“Being Here / Summer Vacation (Part 1)”
Return of the Kawamoto Sisters
From the epic conclusion of a monumental title match, we jump straight into a summer festival, and Someji’s confectionery store decide to set up a stall. All the sisters do their bit to help out, even Momo. But it’s undeniable that things largely fall upon Akari and Hina. It’s been many many weeks since we last saw the beloved sisters. But in this episode, they finally reappear. Although we’re close to the end, I say… better late than never!
Recovering from Traumatic Experiences
After overcoming her struggles, Hina bounces back. More than anything else, it is accompanied by better self-understanding, where she actively strives for the things she actually wants. This is evident in her determination when bringing happiness to others, whether it be family or customer. To that end, she works hard on making the sweets, coming up with some incredible designs as well. Gone are the tears, as she smiles, living for another tomorrow. I absolutely hated how she had to go through so much suffering, but Hina has definitely gained a lot from her experiences, becoming a stronger person in the process.
Unfortunately, not everyone can break free of their chains with ease. I want to talk about Someji, because old people also matter in 3-gatsu. Following the untimely loss of both his wife and daughter, he was left alone to look out for his granddaughters. It obviously helped that Akari was of an age where she could help out, but in the chilling scene where he sees the apparition of loved ones passed away, you can tell that Someji’s been holding on for the sake of his granddaughters. He might be rough around the edges, and gruff at times. That said, I hold nothing but respect towards this amazing grandpa, and reckon that he also needs some love.
Next up, we have Chiho, who still lives with the scars from being bullied. These consequences are particularly nasty, considering she momentarily freezes up at the sight of any girl her age. It might be too late for her to lead a normal highschool life with this kind of social impairment. However, she’s certainly been making progress, thanks to a supportive infrastructure bringing stability into her life. With the help of kind and understanding figures, we can say that Chiho is on a long road to recovery, which would give her a prospect at living out a well-adjusted life.
What of the offenders who caused such a tragedy? Unfortunately, we have to accept that humans are inherently flawed. A dependence on the aforementioned means that our social systems are doomed to imperfection, while our conceptions of justice remain indeterminate. People might have noticed that I’ve always held back on going the full stretch in terms of criticising the previous teacher, or Takagi. As Kokubu-sensei points out, both are clearly victims of an overly demanding society, even if it doesn’t justify their behaviour in any way. They are people too. Most teachers would be naive when dealing with bullies, failing to pinpoint the crux of the issue, whilst espousing a childlike idealism lost upon disillusioned perpetrators. But Kokubu was honest in admitting that he didn’t know the answer, before nailing Takagi’s issue on the head, while offering an alternative means of respite.
It sure sucks knowing that the bullies won’t necessarily pay for their crimes, and I found myself swayed by the new teacher’s idea, that Takagi ought to be severely punished. But through an unfavourable depiction of the new teacher, 3-gatsu does well to remind us of the shortcomings in his approach, as well as the nature of current society. Our system looks to rehabilitate individuals, and get them to realise the fault in their actions. If individuals are unable to realise the errors of their ways, then they will default to their previous behaviour, meaning that recidivism will run rampant. Kokubu has left the ball in Takagi’s court, when it comes to making a sincere apology in the hopes of a heartfelt redemption. Will anything come of it? Hopefully. While my emotions desire a more retributory brand of justice, logic tells me that restoration and rehabilitation are less damaging overall. Considering the young ages of those involved, and the potential for wrongdoers to turn things around, I can see why an educational system would choose to favour a controversial approach, which would be seen as unjust by many.
Compared to the season as a whole, this episode was really easygoing. As a result, I’ve said most of what I’ve wanted to say, meaning I don’t have much to add with these concluding thoughts. Otherwise, there aren’t many episodes left, a fact that fills me with dread. Nevertheless, I’m determined to enjoy this show as much as I can before the end of its run, because it’s quietly solidified itself as my Anime of the Season. I’ll wait a bit longer before biting the bullet, but I’m rather confident that it might even wind up being my Anime of the Year, because it’s been so spectacular throughout its entire run. And that’s it for today folks. Hope to see you next week, for some more 3-gatsu no Lion!