I’d really hoped we’d seen the last of this hat, but oh, how wrong I was.
The pace last week was glacial, but things finally get a kick start again this week. Not so much in plot progression, because honestly, that was still like trying to slog through molasses, but this was an introspective episode; one to reflect the metamorphosis the characters so badly needed. We see things from all three sides during this episode, something I really enjoyed; we also got to see more of Hazuki in the dream world, which was just as stunningly drawn as the previous episode.
I think the person who I enjoyed the most in this episode is Rokka, which is surprising given how fed up I am with her flip-flopping. But her attitude change is largely due to Atsushi; he’s not over himself, not by a long shot, but he seems to have come to terms with the idea that Rokka doesn’t have eyes just for him anymore. His interference is hurting her and causing conflict, and although we can see it’s incredibly painful for him, he tells her (as Hazuki) that she’s never genuinely rejected him and that she needs to stop using her dead husband (him) as an excuse to hide from her feelings.
I felt like this was incredibly mature and selfless given how petulant Atsushi has been over the course of the anime. Not that I blame him, but I think it shows a lot of understanding a sense of coming to grips with his situation. There’s nothing he can do about it, and he’s only harming Rokka by trying to keep her from being happy, and the last thing he wants is to make her miserable.
Rokka coming to terms with her feelings for Hazuki made me want to let out a whoop. She’s very emotionally withdrawn and scared of loving someone again and losing them like she did Atsushi, and because of that she’s been playing hard to get and not taking Hazuki’s feelings seriously. But Atsushi’s comments in the bath were kind of the push she needed to realize that Hazuki really, truly cares about her, and just because he’s young doesn’t mean his feelings aren’t genuine. She was younger than him when she fell in love with Atsushi, so it’s inappropriate for her to trivialize his feelings like that.
She also realizes just how hard he’s been trying for her, how he wants to protect her and care for her, and really that’s all she wants. She wants to have dinner with him and wash his back in the bath, and that’s not something she should run from. It’s a jarring realization, but we got to see a new side of her when she confessed to Hazuki (who was still Atsushi at this point).
All this character development was delightful, and I hope that Hazuki comes back to his body in the next episode. Having Atsushi in Hazuki’s body makes my screencaps hopelessly confusing.
GO Rating: 4/5