OP: 「ブリザード」 (Blizzard) by (Burnout Syndromes)
「林檎の花」 (Ringo no Hana)
In this episode, we are given some more details about Setsu’s family situation. Yes, as it turns out, the crazy lady that came barging in at the end of episode 1 is in fact Setsu’s mother, Umeko Sawamura (Takako Honda). She comes in to set things straight with her son, after hearing about the death of her father (Setsu’s grandfather), Matsugorou Sawamura (Tomohisa Asou), by placing him in a boarding house and sending him to attend high school.
Umeko is no doubt a very talented and experienced character, as she forces Setsu to get his shamisen out and play a song with her as she sings out to the town’s people from the apartment window. Her plan was an absolute success, and Setsu quickly became a well-known and respected person among the towns-folk, thanks to his mother’s intervention to give him a solid foundation for his shamisen success.
While we caught glimpses of him in the last episode, this time we are given a proper introduction to Setsu’s older brother, Wakana Sawamura (Yoshimasa Hosoya), who visits Setsu to find out his motives for leaving their home town, Aomori. We learn that Wakana is also a very talented player of the shamisen, as we are given glimpses of his past as the two brothers would gather around their grandfather in adoration of his awesome skills with the instrument.
At this point, we as the viewer can start to paint a better picture of the Sawamura family, and it is clear that music has had a huge influence on their lives, the boys with their shamisens and their mother Umeko with her incredible traditional-style singing. One thing they all have in common however, is their enormous respect for the legendary late Matsugorou, whose death had impacted each of them differently.
For Umeko, the impact of her father’s death prompted her to guide her children properly, and act more like a mother in a sense, as she spends much of her time away from her sons to pursue her idol career, in which she is quite successful. The way Matsurogou lived his life and the way his death has drawn his offsprings into action is simply poetic in nature, as each member is trying their best for their own dreams, but while also looking out for their juniors in the family, to ensure they are heading in a good direction.
This aspect of helping the younger, less-experienced, bloom into something beautiful, is a recurring theme in this series, and even Setsu has his moment of passing on his knowledge and experience to a junior. Evident in the scene in which he meets classmate, Shuri Maeda (Yume Miyamoto), Setsu teaches her a few things about the shamisen, and Shuri develops an admiration for Setsu, and becomes inspired to reignite the down-and-out school shamisen club.
Upon receiving Wakano’s blessing to pursue this path of the shamisen in Tokyo, Setsu asks his brother to perform a song with him before he heads back to Aomori. The two sit together at a shrine, and play a nameless song from their childhood, which they claim was made by just hitting random notes and letting loose, as their free spirits took over the shamisen.
In yet another spectacular sequence of episode-ending shamisen tunes, Setsu and Wakana play their hearts out, as their bond as brothers is nicely linked to scenes of their childhood, as Setsu is chasing his brother and trying to keep up. As the sound of the shamisens intensify, Wakana thinks to himself, “you’ve caught up, huh?”, to which Setsu responds in his own mind, “I’m going on ahead.” Setsu then takes the lead with the song as Wakana struggles to keep up with his pace, representing how Setsu has now surpassed his older brother in playing the shamisen.
An awesome wrap-up to yet another very promising episode!