What do you do when you are brought up in a different environment and culture than your ethnicity’s culture? When your parents don’t even look like you? One begins to wonder if they were adopted or not and even if they know, they still have a glimmer of doubt that they do not truly belong anywhere. Wait, what does this have to do with Haruchika, you say? Well, let’s dive in to find out!
Spoilers ahead! If you haven’t seen this episode, I suggest you stop here. If you haven’t watched the series, please have a look at my first impression of the show (Spoiler Free).
Hey, would you look at that! The brass club has grown in numbers thanks to Haruta and Chika’s efforts to gain members and such, which is a great thing since I was wondering how the series would increase its members for the club without interfering with the story. Actually, I was concerned that Haruchika was going to take an episodic route with its characters and plot by introducing them, help solve their problems, then rinse and repeat. Although this episode does do that, it does it in a unique way while still bringing its other elements to the table, which brought a balance of everything this series has done thus far.
We get introduced to Sei Maren, a Chinese Saxophone player who was adopted by his parents due to circumstances. It seems that this is the character of the week, but his situation is one many adopted children deal with sometime in their lives and that issue is the fear of being abandoned and a missing sense of belonging. You can tell during the episode that he is conflicted with these issues due to him opening the case full of belongings and a letter from his first family. To go off topic a little, I can relate to this character a lot. Like myself, he is a Saxophonist and although I have never been in his situation, I have had situations in my life where abandonment and a missing sense of belonging happened. You can tell by his facial expressions and monologues that he truly loves his family and abandonment is something he fears could happen due to his adoption.
Haruta, being our sharp man, knows this and comes up with a plan to help Maren out by writing a script for the drama club Maren is in. Unfortunately, the script is torn into shambles; poor Haruta, all that work for nothing… Despite the script failure, the drama club and the brass club solves the issue with an acting showdown, also known as “Exit Game”. The game’s mechanics were simple, yet tricky at the same time. Basically, in order to win, someone had to get Narushima to exit within the time span of 15 minutes, then boom, game over with the prize being, well Maren and his character development! I liked how the tone of the background and overall atmosphere changed when the game started, but my only gripe were the interruptions that took place to establish the scenario setting in the game. An example would be that something serious would be taking place, only for the camera to pan out to the scenario board. I felt like it distracted me from the game, but at the same time, it was to state added scenarios to help us keep up with what was going on, so it’s understandable. Also, the mystery wasn’t too strong for this episode, but it was enough for what the episode wanted to do, which was centered around Maren’s development.
At the end of the day, Haruta uses his wit to win the showdown. How he won it was clever too; it’s as if it was all part of his plan, oh-wait… To sum it up, Haruta uses the location change from Japan to China, its timezone differences, and a dog disguise to get Maren to leave. Yeah, Haruta really thought this through to the end with this one and I like how he gets into it with his acting by acting dramatic; Chika’s comment towards that made me chuckle a bit. We also find out that the whole game was thought up by the brass club teacher, Haruta, and Maren’s best friend in order for him to learn a lesson, which that his parents love him and he truly does belong somewhere. We find this out due to the case PIN number he had earlier being 2099, which translated to characters in Chinese that meant “We Love You Eternally”. Yes, the feels were getting strong at that moment and the development for Maren was solid because of it.
Towards the end, we find out why Maren was put up for adoption and it turns out it was due to him having bad legs and the hopes that his new family would heal his injuries, so in a sense his first family does care for his well-being as well; this was also proven by the letter we saw earlier. To wrap it all up, the episode was a good one. Although, the emotional impact was stronger for Narushima’s development in the last episode, the way this episode went about getting Maren’s development and showing his inner struggle was well done and a good way to use character development. Also, having a Saxophone player on board was just an automatic plus for me. Despite my concerns of Haruchika using episodic methods to introduce characters, I do believe it has more to offer than that and will deliver the potential it has based on these 3 episodes we have seen so far. I look forward to more mystery and music in the future. Keep it up, Haruchika, you are on a roll!
(Screenshot Credits: Funimation)
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