The group is starting to adapted to their life in the reformatory by finding what works best for them.
What They Say
When Joe learns that his little sister Meg has been assigned to a foster family, he expresses his desire to get out and see her - and Turtle says he can make it happen.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Unsurprising for a bunch of kids thrown into this situation, regardless of the crimes they committed, being shuffled into a small space to live together to serve out their reformatory term is going to be difficult no matter what. Tensions rise between them as they start to adapt to the situation, shifting to using nicknames instead of their real names for the most part. Some are focusing on their physical well being by doing a ton of exercises and trying to strengthen themselves that way. Others are keeping their minds active with either games or reading. They all tend to get on each others' nerves a bit as it goes on and there's always that brush with a fll on fight happening.
The focus of this episode trends towards Joe who has suddenly learned that his sister is being adopted from the orphanage that they were both in. He's told by the head of the orphanage who almost seems cruel in how she comes to the reformatory to tell him about it. The two children have been on their own for quite some time and depended on each other, which likely led to what Joe did that landed him here, so the news of losing his sister and possibly never seeing her again has sent his mind wandering. It's wandered so far that he's close to getting seriously hurt in the workshop and becoming problematic for other members of the group. Joe gets his chance to see her though when Turtle causes a distraction when they're outside and he's able to escape.
The bonds that tie the boys together become stronger because of this instance as those left behind end up in solitary and fairly well roughed up because of what they've done. Each of them has their own issues with their past and the parents that may or may not have raised them, so there's certainly sympathy towards Joe and what he's going through, which is why they helped him rabbit out of there. Turtle's own past as brought about is particularly tragic but speaks volumes about the kinds of things so many went through after the war. Joe's past is just as tragic in a different way as we learn the extent of what he went through in the orphanage when he lived there and what kind of fate she's set up for his sister as well. Everything continues to bear down on these kids and you can see cracks in their armor, but they're still standing strong.
The second episode ups the harshness level across the board as we see their reformatory lives and how they're coping with it. While that's rough in itself, we also get a fair bit of background on two of them that really paints a brutal and tragic picture about how they've had to survive after the war. The loss that Joe has to experience here through all the pain is intense, as is the way his sister is coping with it. The emotional scars are ones that will last a lifetime and the performances are spot on. While this show would work in general in a present day setting as well, albeit with obvious changes, it has so much more impact because of the time period it takes in and the overall backdrop of World War II. This is the kind of series that will leave you feeling like it's a spiritual successor to Grave of the Fireflies.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.