwards to one heck of an emotional roller coaster we’re about to embark on.

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  1. Im out of words from the beauty of this episode. I suffered with bullying my entire school life and I carry on my body memories of those hardships to this day. I’m also reading the manga and things happening on the last chapters, the beginning of Rei’s feelings, were so poetic animated and with such care, colours and movements. This anime is a masterpiece.

    1. Hey neko_in_blue. Sorry to hear you got bullied too, and if I’m reading into it correctly, you suffered at the hands of a cruel and twisted physical violence.

      Do you find that you hate the people who did wrong by you, or are you indifferent to the extent of wanting nothing more to do with them? I’m curious to know, because the fire of vengeance burns within me to this day, which is only satisfied by the fact that I know they didn’t amount to much.

      But yes. 3-gatsu is shaping up to be a masterpiece, and my personal favourite screencap was the reflection in the water, from the bridge.


      1. It started when I was very young, I was one of the few black children of a rich scholl on my city. I think I was about five when a little boy pushed me on the desk and it cracked part of my forehead opened. I still have the depression on the skull where it happened. It envolved a lot of blood, going to the hospital and stiches. The worst second time, I was a teen and the racist bullying continued, a boy cut my arm with a razor blade with no reason. I went back home bleeding. On the “minor” incidents, the school didnt do anything and my parents too, so I just kept it to myself. I felt very hurt and unprotected, since I was doing nothing for those things to happen. I think it molde me to a a person who is terrified on injustices and all kinds of agression. I ended up to be a teacher, so I always bring those themes to my students and I dont allow such things to happen in my class.

        I don’t wish bad things to happen to those people, but I ressented the way things happened and specially how my parents handled everything until things got worse.

        My favourite scene was Rei running after her and the fall, when she finally allow herself to cry and screamed from the bottom of her heart

      2. Oh god, I’m absolutely sorry to hear! Things never got so bad for me, so I was rather fortunate in that regard.

        I hope you managed to find a support network later on in life, to give you some peace of mind. I’m happy to hear that you’re doing fine as a teacher, and I find it inspirational that you won’t allow such things to happen in your classes. My only comment would be that it’s quite common for perpetrators to come from a difficult background, which is the biggest reason why I don’t hold it against them too much.

        I didn’t want to broach the subject, but school was never really an issue for me. I would heavily cry like Hina, with a mixture of anger and sadness, because that mostly came from a really rough home situation. For me, Clannad was that anime which finally dealt with the topic of what I personally experienced, through the lens of Tomoya’s life. That kind of validation was something I desperately required, and I’m pleased ot know that 3-gatsu was able to do that for you.

        P.S. People have definitely had it rougher than me, and I understand that I probably haven’t had it anywhere near as bad. However, this is pretty much the perspective of my own life, and the way in which I try to relate towards other experiences people may have had.

  2. I’m glad you’re doing okay. So no worries Zaiden! Thank you for your hard work. Even if it’s a little late you still managed to write your posts. So, again Thank you.

    The foreshading in these two episodes for the next upcoming Arc was very wild, intense, epic and dramatic. I really don’t know what lies ahead and what kind of outcome this will have. That’s basically where I stopped myself from reading the manga any further.

    Episode 03

    While I’m pleased that Rei’s hard work has paid off so far and he’s developed tons in the past and recent episodes and it seems like there’s no end in sight for his room for developing, I’m still gunning for Nikaidou to win this upcoming tournament.

    Some may laugh at me but he’s one of my favourite Characters at this point (those who play shogi though, still can’t win against the Sisters), still I hope at some point he get’s to shine a little more. Whatever he says it always funny and very much entertaining, not only for the comedy ascpect in this show. It’s more like one of the rare characters that are supposed to be annoying but actually they are not. They’re quite helpful and mature even if they don’t always act this way I really REALLY like it.

    The Flashbacks and that scene again on the bridge was quite sad but still I also have to say what a beautiful moment. (Play, and Play and Play it really keeps ringing in my ear) It’s as if his heart is on the dark side of Shogi. In a sport where apparently the current Meijin has won several years straight, thus you have a huge number of different characters & shogi techniques and skills to defeat, starting with Kengo Kumakura, who probably worked all his live to become the next Meijin, without success. And he isn’t the only one I believe. In fact, this seems to suggest their nobility lies precisely in the fact they struggle on precisely without reward for their efforts they have a pure devotion, untainted by any and all failure.

