Gin no Saji Second Season – 05

Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 03 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 18 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 30

How can a kid with such great language skills have no much trouble with one two letter word?

Boy, was that episode ever a tale of two halves.  The A-part was very much a continuation of the mostly slice-of-life mode that the series has been in for the second season, and while I love that side of Gin no Saji I found myself beginning to feel just the first pangs of impatience creeping in.  After the eyecatch, though, everything kicked into another gear and the story really began to move on several fronts – including one where I had some suspicions that it might never move until the very end of the manga, if then.

If there’s been a recurring theme this season, it’s been that of Hachiken’s inability to say no.  To the extent that this entire series is effectively a deconstruction of Hachiken’s character we’ve seen some exploration of the reasons for that, but there’s a strong practical impact to be considered too.  When a major event like the Ezonoo festival comes around, people like Hachiken always suffer the most.  As I said earlier, one of the worst things you can be tagged with in life is the reputation that you’re “that guy who can’t say no”.  And we’re finally seeing the brutal reality of that hit Hachi-kun square between the eyes.  It’s good practice for what his work life is going to be like if he doesn’t learn to be a little more selfish.

Equestrian Club activities?  Of course, Hachiken ends up taking the lead there  – and naturally launches an enticing but too-elaborate plan (Ban’ei rides) that’s way too ambitious for the practical realities of the situation.  Then his class gets him to take responsibility for their festival activity (selling ramen) because “he’s the only one that can do it“.  He’s also got Fukubucho to care for, regular club duties, practicum duties, cleaning duty…  This martyr thing is a real problem.  Yes, his friends are taking advantage of him, but the hard truth is, if you show yourself as willing to be “that guy”, people will always take advantage.  It’s their nature.  The responsibility is really on Hachiken to man up and put a stop to all of this, but he doesn’t really have anyone to teach him that lesson (one of his teachers could, but they seem intent on letting him figure it out for himself).

For a while it seems as if all of this is going to play out in semi-comedic normalcy as the festival prep continues, but the B-part really kicks the plot into high gear.  It starts when Hachiken is explaining how easy Japanese Literature is, because the writer is always giving hints that tip off what the answer the teacher is looking for is.  Mikage moans that this sort of thing is hard for her, and one of their sempai (Toyonishi I think) makes a pointed remark about how unsurprising that is and wishes Hachi-kun good luck.  A very funny moment, but also seemingly a transitional one for the series, which proceeds to finally kick the tires on Hachiken-Mikage in a big way.  It starts with Hachiken asking Mikage on a “date” after the festival – though he doesn’t call it that – and escalates from there.

It’s not unheard of for the girl to be the clueless one in a high school romcom, but definitely unusual – and it makes for an entertaining dynamic here.  There’s a great scene where the girls are back at the dorm discussing Hachiken’s offer, and finally clue Mikage in to what’s been obvious to everyone else for months. Mikage seems genuinely baffled, though how much of that is self-deception is hard to say.  She can’t imagine anyone would want her with all her “baggage” – which is a dubious assertion in the first place, but hardly something a first-year high schooler should worry about.  The girls then proceed to appraise Hachiken like a prize hog – a good catch, generally, though Yoshino (who I’ve always thought was a great match for Hachiken, as much as I like Mikage) opines that he’s too high-maintenance because he overthinks everything.  I can’t say that I disagree with her, to be honest.

The school life stuff was good – I liked the NPK48 “otaku sled”, and Mikage training to drive the Ban’ei was interesting – but I was definitely ready for things to get real when they did.  I don’t place too much stock in Hachiken’s passing out as a true cliffhanger – he’s obviously exhausted from overworking himself – though it may cost him his first date with Mikage.  Between Hachiken’s now quite serious issues with martyrdom and now quite realistic relationship possibilities with Mikage, Gin no Saji has a couple of excellent bones to gnaw on in upcoming episodes.  Hachiken is a great main character and a great kid, but it really is possible for someone to be too nice – and it makes a very interesting topic for exploration.

Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 08 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 09 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 10
Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 11 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 12 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 13
Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 14 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 15 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 16
Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 17 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 19 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 20
Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 21 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 22 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 23
Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 24 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 25 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 26
Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 27 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 28 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 29
Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 31 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 32 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 33
Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 34 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 35 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 36
Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 37 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 38 Gin no Saji Second Season - 05 - Large 39


  1. e

    First thing first: DAT HORSE. My goodness what a splendid creature.
    Two: artistic license and anime miracle slimming notwithstanding Tamako is one wise girl ('no way I could be like this all the time I'd die of anemia!') . And she wouldn't be as Tamako if she were in permathin mode. To thyne own self be true.
    Three: Mikage not that I don't get you… BUT if there is one guy who could keep liking you in spite of your 'baggage' (and/or because of that) is Hachicci :,). His overthinking tendencies coms to your mutual advantage here methinks :p.
    Three – subset – : I like cheese girl myself but yeah that's a friendship ship and now we got the official seal.
    Last but not least: Yuugo. Baby :,). You overachieving competitive adorkable martyr-mofo. Btw your jubilant lovey-dovey mental images are hilariously trippy. And those XVIII century faux-French costumes. Ah <3 Ahahahah <3.

    P.S.: NPK48 is genius. I would buy that… for my orchard :,D

  2. w

    I really liked Nishikawa as a side-character. It's a shame they've cut a few of his scenes for the adaption here.
    But wow, they are really flying through the manga chapters. I feel I should tell you that in the manga, Hachiken fainting was a much bigger shock. The build up to the festival seemed to take a lot longer there (at least I think it did, it's been a while since I read that part). You would have almost forgotten that Hachi was pushing himself to breaking point up until he collapsed in the manga. I think it's a bit of a shame it didn't give it that kind of surprise here.

  3. E

    Enzo, while I usually agree with your opinion, now I must say I don't.
    Hachiken's problem isn't that he's too nice, it's just that he must realize that you can't do everything you want. Be it a time constraints, health, location, money etc. Real life is choosing what are your priorities and acting upon them. Even if you want something badly, sometimes you can't have it. This is what I think it means to be an adult. To let go/give up sometimes. But Being nice isn't one of the things you need/should give up. I recall the episode of Samurai Flamenco when there was a talk about umbrellas theft in japan. Is it okay because society says so? do you acting/being nice and someone taking advantage of you because of it is wrong? again I don't think so. Hachiken just needs to know his limits.

  4. Well, for me, I don't see those two situations as really being analogous. One is theft – the other is thinking of your own interests when it's necessary to do so. I'm certainly not suggesting Hachi should stop being a nice person (or that anybody should). But I do think it's possible to be too nice. If you want to parse words, say it's possible to be too unselfish. But either way, it's OK and even necessary to be selfish sometimes.

  5. E

    I understand your point of view better now, but I still think a little differently. Hard for me to explain without writing a long, philosophical (boring) post.

    Thanks for the reply, and I really enjoy your posts even when I don't agree with them (usually I do).

  6. M

    Yawn, really. First half and second. Mikage has been stale news for a while now. Yoshino is certainly better but she seems to have conveniently removed herself from the picture. Guess that's Arakawa for you.

    My favorite character – who gets so little screen time but always fills it splendidly – is Tamako.

    Unfortunately I'm quickly losing investment in this series, which is a shame. Horses are cool but I'm rather sick of generic bolshy behavior whether it be in a Disney flick or anime.

Leave a Comment