Episode 9

With a title like “Wandering Knife” I knew this episode was going to be intense, but I was still caught off guard with this week’s episode. I’m not fully caught up on the manga, so this was my first time experiencing this arc for Yuka and it sends shivers down my spine. We’re lucky to see Yuka and Yatora’s perspectives on the situation, and I’m absolutely looking forward how their trip to the ocean plays out in the following episode.

We’ve reached the point where there are only three students left in Ooba’s art class, Yatora, Hashida, and Maki and they are quite the fun group to be around. Turns out Yota was also able to pass, so hooray for everyone involved. Yatora is interested in learning colors and I really appreciate how this episode handled that learning path. Obviously, he’s not a color expert yet, but I like that he starts out with just identifying colors as “red” and “yellowish-red”, which is something much more familiar. But as the episode progresses, he slowly learns about the relationships and stories that the colors tell. How it isn’t just mashing colors together but taking the time to understand meaning with the color. And I love how we see that first taste with Yuka as they talk about the color Vermillion. They are able to tell a story with it and how it was considered a death sentence for Cinnabar miners, but at the same time you can see how Yuka connects with the color. I really am looking forward to hearing more in the future.

But at the end of this meeting, it’s revealed that Yuka is giving up on art school but provides Yatora with no reason to the decision. This, of course, is a shock, but it’s actually thanks to Maki and her friend where he’s sees another side of the coin. That sometimes the decision to not continue and take a different path is okay. And for a while, that seemed to be a sufficient enough answer. You may expect or even want someone to do one thing, but it’s ultimately their decision on how to move forward – even if you disagree with it. But as the episode goes on, we see that there’s even more than meets the eye. Yuka is in a rough position and even now there are so many things that we don’t know. A few episodes ago, they were getting berated by their father about not being normal and it was becoming clear that the home life was not good. Their father is angry, mother is an alcoholic, and grandmother is the only one they feel close to – and even that is almost like a trap. Yuka cares very deeply for their grandmother and the relationship that they have. And that relationship comes through with Japanese art. And in some ways, I think Yuka feels like they can’t explore the art that they want to because of it. There are many things that they want to do and be, but there seems to be a block in every direction. AAAA I’m just really looking forward to hearing Yuka talk about their situation – it’s going to be emotional, but I’d really love to learn more about them and their thoughts!

And among all of this I really love the idea of Yaguchi being the model student. I think they did a good job explaining the meaning and his role in everything that is happening. He does the right thing, but he can’t really empathize with the situations that others are going through. Or you could also read it as you’ll do the right thing, but you’ll stay out of the water just enough to help, but still be removed from the situation. So, by the end of the episode when he takes that step into the train it gets really powerful. And it really builds up the suspense as he declares that he’ll jump in, but he will struggle to stay afloat, but he won’t drown. This is all just happening in a really emotional moment! I was really worried as the train was coming through and I’m glad that the two of them are together right now.

Gah!! I’m so stressed, I can’t wait to see how this plays out in the following episode. I hope Yuka and Yatora are able to make a connection and understand each other better. But at this point I’m expecting the next episode to be even more emotional than this one, so I better make sure I have tissues at the ready.

Episode 10

I absolutely adored this episode. I loved the vulnerability of both Yuka and Yatora with each other as they were naked in the inn. They were able to have such a genuine conversation and I just can’t believe how lovely this episode was. In fact, I honestly don’t think I can find the words to describe this episode. I’m just incredibly pleased with the dialogue in this episode that I feel strangely at peace. After episode 9, there were so many emotions swirling around and even after the end of this episode I don’t think any of the troubles have disappeared, but by just having this experience things have been all laid out on the table and any barriers seem to have subsided.

I can’t stress how much I appreciate the interactions between Yuka and Yatora. There’s a lot of tension between the two and they don’t really try to be close to each other, but as a result they are also able to have these conversations that they may otherwise be afraid to have with someone else. They care about each other, but they aren’t necessarily the best of friends. In fact, they both get frustrated and how they go about their life. They don’t always see eye to eye, but sometimes that’s exactly the person you need to talk to.

Yatora has gone out of his way to spend time with Yuka, and Yuka – though they don’t really say it, is still worried for Yatora and the exam. I just find their dynamic so interesting as they seem to encourage things from the other without necessarily needing to cheer them on. Rather it’s more of a “Hey, do this.” and for them it works out really well. I’m also glad that they talked about whether or not Yuka was planning on killing themselves. There’s been a lot of dialogue that has been nerve-wracking, so hearing their own perspective on it was almost relieving. Then comes the vulnerability of facing yourself naked – like many people it’s a sight that has been seen many many times, but at this point we might not pay too much attention to it. But an exercise like the one they did, you’re able to see more detail and see that you look like a lumpy eraser with random patches of hair. There are imperfections that you cover up with armor, but for them to confront that was really interesting to watch.

And by the end of it, I think they both got something valuable about it. Yatora is able to shed a lot of his armor and see himself much more exposed. Yuka continues to recognize how much they care about the way others see them, but at the same time they find a new resolve to leave the home and become a fashion designer. There’s a push to pursue their own paths so it was nice to see that slow realization. If I’m honest, I resonate a lot with Yuka especially in what they share in this episode, so if I could some up all my feelings it would just be that I am so incredibly happy that they were able to have an open and honest communication. I can’t wait to see what the two of them are able to do in the future.

But after the trip, it’s one stressful event to the other. Yatora is getting ready for the second exam, but things aren’t looking to hot for him. I wish him the best of luck because he’s going to need it just to get to the exam room. Good luck Yatora!



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