I’m sure I’ve commented on 3-gatsu no Lion‘s masterful execution of tone in the past but I feel the need to bring it up again because this episode really demonstrates it. This episode is definitely easier to stomach through than the last one but there is so much emotional weight to it. Hina seems to be making progress with her mental recovery but how to resolve the bullying is an issue everyone close to her is trying to figure out.
I was afraid that Rei was opting to tackle things by himself so imagine my relief that he has sought some advice from Hayashida-sensei. It’s a smart choice as teachers ought to be the first person you ask in regards to any school-related issue. And unlike that useless teacher Hina has, Hayashida is someone you could definitely count on. The man has helped Rei a ton in Season 1 and it’s nice to see him continue to be supportive here.
The thing about bullying is that there is no universal solution to it and that’s a notion that Hayashida makes extremely clear to Rei. The teacher can’t offer a clear-cut strategy because it really does depend on the people involved. While Rei understandably wants justice for Hina, he does find himself agreeing with Hayashida that causing a commotion could potentially make things worse. What to do also just depends on what Hina herself wants. I can’t imagine a girl like her wishing ill will to even those she dislikes. There isn’t a clear answer to all this but on the bright side, Rei considering a lot of factors with this issue and that’s better than tackling it blindly.
Apparently stopping the bullying isn’t the only way Rei aims to repay the debt he owes Hina. We find out that he’s become extremely motivated with shogi because the good pay will let him support Hina financially. Granted, Rei’s done something like this before. If recall, he has already deposited a lot of his earnings to his stepparents’s account. Still, while Rei does see the Kawamotos as family, I can’t help but acknowledge the absurdity of his goal. I wonder what the Kawamoto trio’s reaction would be; it’d definitely be some level of shock.
The icing on the cake to this scene though is perhaps seeing Nikaidou so ecstatic at how fired up Rei is now. It’s even more amusing considering that he’s completely misinterpreting the situation. Oh well, let the boy be happy that his best friend wants to train with him for once.
Towards the end of the episode, Rei helps carry groceries for Akari. It’s really amusing watching Rei try to be a gentleman by carrying most of the stuff even though it’s clear that he kind of lacks the upper body strength to do so. His weight is also made apparent and upon realizing that Rei only weighs 52 kg (roughly 114 pounds), Akari makes a humorously mad dash to the kitchen and forces Rei to stay for dinner.
As the two prepare the vegetables however, things take a more serious turn. In a moment of insecurity, Akari asks Rei if she’s failing as a maternal guide for Hina. The whole time, she’s been struggling how to best support her sister and at one point, she even asks why Hina didn’t tell her about the bullying sooner. When Someji praises Hina for her efforts, Akari realizes that questioning them could’ve instilled more hopelessness in Hina. Now, she doesn’t really know what to do.
It’s downright heartbreaking to see Akari like this. I’ve always admired Akari how supportive and compassionate she is and this scene really points out how hard being a role model must be for her. She’s painfully aware that she had to rush into her role when her mother died and as a result, her wisdom is limited to the most basic of decent principles. Akari can’t help but think that the maternal support she’s offering is just a carbon copy of what it ought to be for a real mother.
Once again, Rei seems to be taking the reversed role of supporting the people who have supported him so many times in the past. Personally, I would’ve liked it more if Rei remarked on Akari’s strength and effort by themselves as opposed to connecting them to Hina’s. I can’t really disagree with his assessment though. Had Hina not been raised by Akari, she probably would never have developed the courage to stand up to the bullies in the first place. In fact, Hina probably would never have Rei’s back as much as she did if it wasn’t for her sister’s teachings. In that sense, Akari really is Rei’s savior along with Hina. It is natural for one to think how things could’ve been handled better but as Rei points out, that can also speak greatly of Akari’s own determination to be the best sister possible. It’s not exactly an answer to Akari’s worries but it is something that she needed to hear and thanks to Rei, Akari is able to press on more optimistically.
So that’s two Kawamoto sisters that Rei has had a heartwarming talk with this season. Already, I can’t help but notice how heavy 3-gatsu has gotten lately. I swear, if there ends up being an episode where Rei calls Momo his savior, I might die from the feels this show has been giving me.