「厄災の日 -What really happened?-」 (Yakusai no Hi: What Really Happened?)
“The Day of the Disaster -What really happened?-“
Overtake! finally explains what exactly happened to Kouya to discourage him from taking pictures of one person after the earthquake. It’s a harrowing and impactful episode that brought tears to my eyes as Haruka gives Kouya the courage and gumption to make peace with the little girl’s grandfather and forgive himself for not saving her.
DRIVE MY GO-KART
I remember mentioning the burden of taking Pulitzer-material photos of war, disaster, and death, and it comes full circle as Kouya mentions Eddie Adams and the execution of Nguyễn Văn Lém. The Saigon Execution photo was seen as evocative of the urgency and stark tragedy of their death, and helped sway public opinion against the Vietnam War across the United States. Adams was also rewarded with the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography and the reputation of being seen as a national hero for having exposed the execution for a wider American audience watching the war from home.
With this in mind, it’s understandable to see why Kouya would have still published the photograph in his despair. The grandfather wanted the photo to be the living memory of his granddaughter and make sure that no one loses sight of what had happened in Tohoku. The possibility of gaining recognition for a haunting photograph could have potentially made Kouya a prominent figure in raising awareness of what Tohoku would need to recover from the tragedy.
Although the backlash would continue to follow Kouya to this day, his valuable connection with Haruka inspired him to open up about his trauma and confront his fears of having to face the family he had previously bonded with before the tragedy took their child. It was hard to learn about how much of a fond relationship Kouya had with the grandfather and his granddaughter before being unable to save her and snapping the picture that would make him look like he let her die for a photo op. It makes it even more of a tearjerker to see that the grandpa never held it against him and genuinely wanted Kouya to keep taking photos.
And props to Haruka for being a major trooper throughout the episode. Just to get Kouya to open up about what he’s been shouldering all these years, he had to take in just about every attraction in Ōfunato, Iwate. Whether it be sightseeing on a boat tour, go-karting to learn Kouya’s secrets, or eating persimmon ice cream moments after pounding down local scallops, he was fully dedicated to sticking around for the long haul if it meant Kouya would be safe and sound.
It was a fresh change of pace to see the episode steer away from the racing circuit in favor of giving Kouya an opportunity to be developed as he battles his own personal struggles with his reputation. With many of the recent episodes dealing with Haruka and his bond with other drivers, it’s nice to see them throw a bone towards Kouya as he gains a renewed sense of drive.