I’m back! Many thanks to Vantage for covering for me!
Nagisa reached his limit to his happy facade after his parents told him that he had to quit the swim club due to his poor grades. It was nice to finally learn a bit more about Nagisa’s past and why swimming is important to him. Out of all the characters, I think that a lot of people can relate to Nagisa’s struggles the most. He was thrown into a private middle school where all he did was study to the point he eventually lost sight of his dreams and what he was working towards. Swimming with the team was and is still something that gives Nagisa joy as well as the chance to breathe. Being stuck in such intense studying environment and his parents’ control and pressure of having to get high marks and a good job suffocated him. This is why he never brought it up, or shared much about his family because it hurts just to think about it. Up until this point, Nagisa has always been portrayed as the happiest and most optimistic character of the entire cast, so learning about his past and seeing this side of him really added those much needed layers of depth that he was lacking in the first season.
With his team’s support (especially Rei’s), Nagisa was able to muster up the courage to let out his bottled out feelings and for the first time, confront and tell his parents that he can’t quit the swimming club. However out of all the characters, you have to hand it to Rei for being the most realistic one and bring Nagisa back to Earth by explaining that running away from home was not going to change his parents decision, and that he needed to communicate with them properly, instead of assuming that they won’t listen. And most importantly, Rei gave Nagisa that confidence boost that he needed to muster up that courage by reminding him that when Nagisa puts his mind to it, despite being rejected or having and offer declined, he won’t give up until it’s accepted, just as he had done when he was pestering Rei to join the swim team. And in the end, it did pay off as Nagisa parents listened to him and allowed him to stay in the club but under the condition to improve his grades.
Although Nagisa was the star of today’s episode, I had also felt that they were able the shed some more light on Haru’s character (something I felt they have been doing for the past few episodes). Though he is quiet, he is vocalizing his support towards his friends when he realizes that they are acting off, or may be discouraged. Last season it was so heavily focused on Rin’s and Haru’s severed relationship that I feel we’re able to see more of Haru’s caring side this season as oppose to the last. Actually, when I think about what is expected to unfold in the future (given the intense sequences hinted in the opening) I get the feeling we’re going to see many different shades of Haru’s character- and it’s something that I look forward to even though I know it will probably rip my heart out.