The kids find themselves in a really bad situation, one that even stronger bonds are made out of.
What They Say
Block 2 is engulfed in flames - and Mario, Cabbage, Soldier, Joe, and Turtle are trapped inside. Anchan's sudden appearance might mean rescue, but Scam's the one who's got the key to Cell 6.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Rainbow has kept pretty well to the serious side in its first three episodes, though the fire sort of makes it feel like it went a bit too far in order to move the show forward in a way. With Block 2 feeling the problem the most, most everyone has gotten out except for the characters we actually care about. Scam is outside hunting furiously for the key that will free them, though he runs afoul of the guard, while Sakuragi is doing his best to try and bust them out. It's a great moment when he arrives in the midst of the flames, apologizing for taking so long and acting so serious as the others are shocked by it while still believing they'll die soon.
Ishihara's cruelty as been apparent right from the start as he plays the bad cop role with relish, a little too much at times, and he doesn't slow down here. When he comes across Scam after he found the key where nobody can see them, he attempts to make a deal with him in order to cover up his own issues while essentially enslaving Scam to him for awhile. But Scam has hardened after what has happened between him and the others and refuses to let him be turned in this as he wants to save the others after what Sakuragi has done for him. The change in Scam may be a bit quick, but they're borne under special circumstances that can reveal the true nature of a man. Watching him taking the beating from Ishihara, and seeing Ishihara realize it doesn't matter as Scam will likely die in the fire trying to save them, it really does elevate Scam into someone that you can truly sympathize with.
A good part of this episode is given over to Sakuragi's past, as we see him back in 1943 where saw his father for the last time before he headed off to fight in a fierce battle. With the loss of all of his older brothers and then his father, his life became very hard with just his mother and him for ten years. To their surprise, Sakuragi's father returned in 1953 after being freed from Siberia, but like most who make it back from such experiences they're no longer the same. As difficult as his life was before, it's tougher for Sakuragi with his father back as they can't connect in the slightest. Sakuragi's trying to prove himself to him, to make himself a man, but it's impossible to earn his father's respect or love at this point, and it pushes him into a dark place with him that eventually has Sakuragi ending up in the juvenile reformatory he's in now. It's a dark and honest piece, if altogether too short, that gives us a real insight into how Sakuragi has coped with everything that life has thrown at him.
While the entire angle about the fire left me a little less than thrilled because it felt so forced, the end results are worth it. The bond between the seven has grown by leaps and bounds through this experience and Scam himself has made out well by understanding the value of these kinds of relationships. The focus on Sakuragi, something that each character will get over time as one can expect, is very worthwhile since he's the one who has a strong older brother feeling to him. The exploration of his past is a sad one, one that's likely not all that uncommon, so seeing how he's dealt with it and the way he's taken on much of the pain himself is very well done. That he's able to share it with the nurse only adds to it because it paints him as someone who has been hurt but still wants to reach out to others rather than to isolate himself. The further into the series we get, the more engaging it becomes.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.