「真昼の月 / 冒険者たち」 (Mahiru no Tsuki / Boukensha-tachi)
“Chapter 60 Midday Moon / Chapter 61 Adventurers”
A sign of Rei’s growth is how he came to consult Hayashida on further courses of action, after realising he had hit a dead end. It’s all well and good, wanting to help people you care about. But I’m so glad Rei figured out, that chucking a load of money at the problem won’t exactly solve it. Not to mention, the Kawamoto family would likely never accept that sort of ‘charity’. He manages to receive a lot of good advice, and it’s another example of how he has come out of his shell in relying upon others.
You have to be doing a downright terrible job, when a teacher from another school is so furious, that they almost take action themselves. Hayashida’s anger towards Hina’s teacher validates most of our negative feelings, regarding her inadequacy. However, it would hardly have been practical for a complete stranger to intrude upon such a delicate situation. As Hayashida says, their best shot at resolving the situation is probably to get a more competent teacher involved. Preferably one strong enough to take Akari’s side, and who would not allow themselves to get trampled by a parent of the bully. However, since it doesn’t seem like this kind of teacher exists yet, I think it would be unwise to dismiss a scenario where parents are called in. While I don’t doubt that gramps or Misaki cannot hold their own, one must always prepare for the worst case scenario, especially if an extenuating circumstance were to force Akari to take their place.
Incidentally, the conspicuous absence of a father is finally brought up, and it seems clear that the sisters avoid talking about him for a good reason. For now, I’ll keep quiet, but the implication is certainly damning. Where was this man when his daughters needed him, and how come we haven’t seen him so far in the series?
We finally delve into Nikaidou’s background, and despite having read the manga, I was unprepared to be hit by so much emotion. In that regard, Shaft managed to arguably elevate these scenes from the original manga, where sadness has become genuine heartbreak. I suppose there had always been implications of Nikaidou’s condition. But a lack of exploration and his primary usage as comic relief really makes you forget about the evident symptoms.
Upon realising he had misjudged Nikaidou for being a spoiled and rich kid, Shimada’s expression of shame honestly reflected my own personal feelings. Originally, I was also put off by Nikaidou’s overbearing personality, and seemingly smug attitude. Though he may be brash and loud, he’s still a wonderful person who wants to live life to the fullest, by becoming the hero of his own story. To that end, he would willingly abandon the prospect of having an easygoing childhood, even if he could never have a conventional one in the first place. But the way I see it, shogi has become his happiness, which more than compensates for any perceived losses.
It is unfortunate that he fell before he could face off Kiriyama in the finals. Nonetheless, I’m proud to know that he fought till the very last breath, even with his debilitating illness holding him back. Nikaidou really possesses the drive to go far, and has hopefully managed to prove his doubters wrong. There is a place in Valhalla, for people with that kind of enduring spirit.
Behind the confident demeanour he projects, it is apparent that Nikaidou has his own worries, especially losing a rival who treats him as an equal. I’m not sure I would agree with him, specifically where he thinks Rei will weaken, by taking sympathy and holding back in future shogi games. In fact, I think his assumption actually discredits Kiriyama’s growth.
Perhaps this might have been true of the Kiriyama from before, who broke down crying at the prospect of having ruined a man and his daughter’s happiness, through attaining victory. But I don’t think this would be true as of now, considering the experiences which Kiriyama has gone through. There now stands a man, who carries a burning conviction to win, for the sake of those that he cares about. Rather than taking pity, I think Rei holds more admiration for his dear friend, and will surely be roused by a desire to exact revenge in the finals. With much more determination going forwards, it’s hard to imagine how Kiriyama won’t be stronger than ever.