Unfortunately, there was no Barakamon this week so I’m sure many of us are exhibiting withdrawal symptoms… So instead, I’ll be going over my thoughts on Ao Haru Ride Episode 9, Free! S2 Episode 9, and Re: Hamatora Episode 9.
Ao Haru Ride
Something must have happened to Kou after he moved abruptly back in middle school. He went from a timid boy to one who has zero cares in the world. His grades are slipping because of this. Tanaka-sensei is probably the only one, at this point, who understands the circumstances. He’s concerned for Kou, but being the stubborn teen that he is, he refuses to acknowledge Tanaka’s help.
I couldn’t help but feel bad for Yuuri in this episode. She watches from the sidelines as Kou and Futaba appear closer than ever. The way they tease each other shows how they feel about each other. Yuuri, on the other hand, is treated as just another person to Kou. He doesn’t engage in deep conversations with her, and he doesn’t engage in any playful banter. Perhaps it’s only because he hasn’t fully opened up to them yet (while he’s known Futaba for years).
Despite the tension at the end of the episode, I highly doubt Kou sees Yuuri as anything more than a friend. They’ve pretty much shipped the Kou and Futaba ship from the very beginning. If anything, this whole situation will just be a big misunderstanding from Futaba to cause some drama within the group. Even though they wished each other luck, someone will end up hurt (at least for a bit) by chasing after the same guy.
The pressure gets the best of Haru. He’s been pretty emotionless, but everyone has their breaking points. He’s completely obsessed with swimming, but being watched by everyone is making him reconsider his passion. As cheesy as it may be, Haru only swims for himself. He swims because he enjoys it, not because people tell him to swim. When he learns he’s being scouted, he begins to feel pressured, he’s now being judged on his every stroke, and its suffocating him.
Even though he claims he doesn’t care about winning, you can tell that there is some competitive drive in him. With all these people watching him, it’s likely that he’s afraid he won’t live up to their expectations, so he stops himself from trying. You can’t fail if you don’t try, right? Up until now, Haru’s only had to worry about swimming, but the fact that graduation is fast approaching, he has to look at the bigger picture. He won’t just be a kid anymore. He’ll have other responsibilities and have to grow up. It doesn’t look like he’s been able to cope with that idea yet which is why he’s trying to remain in his comfort zone by swimming for his own leisure.
I’m a bit on the fence about this episode. Once again, Hamatora decides to do a complete 180 in terms of the atmosphere. Last episode, we had a lot of development, yet they decide to make a comedy sketch for this episode. I wasn’t that interested in it, but at least Hajime and Art got some cute screen time together.
The other half of the episode, we get a bit of plot development. It seems that the Freemum movement and Honey’s Dad’s plans are polar opposites of each other. Freemums want to live freely and on their own terms, while Honey’s Dad thinks that they’re monsters and should be dealt with or used for their own personal gain. The two sides are likely to go to war soon.
That closes out week 9 of my summer anime. With summer break coming to an end, I was a bit busier than usual, but I should now be back on schedule for the rest of my posts this week!