After a season of Tetsuo being Mr. Nice Guy, in this episode it was his turn to receive support from those around him whom he’s helped.
The vice-principal finally confronts Tetsuo about his close relationship with the school’s three demi students. He (correctly) points out that if Tetsuo “overreaches” and “tries too hard”, they will only rely on him and never turn to anyone else for help or guidance. Which isn’t fair to them. The demis should be able to turn to any teacher or any student for help, not just Tetsuo, no?
Because this conversation took place in front of a couple of students, word gets out about what was said, and Hikari, Yuki and Kyouko eventually hear about it. They turn to Sakie, who reinforces what the vice principal said but also mentions that his words are not necessarily negative. Hikari gets the idea that the four of them should try to cheer Tetsuo up. So with Hikari’s help, the demis put together a video of the
four three of them thanking Tetsuo for all he’s done for them.
Meanwhile some of the demis’ peers, namely Satake and his friend plus the two girls who bullied Yuki earlier in the year, get together in the schoolyard to discuss what the vice principal said to Tetsuo. They are initially a little unsure of how to think of the girls (as demis versus blindly treating them like regular humans), but when one of the girls points out that it’s not fair to ignore their demi natures, something clicks into place: the girls have human sides but they are demis too, and that can’t be ignored. The four students realize that Tetsuo gets along so well with Hikari and the others because he acknowledges and interacts with all sides of their being, not just their human or their demi side.
As evening approaches, Tetsuo is sitting on a beach alone thinking about what the vice principal said. Then Hikari’s video arrives in his inbox and he watches it. It’s cute, kind of awkward, but overwhelmingly thoughtful and sweet. When it’s over, Tetsuo’s just about in tears. Then Hikari shows up and because she never participated in the video (other than to film it), she shouts her appreciation for Tetsuo across the water right in front of him. Poor Tetsuo just about loses it, ha.
The next day the vice principal approaches Tetsuo again, but before Tetsuo can give him his feedback on what was said to him the day before, the vice principal retracts what he’d previously said about Tetsuo’s close relationship with the demis. The vice principal essentially asks Tetsuo to continue what he’s already been doing. Then together Tetsuo and the vice principal look out across the schoolyard at the little balcony where the demis often eat their lunch, and while yes Hikari, Yuki and Kyouko are there, this time their peers are with them too. And they’re all interacting! For the first time, Yuki, Hikari and Kyouko are learning to make friends outside their demi group, and the other students are learning to interact with others who are different from them.
Back in his office, Tetsuo picks up the summer project he’d abandoned after the vice principal spoke to him. Now he is more determined than ever to continue helping and supporting his demi students.
My thoughts: Wow, what a fantastic episode! What initially had the potential to be a damaging situation (the vice principal rebuking Tetsuo) with some devastating fallout was actually an important catalyst for basically the entire cast. First and foremost, it forced Tetsuo to re-examine how he treated the girls, and whether he was giving them special treatment over his other students. Secondly, it made the girls realize that they probably should be more independent and less reliant on Tetsuo. Even though they’re demis, they’re in high school and will be graduating in the near future, and there are certain things about their natures that they’re going to have to learn to resolve on their own. And lastly it encouraged some of the girls’ peers to reach out and interact with Hikari and the others, and get to know both their sides better.
In the end, although the vice principal meant well, even he learned that Tetsuo is not causing any harm, and that Tetsuo’s supportive nature benefits others more than anything else. With his guidance, the demi students will learn the skills they need to, and now it looks like some of their classmates will be there to help them as well.
This might actually be my favourite episode of the season! Next week is the last week … *sniff* Looks like there will be lots of swimsuits. I’m so jealous, I wish my high school had a pool!