Man, Setsu has quite the family. But boy did a really enjoy seeing them in this episode and finding out the different ways they care about him, despite not necessarily being the most affectionate family member. But hey! At least they managed to connect with each other through duets, and while I certainly think one was more powerful than the other, both were fun to watch. And not only that, but he’s starting school and Maeda is very cute! I’m excited to see more of her.
So, the mysterious lady who busted down the door turned out to be Setsu’s mom and she is quite the character. I like that she didn’t come into the story hoping to reconnect with him and start acting all motherly. Instead, she was more like the cool aunt who sung in to say “hey, I’m here to help you out, but don’t expect too much for me!” And that’s honestly pretty nice. She still got him into school and a place to stay (a boarding house where you can practice?? Umeko please help me find my next apartment!). When it reached the part with their duet, I appreciated that it turned into something where she was pushing him to be more out there. To break through with his playing rather than trying to forge that bond between the two. Setsu outright acknowledges that he hates his mother and she admits to just leaving her kids in the hands of the grandfather. It’s not exactly a situation that can be mended incredibly quickly. And I don’t think either of them will want that. But! They do understand the power each of them has behind her voice and her playing. They are powerful and impactful. All around, a pretty solid way to start the episode.
I kind of wish we would have spent more time with Setsu at school, but I anticipate we’ll spend the rest of the season there. But Maeda is very precious, and I can’t wait to see more of her. The trope of single character is holding together a dying club but conveniently we have a new transfer student who will help us revive it, is kind of old, but I’m not unhappy that we are going down that route. It opens up a lot of opportunity to build up the club and the members within it, so if that’s done well, I’m looking forward to future episodes. Hopefully, they’ll be able to restore that Shamisen though… maybe they can use that large donation from Umeko to fix it.
It took me a while to warm up to the brother plot in this episode primarily because the tension between the two of them seemed a little forced. Perhaps they were just trying to make that reunion awkward since Setsu did just up and leave his home one day and ended up staying with a pin-up girl? But during the course of the episode, I enjoyed the conversations they had with each other. I like that Wakana, his brother, said what he felt about playing. That he reached a point where he is just painfully behind where he wants to be and doesn’t consider himself a good player. But then Setsu comes back later on and says that regardless of who is playing, he could always pick out his brother’s sound. And that was just a really sweet moment. They played it off like he was silly for saying though, but since the series focuses so much on an individual’s sound that was really nice to hear.
But the real star of the episode was their duet at the shrine. Unlike the one with his mom in the beginning of the episode, this was one that was meant for connection. I really am just a sucker where people can connect without even exchanging words. First, they were playing a song they made when they were younger with a lot of flashbacks, but then Setsu pushes on forward and *clutches chest* it was just so nice!! I can’t even find the words to describe how much I loved that moment. I didn’t quite get teary-eyed, but if this is where we’re at in episode 2 there’s a high likely hood that I’m gonna cry by the end of the series.
So, overall! This episode had a different feeling than the pilot episode, but I still enjoyed it! I do think it was a little bumpy for me in some places, but it wasn’t anything that would make or break the series. I’m really looking forward to seeing how all of Setsu’s relationships with his family, friends, classmates, and acquaintances start to flourish!