Nagisa and Rei are enjoying the positive reception their swimming club is now getting thanks to making the Nationals – they’re no longer ‘those swimming weirdos’, and there’s the real possibility of new members actually wanting to join! And yet…the boys’ performance hasn’t been great recently – enough to actually worry Gou, who ups their training regimen. Unfortunately, Haru and Mako have too much on their minds -and Haru is slowly becoming more and more distant.
And so, once again Haru snaps…but he isn’t the only one. Mako’s patience with him and his refusal to listen to any of his friends has also grown thin, and after a completely unexpected fight he ends up dropping a bomb on him – he wants to go to university in Tokyo.
Rin has a bomb n store for Haru too – a proposal for an impromptu trip to – where else – Australia!
Good lord this episode was one big emotional freight-train in quite a lot of ways, both good and bad. To be honest, it seems a little weird to get back to Angsty-Haru after he seemed so fine last episode. The angst has been turned up to 11 here, though, and boy, there’s just some impressive passionate yelling from the voice actors all around. The main surprise was Makoto though – gentle, soft-spoken Makoto. It’s pretty impressive (although necessary) for him to be the one to finally snap at Haru and tell him that everyone is trying to help him focus on a goal for his own sake, and that he isn’t going to be a highschool third year forever. The relevation that he was going to Tokyo was a pretty big blow for me personally (Ouch, KyoAni), although I was expecting something like this to happen close to the end. It’s looking more and more likely that the boys are all going to be going their separate ways after high school, so I’m really hoping that the extra episode planned for the final bluray is some kind of post-graduation catch-up.
To be honest I’m really on the fence about both Haru’s behaviour and everyone’s reactions to it. On one hand Haru is being One Angsty Teenager about the whole thing, but on the other hand I understand what he’s going through. Being pigeon-holed at that age and expected to always be your best – for not just your sake but for the sake of others, is a heavy burden to shoulder. On one hand his friends are clearly trying to help him and he is blowing them off rather rudely, but on the other sometimes they seem overly forceful in putting their expectations on him. I know Sosuke isn’t exactly Haru’s friend, but his remarks about Haru needing to do his best for Rin’s sake (because Haru draws out Rins potential) were particularly annoying to me.
It’s interesting that it looks like it could be Rin who understands Haru best and may even take the best approach…and also the most unexpected one (sure a holiday is a good way to clear ones head but does Haru even have a passport?). Actually, this would give the show some nice closure because when you think about it – season 1 was about Haru helping Rin find himself (with perhaps a bit too much help from Rei), and season 2 may just be vice versa. I’ll admit, I’m both excited and nervous for KyoAni’s depiction of Australia (well, most likely just Sydney) in the next episode. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an episode of anything where non-Australian characters go to Australia that wasnt a giant cringe-fest for me, but KyoAni are usually pretty good with their location research. (For example I really liked that the Londoners in the K-On movie had British voice actors and that the city wasnt portrayed in a completely stereotypical fashion). They’ve already got small shots of Sydney’s Central Station in the next episode preview which were instantly recognizable to me.