「大安吉日」 (Taian Kichijitsu)
Another little tear-jerker this week, as we get more insight into Joujima’s painful past. The tragic death of his mother, the growing distance between him and his father, and his lone journey over the years as the sole member of the school’s water polo club, his story should be made into a series itself. Back to the episode, though, this one was definitely among the least action-packed in terms of seeing some pool action, but it definitely built more on the team’s bonding as previously established premises have been unpacked.
Joujima’s Depressing Story
If there is one character I can say has a heart of gold in this series, it’s definitely Jo Joujima. Last episode, he revealed “love” as his driving force, but it certainly was not the romantic type of love we were led on to assume. No, instead it was a far more pure love for one’s father, who had lost his wife in an accident and struggles to find joy in his day-to-day life. Joujima longs to talk with his father again like in the old days when his mother was alive, and reignite a lost relationship of warmth and love. A glimmer of hope shines upon us, however, as we learn that Papa Joujima was once the captain of the school’s water polo club, a path in which young Joujima has followed with a passion. It may seem trivial to some, but I really want to see Joujima reignite that loving relationship with his father, and if succeeding as a water polo captain is the way to do it, then I’m behind him 100%.
Strange Rhymes with Change
After Amihama vowels to change for the sake of defeating his brother and rival, the team seals the deal on their jersey logo, going with the Kanji characters for “change.” When someone as stoic and free of emotion as Amihama has a change of heart, you know your story is impactful, and that’s exactly how I (and surely many viewers) felt about Joujima’s tale. Every member of the team is embracing change, albeit by just being on the team, and the only way they will start winning matches is by embracing change, inside and out.
Not the most charismatic phrase out there, but it was a nice turning of the tables when the team’s jersey logo of “change” was written to read “strange” instead, courtesy of Joujima’s goofiness. The misspelling of the English term “water polo” to “water ball” was also a hilarious reminder that language barriers are a thing in anime, again, courtesy of Joujima. I really liked Minato’s take on it, however, accepting that no matter how you look at it, their team is indeed strange, and only by embracing the uniqueness of one’s character can you step towards real change. After all, “strange rhymes with change.”
Can the Real Minato Please Stand Up?
I suspected it may have been the case, but not to this extent. Yes, Minato was a huge hot head back in the glory days, and it seems his amnesia did a lot more than just kill off his water polo skills, and thank goodness for that. Along with a loss in physical abilities, our boy has had a major reform in personality after his coma, and his family is the living proof of this change. “He’s changed since then,” Asumi Kiyomizu asserts to the agreeance of their mother, and this “change” is made all too clear when Minato bears witness to a shocking video of him screaming at his teammates and aggressively assaulting the cameraman.
Minato must now make peace with himself and seeing these old videos of his darker side is sure to put him on a path of redemption. The current Minato would never in his wildest imaginations have thought he’d turn out like this, so I look forward to seeing how he approaches water polo glory in a purer state, the right way. I’m predicting a change of pace for the next episode, as the boys are digging deeper into their own truths and stepping out onto a journey of self-actualization, breaking down their own barriers and inner demons.
Also, the food in this episode was absolutely mouth-watering…