I can’t believe we’re already on Episode 5! It feels like this anime is just flying by! I have some mixed feelings about the episode, but all around I thought it was pretty solid, and I’ll admit it now – I definitely cried more than once!
After last week, I’m incredibly happy that Daewi got an episode where he was the focus. I’m also glad that we were able to get a solid amount of backstory and a decent understanding of what his relationship was with Seungtae. Unlike Mira’s episode, this one definitely seemed to focus more on the past and I think it was more effective because Daewi was tied to someone in his past that truly makes him who he is… sprinkle in some tragedy and voila! A recipe to pull at your heart strings. Now, I will admit that I would have wished to see Seungtae and Daewi’s relationship in one of the earlier episodes, but looking back on it, I really can’t see where they would have placed it. However, I do… think that they should have expressed the deal Daewi and Mujin made before the semi-finals and finals. This whole time I thought Daewi’s drive was just to keep moving forward to eventually win and get the money for treatment, but the deal…. left a bitter taste in my mouth. I guess, personally, I could have been okay if that component was left out of it. But for what it’s worth, I think that without the deal, informing Daewi of the death probably would have not been impactful.
All around, I don’t have too much to say about the actual relationship between Daewi and Seungtae other than I’m happy that it was included. Overall, I’d say the arc of the episode was pretty predictable. They were two rivals who became close friends and inevitably if one of them gets sick, it packs a bigger punch if they don’t survive. Still, I liked the way Seungtae was used to show Daewi’s apprehension towards friendship and how he’s grown as a person. Really, I ended up crying once Mira brought out the note… he didn’t even start to read what was in it, I was already gone by that point. And man…. the ending. THE ENDING. Just when I thought things were okay… they hit you again with the feelings. First with the visiting, but then the photo, and THEN THE NOTE???? I was a mess again. And quite frankly, because I cried, I thought this was a very solid episode.
But what about the Seungtae and Daewi moments? Well, I think they were hit and miss. I really didn’t care for Mori’s semi-final match. I think it definitely falls in line with just being too short where it makes me question why they decided to include it. It wasn’t the focus and I get that they have shown that Mori won, but I honestly wish they would have just told us. The extremely short fights leave a lot to be desired. That being said, I do think Mori and Mira’s conversation in the hospital was really nice, and it quickly established that Mira has no ill-will towards Daewi. And I’m equally happy that Mori didn’t have to do something cliched in order to snap Daewi out of his funk. I’m pretty content that Mori still has no idea about Seungtae by the end of the episode. As for the final match? I thought it was cool. It was a ride animation wise and I’m glad that things changed up over time. I liked that they showed us the third person perspective, but also the perspective from each of the fighters. When they went to the calligraphy fight, I’ll admit that it took me a minute to realize that the lines on the screen were still Daewi and Mori, but once the color came through and the two smiled at each other because they were genuinely enjoying the fight? Ah, that was so good!
Overall, I thought this was a fantastic episode, as always, the pacing in some places was a little funky, but I think other moments really let the anime and story shine. Plus, I’m a sucker for anything that make me cry, so that definitely worked in this episode’s favor. I’m excited to see what will happen now that the initial tournament is over, and hopefully I’ll finally start to understand what the heck Mujin means by “Tiger Cub”.