After-school Obbligato

Synopsis

In the end, Kumiko isn’t sure if Asuka would return or not.

Back at home, Kumiko and Mamiko are the only ones in and whilst cooking dinner together, they talk it out and let each other know their feelings. They make up, but Mamiko has decided to leave. Kumiko pretends she’s not sad about it, but she is and lets out her tears on the train to school.

Kumiko eavesdrop in on a conversation with Asuka where she tells other members of the band that she’s fine with not going to nationals with the band.

Unable to accept this lie and thinking back to her sister who regrets not having said what she wanted in highschool, she passionately talks to Asuka about wanting her back in the band and tells Asuka to not regret her decision.

At the next practice, Asuka rejoins, turns out she made top 30 in the country in the last set of mock exams and used that against her mum to her back in.

Thoughts

Without much concluding last episode I expected things to end here and it did. The first half saw the conclusion of the Kumiko and Mamiko drama and in the second half we wrap up Asuka’s story.

I feel like I’ve ranted enough about Kumiko and Mamiko’s relationship and their eventual conclusion was a natural one. When all the spotlight and pressure are on Mamiko, all she saw in Kumiko was someone who had no pressure and can do as she pleases. Whilst in the other position Kumiko felt left out of her parents’ vision. Those feelings aren’t clear until they come clean to each other but a good heart to heart was all that was necessary.

This then flowed well into the next half where Kumiko sees Asuka in a similar position and for once everything looked like they connected rather than standalone story arcs. It was an understanding of Mamiko that Kumiko was eventually able to come out with what she said to Asuka.

Asuka’s responses however reinforces how I see her as someone similar to me. It was cold, there’s no better word for it. I’d almost say it was calculating, she broke Kumiko down and pushed her away. That is the hallmark of someone who really doesn’t want to show the world her feelings, someone who is so prideful she’d throw away her own feelings just to be able to stand tall in front of others. That kind of someone needs a stronger voice to talk them down, and Kumiko, having Mamiko’s conversation in the back of her mind, made her point clear.

The voice acting was excellent as always from Kumiko, you can hear the shaking in her voice when she confronted Asuka. There’s no doubt she was nervous and probably holding back tears. But she truly doesn’t want Asuka to make the same mistake her sister did and forced out her words.

Fair warning that this is now a little rant, but you wonder why Asuka acts like that, the pride feels very adult. I feel like it’s the ‘grass is always greener on the other side’ approach with mature kids, when you’re a kid you want to quickly grow up and be an adult, at least a lot do. I didn’t, I always wondered why can’t they enjoy what they are instead of acting like what they are not?

I feel that Asuka was also still trying to distract the band because she’s looking out for them, but I realised many years ago that acting mature, like you’re doing everything for others benefit only leaves you empty. I’ll say one thing, I did things for the benefit of others and realized that those I helped weren’t willing to help me, maybe I was around terrible people, but that changed me a lot. Live with no regrets, because at the end of the day it’s your life, not someone else’s, there’s no need to sacrifice yourself all the time for those you meet along your journey through life. So I’m glad that Asuka finally put her foot down and rejoined the band. Because it’s true what Mamiko said, don’t have regrets now, especially at a time when you’re allowed to be a little selfish.

And now the direction of the drama looks clearly to be heading Reina’s way.