Well, if that just doesn’t ruin the mood, I don’t know what does.
This week’s episode was simultaneously more hilarious and more heart-wrenching than the pilot, and I’m going to have to give some serious kudos to that. I lauded the pilot for getting the issue of Hazuki’s feelings out in the open so soon, and I have to give a standing ovation for Rokka not being totally against the idea. I feel like the progression is super realistic, something I find lacking in most romances. We don’t get any of that shoujo nonsense where the girl finds out that the super attractive guy likes her and she doesn’t know what to do about it; Rokka is flattered, attracted, and although she may not love him, she’s not opposed to the idea of learning more about him.
I’m worried that Rokka may get a little flack from the fanbase for moving on “too soon”, but although an exact date doesn’t stick out in my mind, I get the feeling that it’s been at least a few years since Atsushi died. Rokka looking for a little comfort isn’t unwarranted; she’s been alone all this time, with only Atsushi’s ghost to keep her company (both literally and figuratively).
I think Atsushi is being a little childish (admittedly hilarious, but childish), but I think Rokka’s sickness is a good catalyst for him understanding that he can’t do the things for her that he wants to. He can’t comfort her or take care of her, and it’s going to come down to his desire to cling to their marriage or have someone to care for her. Atsushi really sees how lonely she is, and he realizes that he’s trying to push someone away who genuinely wants to love her and protect her. It’s an agonizing situation to be in, and I can’t say that I blame him for his actions, although I am glad that he appears remorseful about his actions towards Hazuki.
This was a really sobering episode and had a lot of emotional oomph that the first episode didn’t carry. Seeing Rokka crying at her dead husband’s bedside while his ghost tries in vain to comfort her is an image I’ll be seeing for a while to come; it was just so intensely powerful. I’m finding myself rooting for all the characters, not necessarily in the sense of their relationships, but just their happiness and, in Atsushi’s case, their peace.
GO Rating: 4.5/5
There’s not quite as much to say about this episode because it’s a lot of reiteration of what we saw in the previous episode. We see Atsushi getting increasingly violent, and almost hurting Rokka in the process. He seems to be pretty good at focusing his physical retaliations on Hazuki, but the earthquakes he seems to favor as his visceral emotional reactions target the house as well as the shop, not just Hazuki. It’s interesting to see Atsushi start to turn from just a harmless spirit to something that could potentially seriously hurt Hazuki, and I wonder just how far he’s going to take his violence.
We see Rokka continue to be haunted by her memories of Atsushi, with a lot of help from Hazuki. In juvenile fashion, Hazuki is fixated on taking Rokka’s memories of Atsushi and layering himself over top of them. The most healthy way to integrate himself into her life would be to let those sleeping dogs lie and build new memories with her, but he’s very preoccupied with replacing her thoughts and memories of Atsushi with himself. This is something I find understandable for his age, and I think it also acts as pretty good fuel to throw on Atsushi’s fire. This fight between the two men is having serious negative consequences on Rokka, and I wonder what kind of catastrophe it’s going to take to make them realize that this is doing serious harm.
I felt like the pacing in this episode was a bit more sluggish, and although we saw a reiteration of the same themes, it’s interesting to see things continue to get more and more tense between Hazuki and Atsushi and how it negatively affects Rokka. I hope things can settle down before something irreversible happens to her.
GO Rating: 4/5