This week starts out with everyone, either by choice or circumstance, isolated from the one they love. Yana from Yuki; Sachi from Hiro (and Hiro from Sachi); Kakeru from Touka. For a good chunk of the episode, everyone is alone, and they don’t seem too happy about it, whatever side of the relationships they happen to be on. Last week we tripped. This week we come down.
It’s the most extreme example yet of how all the events and emotions of the summer so far have conspired to pull the circle of friends apart. The episode had a monastic, cleansing feel to it, as if this was a time for solitude and reflection. During this time, many characters devise ways of reconnecting through various barriers or filters, meeting varying degrees of success.
First up is Kakeru, who is stuck at home listening to his mom play that same damn song we’ve heard a million times. Enough already, play something else! Not that his folks are any more human when they’re trying to talk with him about his future, making sure to get in a dig about how they both knew exactly what they were going to do at his age.
Kakeru can’t hear the fragments anymore. Apparently unable to contact her in any other way, he comes by Touka’s house, and they talk between glass. What a difference a day makes…when the girl you like has a traumatic vision of you being a bit too forward for her taste. Not that it’s Kakeru’s fault that she saw that, but it clearly shook her, and she refuses to return the art room with him. She’s not ready.
Yuki escaped for track camp not just to get back into some kind of routine, but to get away from Touka, who he liked far too much for someone who didn’t like him back, and away from the awkwardness with Yana, as well. Yana treats his unannounced absence as a challenge, and runs his route everyday, sending him rather poetic texts about the weather and other observations.
At camp, Yuki is not necessarily improving, his knees hurt, and he’s still full of doubt. But as desperate and melancholy as these texts first seemed as Yana sent them, not expecting a reply and not getting one, Yuki breaks radio silence when Yana reports clear skies, while it’s dreary and raining where he is.
Yana isn’t even sure what she’s doing or why, and yet they make Yuki happy and relaxed. The juxtapositions during their beautiful phone conversation are very apropos: Yuki may be under the clouds, but Yana is a ray of sunshine peeking through via cell phone. Yuki says he’ll be home soon; possibly tomorrow. It would seem Yana got what she wanted…but what’s next for them?
Then, finally, there’s Sachi. I tend to save Sachi for last in my reviews…and that’s because she’s the best. Kakeru tried to connect with Touka through glass; Yana with Yuki through texts, and Sachi tries to connect with Hiro through literature. Specifically, she recommends to him a book on the shelf in his family’s cafe, and his disappointment gives way to a bemused curiosity.
Sachi asks not just Hiro, but also Touka, to join her at a Kirinkan, where they wait until after closing time for a hauntingly beautiful crescent moon under earthshine. Like Hiro, I don’t quite get it at first, but then Touka says “the moon is pretty” in a way that sounds like a confession of love, according to Soseki Natsume, the author Sachi had Hiro read.
Inviting them to this special place of hers, at this special time, when the moon was just so, having prepared Hiro literarily…Sachi’s was certainly the most impressively complex method of re-connecting with the ones she loved—lots of moving parts—but as Hiro puts it, “as long as there’s love”, her feelings were going to come through…and they did. They end up saying the very things she wanted to say to them. This is what happens when Sachi uses her extraordinary planning skills for good instead of evil.