Sorry about the wait, but here it is: episode 11 (episode 12 will be up tomorrow). We start where we were last left off, Asuka’s back and everyone seems super happy until Kumiko turns to glance at Reina from afar. She seems mad, or at least a tad resentful, so of course it’s up to Kumiko to find out why. The general idea to be taken away from basic context is that Kumiko had been neglecting Reina while she was too busy focusing on getting Asuka back in the band.
But it turns out not to be that simple. After struggling a little to get Reina to talk to her, they eventually arrange to meet for a hike up memory hill. Yup, it’s that same magical cliffside from season one, meaning these two are probably about to work through their thoughts and feelings in the place that basically sanctified their bond to begin with. They reach the spot overlooking the town shimmering in the night, beneath the starry and overpoweringly blue sky, and Reina reveals what’s truly on her mind. She’s discovered Taki-sensei’s wife.
The anger she feels comes from two places: One is learning that Kumiko knew all along and didn’t tell her. The second is that when she did find out, Kumiko wasn’t there when Reina needed her most. She needed to talk things through with someone. The assumption that Taki’s heart would go uncontested was a fairly safe bet at the time, as she hadn’t seen any other women in his life except the already married flute instructor. Suddenly finding out he was marry was a shock to say the least. After all, it could come as a massive blow to learn that his heart has or had once been captured.
Reina lets out her frustrations in front of the only person she allows to see her that way. It’s a little bit harsh and worrisome when you think about how this relationship so far has been somewhat one-sided. That isn’t to say Kumiko doesn’t care, but when you look at it this way: Reina let’s Kumiko to witness her in her most emotionally raw form. The same can’t be said vice versa, because the only person to see Kumiko become her crudest and most sensitive self wasn’t Reina; It was Asuka. And so suddenly this relationship becomes a tad cautionary. While Kumiko and the audience might know that their friendship is by far the closest bond Kumiko has, that knowledge could become lost on Reina.
Luckily, they seem to patch things up, but not before Reina lets out an impassioned scream to the beautiful landscape below. As she does this, the camera pulls back to mostly likely convey the sound of her voice traveling, and perhaps the pulling away could signify the immense buildup of anxiety she had been storing since Kumiko was away. I love it when she has moments like this, it always feels like there’s a playfulness to her anguish. Reina is so good at picking herself up and not falling into depression, a very constructive mind that never stays down for too long. She’s able to relieve herself of stress fairly efficiently, allowing herself to indulge in her emotions almost immediately so she can then more quickly move on and get back to work. But now I feel I’m characterizing her based more off the series altogether than the episode at hand.
Getting back on track, after some short passage of time they head to Taki-sensei’s office to once again return a key to the music room. Reina cuts straight to the point and asks Taki about her wife, not about her life, but her as a person. After finding out his wife was energetic (among other things), they leave the room and we move on to flashbacks from Reina’s childhood. She’s absolutely adorable, and we get this brilliant shot of her staring at Taki through a small, low to the ground window-frame. As he notices her she slowly slides back out of sight, and it’s surely one of the cutest things I have ever seen in my entire life. Moving forward a little in time (but still in the past), Taki approaches an older Reina practicing her trumpet. He gives her a special music sheet that’ll surely come back later on in the series. Aside from that detail, the main point of these flashbacks is to consolidate where this love Reina has for him came from.
And in the end Reina and Kumiko visit Taki’s wife’s grave to pay their respects. This episode may just be the most gorgeous one so far, with breathtaking visuals and stunning animation leaving me to pick my jaw up off the floor. But maybe I was just enthralled by the fact that the episode was almost nothing but Reina. So much Reina that I might need an umbrella.
I’ll see myself out. Thanks for reading.