「小さな世界 / 手紙」 (Chiisana Sekai / Tegami)
“Chapter 56 Small World / Chapter 57 Letter”
「梅雨の始まり / 蜂谷」 (Tsuyu no Hajimari / Hachiya)
“Chapter 58 Start of the Rainy Season / Chapter 59 Hachiya”
Throughout these two episodes, Hina’s suffering continues on with no end in sight. Her teacher keeps brushing her off, and no one will stand up to the bullies. However, she does find solace within her household, although there’s a dire lack of permanent solution.
I think that we’ve been seeing an exploration of potential approaches, only to find out that these types of situations are truly delicate, and tricky to a fault. Too little effort, and you may as well have done nothing. Too heavy-handed, and some undesired consequences may arise. We see that even Takahashi’s intervention can only provide a brief respite, by momentarily raising Hina’s spirits. In fact, I would argue that his involvement only exacerbated the issue, since it gave the bullies a perfect narrative to push. They wasted no time in framing Hina as being a slut, who was fooling around with Takahashi.
Upon his immediate reaction to the unwelcome news, it was terrifying yet awesome to see Rei flare up in such a way. If we exclude his vulnerable outbursts from the first season, I’ve never seen such powerful displays of emotions coming from him, and it is here that we can see how the Kawamoto sisters have formed a cornerstone in his character development. No longer is he the pushover of old. Rather, he constantly strives to be a dependable person, who can look after the people he cares for. That said, he is still the same old, awkward Kiriyama, unintentionally startling some animals when he suddenly raises his voice in solidarity. Then again, who wasn’t on the same page? I personally feel an indescribable rage towards the bullies first, then towards the teacher above all else.
For someone who usually maintains a solid composure, it’s been really interesting to be reminded that despite being a mother by proxy, Akari is still a young woman with her own insecurities. Although Someji and Misaki are capable relatives, she worries about an extenuating situation, where she will have to go to school and confront the parents of Hina’s bullies. To be honest, I can see why such a concern would be legitimate. Imagine a middle-aged mother, who effectively enables her daughter’s terrible behaviour. Such an individual would be quick to protest her daughter’s innocence, and assert herself over Akari by ruthlessly putting her down. Even with all her love and best intentions for Hina, I could see Akari crumbling under such an unprecedented crisis. Let’s hope that the worst-case scenario doesn’t come about, right? I would hate to see such a beautiful smile getting fractured.
Rei vs Hachiya
In my opinion, this was the best shogi game depicted thus far in 3-gatsu. Due to the opponent, it was highly kinetic and fairly intense. Plus a new kind of difficulty arose. Rei’s perspective fantastically conveyed the unpleasant experience of playing against someone like Hachiya, who would fidget and make loud noises at sporadic intervals during a match. Often times, I found myself experiencing second-hand discomfort and irritation. By the way, these kind of physical reactions are a testimony to Shaft’s incredible directing. Anyhow, I wouldn’t blame people for thinking it’s a cheap tactic to unsettle shogi opponents. However, Hachiya strikes me as someone who suffers from ADHD. For those reasons, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and you could never really deny his sincere passion for the game. Combine all these quirky traits, and you might even find him endearing. I’d say he won me over, after knuckling down on Kiriyama in the post-mortem, while demolishing parfait after parfait.
Rei forges ahead into the semifinals, and with Nikaidou hot on his heels, I look forwards to seeing what the next few matchup brings. Just how far can his newfound determination take him, or even better, what will he do if he falls short?
So far, the pacing has been nothing short of amazing. Where most other shows would struggle to follow up from a climax, 3-gatsu just seems to naturally transition between moments, continually moving from strength to strength in its depiction of Hina’s problem with bullies. Shaft deserve credit for faithfully following on, but most of my praise has to go to Umino Chica, who set down the entire groundwork that made everything possible. Both her character and story-telling feel organic in their construction,
Anyway, I’d like to play the Devil’s Advocate for Hina’s teacher because reading the manga grants me the benefit of hindsight, thus altering my initial preconceptions. Otherwise, I suspect that I would also be up in arms over how she chose to handle Hina’s situation. While it’s true that the teacher’s passivity is utterly despicable, humans all have their reasons for acting in certain ways. Righteousness is typically the natural course upon which our feelings run, but over time, disillusionment over the system can slowly erode away our capacity to do what’s right. That is to say, we become paralysed by an indescribable fear of failure, to the extent that we’re prevented from taking proper action. Not that it justifies losing courage, when the weak and vulnerable are crying for help. However, it’s completely understandable that not everyone has the same kind of conviction we see within Hina.
Early on in my school days, I remember that I was quick to stand up for my friends, getting in tussles with larger kids who picked on anyone I cared about. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for those who I thought were my friends. What I’m about to tell you precludes my most bitter memories from secondary school.
This guy who could never beat me at Pokémon battles thought it would be hilarious to dump an entire plate of spaghetti over my head out of spite. Not saying I was perfect, considering I was as arrogant as they come and a sore winner. But what shocked me was that none of my friends tried to help me, stand up for me, and all left the scene as soon as they could.
What’s more, this kid went straight to our Head of Learning, and straight up lied to them about how I was the one who threw food at him, landing me into two weeks worth of detention. The kicker? Not one person who I thought of as my friend stood up for me.
Their shallow reasoning was as follows. Judging by my character, they thought that I would be quick to forgive and forget. That is to say, by not choosing a side, they thought could keep both friendships, even though one side had clearly wronged. And the worst thing? I never got an apology from this scumbag.
The ridiculous thing? My ‘friends’ told me to forgive and forget, and ‘make up’ with the perpetrator. Water under the bridge, making life easy for them. The dumb thing? I did exactly that, just to make my ‘friends’ happy. But he always continued acting like he was somehow the victim, and it felt horrible having to stick around someone who had wronged me in such a vile way without remorse. And what my ‘friends’ did was enable his lousy behaviour. One ‘friend’ told me they let him get away with it, because he never directly hurt them, making it okay for them. Needless to say, I don’t speak to that person anymore.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried at the time, cleaning up the floor covered in spaghetti, while the rest of the school kids in the dining room looked on in glee. Much like Hina, I also cried on some random nights, because I felt really abandoned, and the incident messed me up for a long time. However, I managed to come out stronger, and eventually found the genuine friends I had always wanted. There’s one in particular that comes to mind, that I want to talk about.
A Heartfelt Message to My Best Friend
I know you sometimes read these Random Curiosity posts. Whether you’ll read this one is anyone’s guess. Nevertheless, I just wanted to say, I love you lots and thank you for being my best friend over these past few years!
A lot of people in our secondary school misjudged you, readily dismissing you for being ‘lame’. Not only were they completely wrong, but they utterly failed to see your true worth and value. From the bottom of my heart, I am thankful and blessed to have you as my best friend.
While you may be awkward at times, that does not refute the fact that you’re a truly good person at heart, who holds a deep sense of compassion for your peers. You would stand up for me without any hesitation, and properly listen to me when I needed someone to confide in. As I would do for you as well.
Had I known you prior to the spaghetti incident, I know I wouldn’t have experienced such loneliness. As such, it is my regret we couldn’t have been best friends earlier on during our time at secondary school, since I wish I was there to help with your hardships too. I will always have your back, and if I needed someone to have mine, I’d trust you for time immemorial. I hope we can continue to be best friends, till death do us part.