Exam season is looming and the stress everyone is feeling is practically tangible. As always, there was a lot to cover in just this single episode, but if we were to boil it down, this episode really honed in on the idea of comparing oneself to others. Of course, that has been a recurring idea throughout the anime thus far, but this time around we actually get to hear other characters talk about it and even see how affects them mentally. I think there were a lot of shining moments in this episode, especially in the character interactions and I’m excited to see how they will continue to develop overtime.
My sense of time for this anime always seems out of whack. I can’t actually tell how much time has passed between an episode or even how much time has passed during the episode. This one, of course, we start at Winter Break for Christmas and only midway through we join Yotasuke for New Years. How much time has passed since he left the cram school? How long has he had these feelings within him? But speaking of the meeting on New Year’s, it’s one that I really appreciate. As much as I want Yotasuke and Yatora to be friends, their current situation doesn’t really let that happen. First and foremost, we have Yotasuke’s ‘You have everything, but choose art. But I have nothing but art’ sentiment, which I sincerely hope we get to explore more in the future, but at the same time, we have Yatora’s thoughts that Yotasuke is a genius and as a result he’s jealous. Typically, this sort of dynamic would make the two parties straight up ignore each other, but in this case, they become more like rivals (who still can’t stand each other). I love that Yatora is able to so boldly say that he hates Yotasuke. It’s freeing to hear him say that for both of them. In saying so, I think it helps him get over the frustrations that have come in comparing the two and now they can truly be rivals :^).
Now, that being said, I really do think that Yatora should stop calling everyone that is good at art a genius and consistently saying that he only has hard work. I know, I know old habits are hard to get rid of, but it is truly frustrating to see him do that to others, especially when the first episode he talks about how it means nothing to him that people call him a genius. He just puts in the effort to grind. Even Mori said the same thing, she just spends more of her time thinking about her art. Just like Yatora, she had to learn about all the different techniques and improve on her skill. But it’s hard to believe that when you can’t see it. Of course, their art looks good, they’ve been pouring over the skill probably even before they went to High School. They’ve just had more time, and I really wish that would click for Yatora!
Speaking about Yatora and pouring over a skill… I really hope he also takes care of himself. Especially after his conversation with Maki. She’s another person that he feels inferior too, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have her own frustrations and weight keeping her down. I loved the conversation with Maki, the typically outgoing and excited girl seems to take a bit of pleasure in seeing other people suffer. Of course, she is not like an evil villain just waiting for the suffering, but it does make her feel better about her own situations. Maki, despite being a phenomenal artist, is consistently compared to her older sister. We don’t get to hear the comment that has stuck with her, but there was probably some person out there who made an unfortunate off handed comment that sticks to her like a thorn in her side. I love that Yatora is able to vocalize that he had never thought that way. Whether or not he was lying, I think that helped her as well. I’m excited to see the art she produces in the future!
I’d also like to say, I appreciate the conversation that Maki had with Yatora about taking care of oneself. There… are a lot of feelings floating around and most of them are negative. Some of them can turn things that can physically harm the body. For instance, her friend being hospitalized from both sleep deprivation and developing an eating disorder. That spiral likely came for the stress that was put on them for the upcoming exams. It was nice to hear it especially after we had the scene of Yatora on the train practically falling asleep while standing up. But if the message reached him? Who knows, he did have the rash at the end of the episode, and we really don’t know the cause. The closer we get to the first exam, the more stressed I get.
And that first exam is only one week away!! I’m looking forward to seeing how next week plays out, and what Yatora will learn on his art journey!