Whether we realize it or not, a large part of who we are is shaped by the places we grow up and the people we meet. This was an idea explored by Sangatsu no Lion this week, in one of its most compelling episodes to date.
We saw it all this week: romance, loss, a bittersweet ending. In some ways, it was about as far from a typical Sangatsu episode, and more like a heavily edited Makoto Shinkai movie, right down to the wry humour that was mixed in. Frankly, this new direction served the show well, and it never fell into the trap of being too depressing to watch.
The pre-opening scene with Rei’s adoptive mother was particularly well written. It’s obvious she feels terrible about the way her children treated him, but she’s set in her ways and recognises that some wounds cannot be healed. Even though Rei didn’t do anything wrong as a child, it would hurt her family if he were to visit regularly, so she wishes he wouldn’t.
She’s a very interesting character: not a good guy, not a bad guy, just someone looking out for the ones she loves. She even cares for Rei, whose only crime was being too good of an adoptive son. Hopefully we’ll see more of her as Rei’s relationship with his father comes back into the limelight.
What is Home?
Takahashi is moving to a place far away, but the episode takes pains to stress that he’s going to bring some March Town spirit along with him. It may be something as small as a recipe, but he clearly feels as though it’s a badge of honor – a representation of where he’s from, and by proxy, the kind of person he is.
To Rei, the concept of home is much simpler: it’s where he grew up. During his visit, he reconnects with his old dog – the only person in the household who seems genuinely pleased to see him. However, Rei knows exactly what kind of trouble it would cause should he be seen visiting, and hints that he won’t be returning again.
A Fresh Start for Hina
With Takahashi gone and a new school to attend, Hina is finally getting her new beginning. However, due to a disastrous haircut, thing haven’t exactly gone to plan. Let’s put our tinfoil hats on for a second: maybe this childish new hairdo is the animator’s way of reminding the viewers that Hina is still pretty young.
Her and Rei have had some romantic tension lately. Although the story seems to be moving away from this, it’s entirely possible that there’d be some visual reminders of the fact that Rei should not be dating Hina.
Regardless, this week’s episode was fantastic. Sangatsu no Lion seems to have recovered from its slump from a few episodes back, and we’re very excited to see what’s in store for the start of season three.