The bullying arc comes to a conclusion with apt intervention from Kokubu and Chiho reaches out to Hina. Rei’s efforts get validated (bitingly) by Hina. This was one of those weirdly paced episodes where the show over indulges in some cuts- or maybe it’s just Takagi, and how much I dislike her character- it seems pretty lazily written. Nonetheless, I never hated any episode of Sangatsu, and this is definitely not one.
The episode opens with a brief recap of Kokubu informing the sisters that he is ready to take action. He does, evident with the opening shot of Takagi’s grey toned eye after the opening sequence. Takagi turns out to have the most boring and cringiest of outlook on life that your next door neighbor hyper-realist teenage girl has- so I am a bit bummed out about the ‘humanization’ or ‘perspective reveal’ she finally got. I wanted her to be more interesting instead of plain annoying. Kokubu puts up with her irrelevant, incohesive yet brief rant on society and asks what Chiho and Hina got to do with that- which no one has the answer for. Basically, Takagi is boring trash of a character. Then again, it is most probable that the show is aiming to get the message across- that Takagi’s character motives can never justify her actions. Or maybe I am jumping the gun early on this one- maybe she will come back again- hopefully, as a more tolerable character.
Anyway, we are back to pastel saturation in the next scene, with the Kawamoto sisters planting. Hina starts narrating Kokubu’s intervention; he appointed a teacher to each of the students involved in the bullying, and the rest of the student body in the class started to speak up on the matter. And with insincere apologies from the bully and her associates- the bullying saga comes to a (rather) superficial end.
Hina isn’t satisfied, she can’t bring herself to forgive them- which is understandable. They made her friend transfer which affected her life and apologies hardly make up for that. The show flashes back to Takagi sharing her jaded and edgy thoughts on how compassion is a form of hypocrisy. Kokubu says something about the word ‘education’ which I was confused about what he was on about (maybe it’s the fansubs); but I later learned that on looking up a scanlation that Kokubu was talking about the kanji of “education” and how the word isn’t complete without the kanjis of both “teach” and “raise”.
Hina receives a letter from Chiho (impeccable timing)- where Chiho details on her life at a ranch. She is doing well and she is learning to become more socially confident. Chiho ends her letter with, “Can I look forward to seeing you?”. Hina is in tears.
After one and a half episodes, Rei finally makes an appearance. He brings oranges he got from Shimada, and seeing Hina sleeping in the living room- he falls asleep at the doorstep. After getting woken up to his embarrassment by Hina, Rei notices that there was a soft, heavenly glow to Hina- and she gives it away with sparkling eyes “It’s over… probably”. The shot of the outside of the school gets used for the third time- except this time, the sun was brighter, as if it was directly overhead to the plane of the screen.
They sit by the riverside where Hina opens a box of cookies, and she shares her story about how classmates approached her and apologized. They hung out together and made cookies. With an interesting and odd transition from Hina’s story to burning her mouth to sunlight drenching the inside of the mouth to Rei’s chest pain (I just made it more weirder)- Rei feels guilty about not being able to do anything concrete about Hina’s now-resolved situation and apologizes to her. Hina, of course, proves him wrong and bites him and calls him an idiot.
And as Hina takes his hand and does a walk-and-talk-and-dance thing with Rei, he makes a more long term vow towards Hina.
Come on, at this point- it’s love. They were on board that ship this whole time, and props to the author simmering this development so elegantly.