Oh, the Leo episode! We finally get to see what he’s running away and hiding from and I definitely don’t blame him for wanting to run away. But on the other hand, it’s nice to see his story in comparison to Jo’s especially when you consider how much Jo’s gymnastics mean to Leo. It’s really interesting to see Leo go from the upbeat, cheerful character that he’s been, to someone much more afraid and sulky!
We start off the episode by viewing Leo’s first experience with Jotaro in Lausanne where the Aragaki was first created. Looking down from the seats above Leo sees a very fierce and determined gymnast that he absolutely can’t take his eyes off. He becomes enamored with Jo’s gymnastics and it seems in this moment, he becomes inspired to pursue what makes him happy (but I might be wrong about that part. They don’t make it super clear about the timeline of when Leo started ballet and when he saw Jo for the first time). Little does Leo know, but the energy that is radiating off his hero is probably more of a mixture of determination, stress, and worry.
Correct me if I’m wrong about this, but Jotaro’s biggest low probably came after that event in Lausanne. To still decide to compete after receiving news of your wife’s accident, that must weigh heavily on the mind. And there’s no clear indicator if he actually got to say goodbye to her, or if she was already gone before he was able to get back to her. But even before the loss, he missed his grip on the bar and that was a very physical way of everything to come crashing down. Upon returning home Jo definitely gets into a depressive state, understandably, after losing someone so close to him, but at the same tie he’s surrounded by a bunch of people who support him in his desire to continue gymnastics. Of course, before Leo, his continuation was rather destructive on his body, but he wanted to keep going no matter what.
Leo on the other hand was inspired by the expressiveness and determination that came from Jo’s performance. And as a young child he was really good at being expressive in ballet and he enjoyed it! But his talent caught the eyes of others and they immediately placed large expectations on his shoulders. They believe that no matter what he should be able to do it and it sucked the joy of ballet out from him. It made the stage a painful place to be with all of those onlookers that had such high expectations for him. He never felt like he was good enough or that he couldn’t live up to those expectations and eventually led him to crack under pressure. He still loves to dance, but he wants to do it without being weighed down by all of the expectations. Everything looking at him with expectation brings him a lot of stress.
And so, it’s really interesting to see how both of them ended up heling each other. Jotaro’s gymnastics brings a lot of joy to Leo’s life however, Leo came into practically crash Jo’s retirement party which led them all to where they are now. Now it seems like that tables have turned, and Leo has lost that cheerful attitude and it’s up to everyone else to truly support him in his endeavors. But on a semi-related note, I like how they tried to incorporate the missing white owl that was trying to find its way home and how that seemed to tie in with Leo’s story. Everyone was trying to help the poor bird get home, even big bird was practically coaching him from behind the TV. And that bird was able to get a happy ending by being reunited with the owner, so I hope Leo is able to find his happy ending as well.
Overall, I think this episode took a different route than other episodes have and I’m not too sure how I feel about it. I don’t dislike it at all, but I was pretty confused about the timeline of when things were happening. We only have a couple episodes left so I wonder if they’re going to pick up the pacing and need to shove a bunch of content in before we reach the end. Either way, I hope for the best for Leo and Jo!