Hachiken finally gets his date — but not without some obstacles.
What They Say:
“Komaba Stands on the Pitcher’s Mound”
With Komaba’s help, the baseball club is two wins away from the spring prelims. Meanwhile, Hachiken finally manages to go on a date with Mikage, but…
Content: (please note that the content portion of a review may contain spoilers)
Now that the festival is over, and Hachiken is back in (mostly) good health, Hachiken has time for something he’s been looking forward to for ages — a date with Aki. Hearing about a local shrine with horse enma, he asks her there, to which she reacts with adorable delight. The scenes leading up to and involving the date are mostly good for humor: Tokiwa, seeing the two of them leave, attempts to tag along until all of Aki’s girl friends beat the snot out of him and tell Aki and Hachiken to run, and then when they arrive and the entire equestrian club is already there, making their own wishes. But it’s also full of sweet moments, as they write their wishes together, and the whole event is even more awkwardly cute now that Aki knows how Hachiken really feels, and seems more and more to be returning those feelings.
Following all of this is the baseball tournament, where classmate Komaba is showing his stuff as the closing pitcher in the games. The entire school becomes emotionally invested in the games, even the teachers, who play the games during class. During the game that will determine whether Ezonoo makes it to the finals of this round, Hachken and the other boys get the dairy teacher to let them watch it on the screens where he’s monitoring pregnant mothers. This leads to more funny scenes as each time the teacher checks back another cow is giving birth, and as the only dairy science student Hachiken is dragged away to help birth the calves and clean up placenta, causing him to miss key parts of the game. This helps speed the game along, skipping some of the boring aspects of baseball, and is great for some laughs at Hachiken’s expense.
The team, unfortunately, winds up losing at the last second, as a gust of wind blows an easy pop away from an outfielder. We’re shown an obviously crestfallen Komaba, but he handles it well, commending rather than blaming the outfielder. But at the end of the episode, when Hachiken and the others note that he hasn’t shown up to class, we start to wonder just how hard he’s taking this lost chance.
Hachiken gets a big moment in this episode as well, when he talks with Aikawa — the would-be vet who’s terrified of blood — as they leave the horse shrine. He asks about Aikawa’s wish, something that Hachiken struggled with since he has no dreams of his own, like Aikawa’s dream of being a vet. This is old thing that Hachiken’s been bringing up since the first season, but what keeps it from being redundant here is the insight Aikawa provides: while Aikawa and the others may be mentally tied down by the dreams that are propelling them, Hachiken can still do whatever he wants. “You’re dreams are wide open.” A freeing thought, which we can only hope will help Hachiken later on.
It’s nice to see the show take a little of the focus off of Hachiken this episode and point it toward another, even if it’s just for a time. With Komaba we don’t get the same inside struggles that Hachiken always provides, but even outwardly we’re able to see his pride and then disappointment, until finally we’re left curious how this hiccup in his dream will affect him in coming episodes. Despite some bits meant for humor, Hachiken gets the chance to relax this time, and finally gets the date he always wanted (sort of). So in some ways this is a less emotionally stressful story than what we’ve gotten recently. Hachiken may have also made some headway in realizing it’s okay to have a life that’s not planned out, but how well he’s able to implement this possible new wisdom is something we’ll have to wait to see.
Streamed by: Crunchyroll
Review Equipment: 13″ Apple Macbook set to 720p