Oh man, what an episode. We pick up the next day after what had happened in the previous episode. And, if I’m honest, I was totally expecting Maki to push the situation under the rug and continue to assert that he was the one who broke the racket despite Toma pestering him. But I was surprised to see how this episode managed to handle the interaction.
Maki finally talks to Toma about the situation between him and his dad. We soon find out that Maki’s parents have been divorced since he was eight, but the impact his father has left on him has scarred him into ever confronting him in the future. I’m glad that Toma responded in the way that he did, because it could have easily turned into a “Well, why don’t you just do this??” type of situation. Shortly afterwards we got what was probably the most intense scene yet (at least for me anyways).
Since the ending of episode one, we have come to understand that Maki’s father is a figure to be feared. We can collectively agree that he’s a pretty darn awful father, but that doesn’t change the fact that when he shows up, something bad is about to go down. Once Maki and Toma finish up their conversation, we are treated to an extended moment of Maki’s father approaching Maki’s apartment. And, as a side note, this is the first time we actually see the elevator used, because Maki has only ever taken the stairs. I don’t know if this is significant but it definitely stood out to me and definitely increased the suspense in the moment. But nevertheless the still manages to enter Maki’s apartment, tracking in dirt, to demand his money. Now, I was expecting Maki to perhaps continue hiding the money that he had received, but I certainly wasn’t expecting Toma to stand his ground and threaten Maki’s father like he did. I was so tense in that moment because I was just so worried for what would happen to Toma and Maki. But thankfully, they both are able to get out unscathed, at least for now. And… ahhhh just the hug at the end…. it was just a really well done end to everything that had happened.
After this confrontation we shift over to see a bit of the School President’s home life. Since we’ve met her she’s definitely been snobbish, mean, and acts superior at school and it appears that definitely comes from her upbringing. She comes from a very privileged family, but even then it seems like she has her own struggles. Her mother and grandmother seem to consistently fight over what’s best for her despite never really considering what she wants as a whole. I’m glad that they were able to sprinkle in a little bit more of her own personal struggles to flesh her out a little bit. I don’t know if we’re going to get much more background on her own relationship with her family, but I’m glad that they were able to spend a little bit more time on her.
But then it’s right back to the tennis club and we begin to learn more about Rintaro. Over the past few episodes we’ve seen that he has been noticeably disheartened since Maki has joined the team. He has very low confidence in himself and finally admits this to Toma once they sit together to talk about practice. He states that he’s a useless vice president and the team was suffering due to his leadership. Toma, naturally begins to fight this sentiment, but Rintaro continues by talking about how his parents would never have given birth to such a failure had they been able to. Toma again pushes back saying that Rintaro’s parents are anything but disappointed in him, but is then met with push back about Rintaro stating that he had been adopted. And while his adoptive parents still love him he definitely sees himself as unwanted, leftover, or a stray. We don’t really get a conclusion to this conflict for Rintaro, but Toma still attempts to challenge the negative thoughts, by saying it doesn’t matter what the circumstances were he still have parents who love and care for him.
Overall, if I could give Toma an award for this episode I would. With what he did for Maki as well as his conversation for Rintaro, I think we got to see a really good side of him in this episode. Previously, I think he’s been pretty overshadowed by Maki and some other club members, but he was definitely able to stand out in a very good way in this episode.
And so, after a very well done episode, we’ll dive into their practice match against another school. And oh man, the kid from the rival skill has already managed press all the wrong buttons and they haven’t even gotten started yet.