In this episode, teens learn that people in their 20s don’t magically have their lives together.
Masaki’s been dwelling on some memories of his grandfather, causing him to reflect on why he became the coach for Kazemai in the first place. While he’s brooding, the team is in higher spirits for the upcoming competition (especially Seiya, who is no longer sulking.) When Minato overhears Masaki tell Tomi that the reason he became their coach was specifically to “get revenge” on his grandfather, Minato feels confused and concerned over Masaki’s intentions.
Masaki takes Tomi’s advice, which was to go find people who practiced kyudo with his grandfather to see if he truly was the horrible person he projected. He tracks down one of his grandpa’s old homies — who, coincidentally, was Minato’s original kyudo sensei. Funnily enough, he and Minato both visit her house simultaneously. Minato wanted to let her know that he was back on a kyudo team, and Masaki wanted to ask about what his grandfather was really like behind closed doors. Sensei Saionji was proud of Minato for returning to kyudo, but told Masaki she didn’t know much, and that he’d have to ask his other friend he was closer to.
Initially, Masaki doesn’t want to visit this other old person because it would have to be the day before the competition. However, the team hears about his plight and convinces him to go and get closure.
Then, Masaki gets into a car accident.
(DUN DUN DUN.)
This was a slow-moving episode until the ending, which went from 0 to 60 mph (Oof. Too soon?)
Before getting to the elephant in the room, let’s talk about other things! Saionji’s voice actress didn’t do a bad job, and we got to see more of that beautiful water animation. The sky/backgrounds are consistently pretty — enough to distract anyone from oncoming traffic.
There were a few beautiful shots in this episode that really highlighted the emotional density of Masaki’s thoughts. When he’s in the dojo with his owl, or when he’s telling Minato about his future plans to make peace with his grandfather, it truly reflects the “spiritual” nature of his character — combined with magical anime wind and ethereal, glowing colors in the dojo, it’s hard not to look at these artistic choices and believe it was unintentional (he is a priest, after all. Minato originally mistook him for some sort of kyudo deity, too.)
At the end of the day, though, Masaki is just a guy. It was heartwarming to see the team realize that no one is perfect, no matter how old. The tonal change of the episode’s end can definitely take anyone off-guard, seeing as how serene everything usually is. If they choose to actually kill Masaki off, it’s definitely going to be a dramatic shift.
Hopefully, he’ll make a recovery. It’d be a shame to let that character buildup go to waste. In any case, it’ll definitely be used as emotional ammunition for the competition next episode.