Hachiken takes charge of Aki’s tutoring, but it may involve an unpleasant task.
What They Say:
Content: (please note that the content portion of a review contains spoiler)
Beginning at their return to school from Aki’s house, Aki reveals what happened between her family — that she admitted to her dream of working with horses and didn’t want to take over the ranch — through a phone call with Komaba. Now, she’s going to attend university, or at least try to. Hachiken, it seems, has made another promise, and has told Aki that he’ll help her study for entrance exams, what he knows is a difficult task when he looks at her earlier exams and can think of only one encouraging thing to say: “Definitely better than Tokiwa!” He figures out some tricks to help her by connecting historical events with horses, the only thing Aki seems capable of memorizing, but Hachiken knows he’s going to need some more help with this task.
Aki’s become more open and honest in recent episodes, but now that she’s working towards her dream, everyone notes how much happier she seems, especially when she works with the horses. Hachiken also shows a bit of growth and understanding of himself when he does the unthinkable: he says no to someone! The student asking him for a favor admits that he thought Hachiken would just agree since he’s a “yesman,” but it looks like Hachiken’s finally got something of a handle on his pathological need to accept every problem presented to him.
And it’s a good thing he said no, when the solution to his problem tutoring Aki hits him. First, his friends make him realize he needs to call his brother, whose studying got him into Tokyo University (before he dropped out to become a drifter). Then his brother agrees to let Hachiken use the notebooks he kept — he just has to get them from their parents’ house. Earlier in the season, we saw firsthand how difficult Hachiken’s father is to deal with, not to mention his clueless if well-intentioned mother, and it was finally clear why he insisted on going to a distant boarding school for high school. And now he’s going back, not for himself, but so he can help someone he cares about, and maybe that can give him the courage to stand up to whatever might happen with his family.
This season has been focusing on the pursuit of dreams, even more so than season one, and as Aki takes those steps to having a career with horses it’s nice to see a dream that, while not exactly achieved yet, is being hoped for and worked towards. This has also been a season about families, as Aki’s biggest obstacle in stating towards her dream was her fear of disappointing her family. And we do see, when the episode goes back to them, that there’s confusion and disappointment, but in the end her family is supportive, because even though they had certain expectations of her ultimately what they want is there happiness. This is a different picture from Hachiken’s family, where the father has no sympathy for the sons who did not do the things they were supposed to do. Now, Hachiken’s going to face that, a brave step after what happened at the hospital. After the things he’s realized about himself in the episodes since, we’ll see if Hachiken can pull through another encounter.
Streamed by: Crunchyroll
Review Equipment: 13″ Apple Macbook set to 720p