Satowa has finally come up with a title for her nameless piece. Tenyuu, written as “The Heavens Cry”, a beautiful title carrying the sentiment of the club and the support they have given to help her overcome her hardships. However Satowa won’t be the only one who will be facing Tenkyuu head on for the first time since that competition. In comes Akira and her grandmother, who suddenly extends an offer to “assist” the koto club as an instructor. Akira was also a participant in that competition, one which she had won, while Satowa was disqualified.
I don’t think it’s too hard to put the piece together of why she is harbours so much resentment to both Satowa and Tenkyuu. It’s probably safe to say Satowa was among the favourites to win the competition, and so because she was disqualified, Akira’s victory wasn’t to her satisfactory. Having read the manga, I must say it’s tough to hold my tongue on the full details of why Akira hasn’t been able to see the light of day since then, so that’s all I am going to say about this matter for this episode. I’ll dig a bit more into it the next week since we will be given the backstory of why that is.
Nevertheless, regardless of their history, the simple fact that Akira is affiliated with the Hozuki’s Koto School is enough of reason for the group to be skeptical about her intentions.
Hiro and Kota were the two who had the most explosive and defensive reaction, daring enough to challenge Akira even when they didn’t know too much about her own ability. But of all of them, it was Hiro who was the most vocal about it. (Gosh she is so fiercely protective of her friends! I LOVE HER SO MUCH!) She was especially frustrated with the way Akira would talk down to them, and ridicule both them and Satowa to the point that she became upset with Chika for complying with her. But it wasn’t that Chika wasn’t just as upset as she was, he just channeled that frustration in a more productive way. He knows their technique are severely subpar to Satowa’s and it’s because they suck that she isn’t getting the respect she so rightfully deserves. So he chooses to take advantage of Akira’s lesson and focus on producing results in order to prove that they are taking her instructions very seriously.
And that was precisely why Takinami had accepted the offer in the first place. He knows if they want to have any hopes of winning Nationals, they need a proper koto instructor, who will teach how to master the basics and help them improve their techniques. This will also in turn give Satowa more of her practice time back since she has been giving a lot of it up to help the others.
Yet despite the risk, Takinami doesn’t seem particularly concerned about it, nor does he really have any reason to be. He has witnessed these guys fighting against the world from the get go. He knows they have the strength to stick together and are dedicated enough figure things out themselves. A great example of that is with the way they implemented their own arrangements of the basics practice routine by using the patterns from Tenkyuu. It’s a clever idea to mesh the difficult piece they need to practice while working on their foundations after having neglected it due to various circumstances. Takinami also showed us he is prepared to sweep in when it’s necessary, which we saw him do when Akira disagreed with their practice methods. It was thanks to his re-enforcement to stick to their arrangement for practice that Akira decided to go along with it.
That isn’t to say Satowa doesn’t have her own reservations though. The first thing that crossed her mind was Akira potentially having ulterior motives that may cause problems for the club (and sure enough, there is, since the old hag wants to intimidate her out of the music world for good!). But it is because she recognizes the opportunity they have to take advantage of her teachings.
Aside from the tension between Akira and the others, there was a lot of great moments this episode. It was so adorable Hiro being over the moon about the new seating arrangements since she is now right behind Takezou. She subtle at all, and I don’t think Takezou is nearly as dense as she thinks or hopes him to be, haha! There was also that goofy scene with the boys running into the club room only to charge into Takinami and fall over like dominoes. I thought the interaction was heartwarming despite the fridge gaze from Akira. It’s a dark world she’s living in right now…
But the best part of the episode had to be when Chika astonished everyone by when he nailed the basics. Akira hadn’t expected him to come up close for a better view of the demonstration, and gravely underestimated his commitment to the koto. Too bad they cut out the scene (though maybe they might add it in next week) of Chika drawing seventeen lines on his desk (with a permanent marker!!!!) so he could practice even in class! What would she think if she knew, hahahahahaha!
That being said, it is worth to note, is that to some degree, Chika was born with a remarkable talent for the koto. His grandfather saw it in him, Satowa clearly sees it, and everyone else around him is starting to realize just how much potential he has. Chika is a diamond in the rough, just waiting to be polished and refined. Of course that isn’t to say he is a genius, he’s not. His rapid growth is thanks to his unwavering commitment to the the koto, his headstrong determination to improve, but most importantly, the ability to better grasp how things work through observing demonstrations. That being said, the speed in which he can improve can certainly be intimidating for others like Sane, who has yet to do as well despite having a head start with the 17-Stringed koto.
Last but not least, I am SOOOOOOOO happy they finally included the actually sound of them practicing! It wasn’t too much, but at least it was SOMETHING. MORE OF THIS PLEASE!!!