How much money did Hachiken make at his summer job? Enough to buy some pork…
What They Say:
“Hachiken Says Goodbye to Pork Bowl”
Upon being told that Pork Bowl will be sent off the following day, Hachiken proposes to buy Pork Bowl after he has been processed into meat. Fuji accepts Hachiken’s purchase offer. A few days later, Pork Bowl’s meat arrives…
Content: (please note that the content portion of a review may contain spoilers)
The same issue that’s been cropping up again and again since the first pig episode starts things off here, as Hachiken is again sitting with Pork Bowl, making sure he eats enough. Yoshino, one of Hachiken’s female classmates, comes in while this is going on, and tells Hachiken how he’s been making people think about how they take killing the farm animals for granted. While it starts off on this somber note, there comes a temporary distraction in the form of poor, stupid Tokiwa, who hears snatches of their conversation (“I’m going to have a bump soon” after Yoshino hits her head, and “You better take responsibility!” if she doesn’t want to eat pork anymore). He immediately misinterprets things, spreading a rumor through the school, getting everyone flustered — including Aki — and getting Yoshino and Hachiken sent to the teacher’s office to discuss “inappropriate sexual conduct,” which quickly ends with blame and punishment piling on Tokiwa.
The episode quickly slides back into serious territory again as Hachiken and the others discover that the pigs — Pork Bowl included — will be sent out and butchered the next day. Hachiken, after obviously building up some resolve, asks if he can buy Pork Bowl, but not as a pet as everyone assumes. Instead, Hachiken wants to use his hard-earned summer job money to buy Pork Bowl’s meat. This leads to a pair of heavy scenes, as Hachiken wakes up early to spend one last morning with Pork Bowl, reminiscing about the pigs short life, and later as Hachiken and the other students watch the pigs get driven away. A few more brutal moments follow, as one of the classes show an optional video on how the entire butchering process works. Hachiken still sits through it, including the jarring shot of a pig being drained of blood, and the question of whether he is making himself stronger or just plain torturing himself definitely pops up. But Aikawa’s struggles, though coming from a different place — the sight of blood disgusts him, but he’s so intent on being a vet that he sits through the video as well — mirrors something that might be going on in Hachiken’s mind.
Another problem arises when the meat does arrive, as Hachiken has to figure out what to do with 50 kilos of pork. After some thinking, and a goofy moment as he imagines a variety of people trying to steal his meat, he turns much of the pork into bacon, taking care of the entire process himself with only Tamako’s brother there to direct him. Later, as he smokes it, Komaba makes the connection that with the smoke rising in the air it’s like a funeral for Pork Bowl. The comment soon morphs into another bit of humor, as he and another baseball player begin drooling as they say how eating the bacon will be an honor to Pork Bowl, but while the seriousness is still there the sentiment rings true.
This was a very conflicted episode, as doubtless a good number of fans were hoping that Hachiken would somehow save Pork Bowl from being eaten. That the episode ends with him eating Pork Bowl is a bit morbid, and possibly disturbing for some. Plus, it does seem like Hachiken’s character keeps looking for the most difficult way to go through his life at Ezonoo. While this may be true to a certain extent, the direction this story took is pretty realistic, as well as sensitive to the whole problem of becoming fond of the animals you have to eat. We may have wanted Pork Bowl to survive, but that would have been such an overly sentimental track for the story to take, and in the end that would have undercut one of the anime’s driving points, that Hachiken is learning about and understanding farm life, which means in part that he can’t impose his city-boy views and morals on these things. It’s bittersweet, as Hachiken cries out at the conclusion, but that’s just because the farming part of the show sticks to what’s true, rather than to what we want it to be like.
Streamed by: Crunchyroll
Review Equipment: 13″ Apple Macbook set to 720p