Oooooh boy, this episode was something, and not in a great way. It was just so boring and terribly anticlimactic, and then there’s Erika just being a straight up bitch making my blood boil!!!!
The first problem was the execution, with Fumiya narrating basically the entire episode, and telling us about this and that about his strategy he used for Sports Day. Of course I get that the event was merely a prelude of the real crisis, which was the fallout of the plan to motivating Erika to do well in the first place. And just as as I feared, baiting Erika into appealing to “Shuji’s interest” was going to have consequences. While she was provoked indirectly to perform better than Aoi, and “help” Yuzu out now that she’s Captain, I would say her main drive was to draw Shuji’s attention. But here’s the thing: She’s not blind, and sure enough considering Yuzu and Shuji were hardly subtle after the event, she realized that the two of them are in a relationship. And what’s worse than realizing your efforts were all in vain?
So what does Erika do in response? Instead of targeting Yuzu (so that it wouldn’t be “obvious” why she’s being so hostile), she decides takes it out on Hirabayashi. Now this is precisely why I’ve said bullshit when they say how she ‘has a soft spot for friends’, she’s ‘not as bad as she seems’. Well excuse me, I don’t care what your reasons are: Taking your anger out on others is never acceptable. I’ve been through this enough that I’ve developed zero tolerance policy for people who do this. There will be times when I’m like Tama in a sense of I will call them out on their shitty behaviour. I’m not your personal punching bag, nor should anyone else in the vicinity. Tama may be the smallest one in the class, but she got the biggest guts. YOU GO GIRL. BLESS TAMA!
And for that very reason, GOD! I was so frustrated on Tama’s behalf because the amount of gas-lighting coming from Erika was absolutely infuriating. She was the one to touch Tama first, and the audacity to say Tama used “violence” against her because she swatted her hand away– and as she should! I was honestly expecting Erika to shove her. The other absolutely annoying thing about it is that the class clearly saw Erika be the one to do it first, and yet as the situation goes on, they start complaining about Tama raising a fuss by standing up to Erika. Wow, maybe you too should freaking say tell Erika to stop instead of being a passive observer.
The other thing that absolutely frustrated me out of my mind was the lack of sympathy for Hirabayashi. Holy shit. Aoi went on about the point of Hirabayashi not doing anything to help herself, but gee, I WONDER WHY?
Here’s the thing: They sure made a point of showing a very stark difference between Hirabayashi and Tama. Besides the difference in way they are dealing with the situation (passive VS reactive), the one thing that really stood out to me is that Tama has friends to check up to see if she’s okay (Minami in particular was trying her best to support her while walking on eggshells). As for Hirabayashi, not once has it been established that she has any friends in this class, much less anyone willing to check up on her to see if she’s okay. It’s no wonder she’s quiet, and frankly sometimes being quiet is the best way out, but it varies on the nature of the bully, and who the bully is. Sometimes by not responding, potentially makes you a “boring prey” or in the case of Tama, they can’t use your words against you, and you hope that you will eventually be left alone. Other times, like Tama: raising a fuss and constantly challenging them back is also the best way to go about it– even if it does become a nuisance for others (well if they aren’t gonna help out, they can suck it up for all I care). Well, that’s how I’ve always gone about it. I have a variety of experiences from both elementary and highschool.
Speaking of bullying, with this whole thing with Erika relentlessly attacking Hirabayashi and Tama, this definitely struck a nerve of what I expect to be trauma for Aoi. I’ve always got the sense that Aoi was bullied so bad at some point, that in order to fit in, she needed to mold herself a certain way so that she’d never become a victim again. That was probably why she went against her own advice she was giving Fumiya last week, about ‘Good Suggestion/Bad Rule’.
And finally, despite all the talking Fumiya did this week, he was very passive himself, not entirely sure how or when to intervene. He was actually going to stand up for Hirabayashi, willing to take the hit but Tama beat him to it. Honestly, it might’ve been actually better had he followed-up with Tama, so that there’d be two people fighting back against Erika. It was mentioned how both Tama and Fumiya are very similar to each other, and in a sense they absolutely are. Neither one of them can stand idling by the sidelines when injustice is unfolding before their eyes. They the few people who are willing to stick their neck out there. So that’s why I’m a bit disappointed in Fumiya today, of not following through with his intent that morning to step in. That said… I’m curious to see how Fumiya is going to ‘teach’ Tama how to fight– but honestly I hope this isn’t gonna be a solo battle thing, but it probably will be. I would like to anticipate this partnership to lead to some good things of putting an end to Erika’s tyranny in the classroom.
Overall, this was both a frustrating episode in execution but also in writing because god damn it, who can stand teenage bullying bullshit like this? Hopefully this won’t drag out for too much longer because I don’t have a lot of patience for it. Just irked me to the bones watching it.
Also did nobody bother to teach Fumiya the rules of basketball? Poor guy got fouled out within 30 seconds of the game. I’m willing to bet it was all from reaching, or holding his opponent.