Wehhh!!! What a cute episode! I mean, it was sad and stressful, but the absolute joy that the ending brought with everyone was incredibly cute. I’m glad that my fears from the previous episode didn’t really come through in this episode. A similar conflict was still there, but it wasn’t due to a familial feud, or misunderstanding, but rather it came out of lack of understanding, but everyone genuinely wanting to support each other the best they can.
I’m so glad they didn’t beat around the bush with Jotaro telling Rei about the training camp, I think I would have flailed in frustration if they had gone in that route, instead they really just announced it at the beginning of the episode and still let it be the source of conflict in the episode, but doing so where the family isn’t fighting with each other. In all fairness though, Jotaro beating around the bush telling Rei things isn’t all that surprising considering he already did it in episode one with his retirement announcement. And so, with Jo out getting ready for his camp, and Leo out “training” Rei is left alone and starts to bottle up her feelings about the situation. And I must admit, I’m starting to lose my understanding of this anime’s focus. Originally, I thought it was going to be about a gymnast and how he was going to make his comeback, but I really feel like we haven’t focused too much on Jo for the past couple episodes. I mean – we had an actual competition that he participated in last week, but we didn’t… actually watch him compete. I don’t think this is that big of a problem, but there’s a bit of frustration in not knowing what direction they want to take.
This episode really took its time in exploring how Rei is impacted by Jotaro’s career and her desire to be as supportive as she believed her mom to be. Because her dad is always busy, she can’t always ask him to do father daughter things with her, because she doesn’t want to get in the way of his practice. Jotaro is…. not a bad dad, but he is pretty clueless. He’s not really going to pick up on the held back emotions and will instead take her word for what she says. In some ways that is a good trait, other times it’s quite frustrating. Mari, her grandmother, is quite busy with work and isn’t one for letting people leave their heads in the clouds for too long. She’s definitely part of the family and everyone cares about her, but she’s not exactly where you go when you need a source of kindness. And then Leo is gone. Disappeared with only a letter and no one knows when he’ll be back. If he were here in this episode, I think that Rei would have been more okay with the situation, but the fact that she felt so alone really allowed this episode to have its impact.
And wowie, this episode made me kind of emotional for Big Bird too? I’m glad that they actually took the time to tell us why the bird is in the series because for a while it just seemed like he was doing comedy duty with Leo. At first, he really didn’t seem necessary. But it’s nice to see that he joined the family after the death of Rei’s mom as a gift from Mari in hopes to help her cheer up. It was a sweet moment, and almost makes me forgive that he’s in the series. I don’t know how I feel about the particular way they went about making him go to the veterinary hospital, but it still served its purpose and was really the tipping point for Rei leaving home.
And boy, did I get teary eyed on the bridge. One I loved that Mari and Ayu sent the gang members and gal girls to go find Rei, but Mari and Rei’s conversation on the bridge was really nice. Especially when Jotaro shows up and Rei completely blows up at him about the bicycle. You go Rei! Tell him your feelings!! So that really just made the ending where he teaches her to ride her bike really charming. Everyone is happy and together again and they were even able to make a reference to what I think is E.T. It was cheesy, but I really cute way to end the episode, especially since there were so many bottled up emotions that came flooding out.
But then things make a complete shift at the very end of the episode with Leo and I hope that means we’re going to finally find about Leo and his history in the next week! So, I really hope we get a great follow up episode next week!