    And also will Rei ever come to like Shogi at all? I think this is what I would like to find out the most in his development.

    Episode 04

    And there I thought I would never ever see a another great and amazing running scene (like back then in Hibike! Euphonium S1 when Kyoto Animation pulled that epic scene with Kumiko on the bridge). That still gives me goosebumps to these days.

    But here it was obviously different, yet still spectacular and this was one of the best episodes they gave us. I loved how this whole episode Hina was mostly crying, but it still wasn’t the main focus. How they changed the point of view switching from Hina to Rei and going back and forth. And between all this they still were able to include Chiho’s view as well, Rei and his own expierence with bullying and so much more even if it was only a glimpse for now. It really throws you back to your own time in school and sadly so many were bullied it seems. Thanks again Zaiden for sharing your own personal experiences. Especially when it comes down to bullying, there are so many people who can relate to this and always get a reminder how awful it felt.

    As for my own personal view on this I got really emotional when Hina got so much praise, reinforcement, and kind words from all of her loved ones I really did cry a little here because this is something I can relate to even more than bullying, it is when there’s a family waiting for your at home and giving you their comfort and always lending you an ear. Back then and still even now my mother did everything she could and while I do agree that beeing bullied can also turn into new strength and can make you a better person or a more confident person, but to me personally the most important message this episode gave me is the fact that Hina has people who love her and that is what makes her so strong.

    It’s very difficult for me to get wholly invested into caring about people who are not real. Which is why 3-gatsu deserves props for managing it, because everyone feels life-like to me

    I wish I could put it into better words though. Not every show can create such a very well understanding point about beeing bullied, seperate the actual victim and who has to take responsibility.

    Really looking forward to the next Episode!

  3. you know what helps? a baseball bat to the face. i was bullied all through middle and early high-school until one day i just snapped. it was not pretty. but you can bet your butt no one tried to do anything physical anymore. isolation sucked but I take that over the other option.

    1. This reminds me of something that happened when I was in middle school.

      There was this kid getting bullied. Mostly verbal, with some push around. One day, the guys bullying went overboard and injured him (I think it was the ankle but I can’t remember) and the kid went to the hospital (nothing major luckily). Where I used to live at the time there was a small park were all the kids used to play; One evening, the brother of the bullied kid (I think he was 18) showed up and told the 2 bullies to follow him. He brought them to his car, took out a baseball bat, slammed it on the ground and told them to stop bullying him. He didn’t hit them or anything and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t planning to even if they kept doing it… BUT, that was enough to stop them.

      I’m the first advocate of “violence doesn’t solve the problem” and bullying should be fought with sensibilization at schools and at home, but I also think children are so overprotected nowadays that it’s hard to punish those that do wrong. Expecially if the parents of the bullies just go “nah, no way my children did something that bad”.

  4. after 2 calm episodes, I knew it was going to come. 3-gatsu is like this, when things are calm and happy, it just mean the storm is coming. Episode 3 dropped the bombshell at the end and episode 4 was just… wow. First of all I can say “fuck you” to the people that claimed Shaft was doing a bad job with 3-gatsu. This episode was animated gloriously.

    Secondly, Kana did a fantastic job as Hina VA. You could really feel the sobbing.

    and lastly, it’s goddamn incredible how this how manages to switch me from sadness at the start, to anger at the sun insect exchange in the middle, to a stupid, bittersweet smile at the end. In 20 minutes.

  5. No prob on the assist! It’s helped inspire me to get further into the series. I’m almost caught up, but it’s captivating how the series wears its heart on it’s sleeve and bears its soul. I’m looking forward to continuing the show and further catching up to it.

    Highschool was rough on my end where I was singled out by three bullies and targeted for about three semesters (all of Freshman year and Junior). Some have tried to tell me not to hold onto the hate, but there’s too much lingering pain that can’t bring myself to not view them as horrible people. I’m glad Hina has Rei and her family to help her cope and not have to face the pain alone.

  6. As soon as Grandpa started praising Hina for courageously standing by her friends, eyes filled with tears and I had to struggle to keep them back. God bless Grandpa and how proud he is of his granddaughter!!! Lord, I just wasn’t ready for how much this would tug at my heart.


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