As time passes, Ishihara becomes even more of a caricature than he already was.
What They Say
Two fights unfold, each with their own high stakes. When Anchan moves to settle things with Ishihara, the guard pulls out a gun. In the boxing ring, Mario reveals his own hidden weapon: a fierce right fist.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Rainbow's excursion to the outside world has been rather interesting since it hasn't been all about the chase and continually fleeing those in pursuit. Because of what Sakuragi knows, Ishihara and Sasaki have been playing it kind of close to the chest in dealing with them, but Ishihara has gone over the edge because of what Sakuragi knows and how it can expose him, both for the kids that were abused and the guard that he's responsible for killing. Sakuragi's in a worse position at first in thinking that Setsuko may be in danger, but in the end it's Sakuragi that Ishihara wants and ends up confronting directly rather than applying pressure to him.
The show does a nice bit of parallel in working through this episode as we see that confrontation play out with its craziness while inside the military base we see Mario going up against his opponent in the ring. Mario's been really working himself to get ready for the ring and just the fact he's not taken down as quickly as before is a significant change from his first fight. Both young men have the same intensity to their eyes though, something the American comments on as being the kamikaze eyes he feared eleven years prior. Seeing both of them standing strong against their opponents who are markedly different is done very well here, though a lot of the thrill goes with Sakuragi's fight because he plays it very cool while Ishihara only becomes more crazed.
Four men go through significant changes in this episode that are all very well done. The shortest involves Soldier who has finally moved out of the reformatory and is heading off to the military. Seeing his friends come out to send him off is a warming experience for a young man who has had problems. Mario has grown in his skill by laying a trap for his opponent and tasting victory, applause and praise, something that has eluded him but could well turn into an aphrodisiac. Sakuragi has changed quite a lot as well as he makes his peace with Hagino by giving the suicide note to Ishihara in an effort to try and bring it all to an end so they can move on away from each other. This gives Ishihara the chance to really change, to feel the weight of that evil off of him at long last, and to see if he can truly change when the opportunity arises. It's a moment where it can go a few different ways and you can't truly be sure how it will play out.
Though the emotions run a little high at times, there's a lot of really solid tension here and a whole lot of uncertainty as to how events will play out. The Rainbow anime has really run the gamut in terms of how cruel it will be to the characters and the way they'll mess with them in this time period. And thankfully it does keep it to what's realistic for the time without bringing in elements you'd see today in such situations. Because it's such a low-tech affair, the violence and brutality has an even more personal feeling to it. Sakuragi's journey continues to be the core of the show and it has some powerful moments here that push his character even further into the realm of hard to believe, but these boys all have so much driving them that you can believe they'd push forward with all their might. And that can be an intoxicating watch.
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.