All Ganta wants to do is meet Isaki on the beach on a starry night, but the first day of the camping trip is cloudy and gray. Ganta goes through a number of trials, most of them involving enduring the presence of the well-meaning but irritating-as-hell loudmouth Haida Rui.
Kudos for presenting the “rowdy school friend” in such a nuanced way that we can see he’s just trying to involve Ganta but fundamentally doesn’t understand Ganta’s deal. All attempts to sleep fail, and the physical and emotional effects of all that lost sleep are cumulative.
The next morning, Hakui-sensei makes everyone run laps on the beach. He considers Ganta’s lack of energy to be self-inflicted and urges him to expend all his energy. When the class activities are called off due to rain, Ganta again spends lights-out utterly exhausted but completely unable to sleep. I’ve been there; I’m sure many of us watching have: every little sound and thought is torture. Then Ganta emerges around 1 AM to find that the rain has stopped and the clouds have vanished.
He quietly dresses, packs his camera, and heads to the beach, where of course Isaki is there waiting for him. After bumping fists, she takes hold of his hand and runs laughing through the water as the dazzling stars twinkle above them.
Rarely have I seen a scene of such innocent, unbridled joy. Every shot and movement of Isaki is infused with so much love. If, like me, you watched Vinland Saga earlier this evening, this provided a much-needed emotional salve.
After having an absolutely terrible time on the camping trip, everything worked out. Ganta sets up the camera to take a 2-hour shot, which means he and Isaki have to figure out what to do for two hours. Isaki says she can tell Ganta hasn’t been sleeping.
She confides in him how anxiety grips her when she tries to sleep in her bed, but how snuggling up to him has given her her best sleep in ages. He tells her it’s the same with him, so they agree to sleep together right there. She listens to his heart, and laughs upon learning it’s beating faster than the other day.
All the same, she goes out like a light shortly after snuggling with him, and he soon follows suit, noting first how “warm and tickly” it is to have someone sleeping right beside you. His alarm wakes him up at 5 AM. The camera shot seems to have worked out, but the two of them need to hurry back before they’re spotted.
Even so, as Isaki walks on the beach ahead of him, Ganta can’t help but ask if he can snap some pictures of her. While she’s a little bashful, she’s totally fine with that, and produces some absolutely adorable poses in front of a truly heavenly sunrise.
I’m not worried about them getting caught or into trouble. I’m not even worried (yet) about the pills the episode really wanted us to see Isaki taking earlier. Taking us from the depths of insomniac despair to the highest summits of bliss, this is why I watch anime. This was one of the most beautiful and poignant portrayals of blooming young love, comfort, and closeness I’ve come upon in a long while. When these two are together, all’s right in the world.