Hopes and dreams rise to the surface as Sakuragi's time in the reformatory begin to draw to a close.
What They Say
Atop a hill, the boys carve their dreams for the future into a large tree, vowing to gather there again in two years. Meanwhile, Ishihara returns from suspension and begins concocting a plan with Dr. Sasaki.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the fire now done and over with and Sakuragi recovering, Rainbow moves in a much darker direction. But before it can do that, it has to offer some light and hope. Sakuragi's only got two months left before he gets out and he could spend it all in the hospital, but he wants to get back to his cell mates so he can be with them before then. So he gets out after just a month and spends his time doing the work and time together with them. That brief period is rather good as Ishihara is nowhere near around due to his suspension and the guard taking over for him, Kumagai, is a pretty good sort who looks out for everyone and isn't cruel about anything.
There's a great scene where the seven boys are atop a hill taking a break during a work excursion to the outside and they talk about their dreams. With each of them having less than two years to go, outside of Sakuragi, they make the promise to meet there a couple of years from now and prove that they've survived it and are making headway on their real plans for life. Etching their dreams into the tree, it's a great moment of hope in a beautiful setting filled with light and life. But it all comes crashing down, for Sakuragi in particular, when Ishihara returns and he's taken out of the cell to be in the "out cell" that's used to start training and adjusting the residents there for the real world.
Since the fire burned down the one normally used, Sakuragi is kept to another cell nearby where he's thrown in with three older and much crueler cell mates who've been instructed to rough him up over the next month by Ishihara, through the suggestion by Dr. Sasaki. They don't want Sakuragi talking on the outside, and may not even want him to get to the outside, so they're going to make his last month a living hell. And a living hell it is, from the regular beatings to having food poured all over him and all the mocking and general cruelty. But Sakuragi has to not give in since he wants to get out and he does all that he can to bear it with that in mind. His resilience only serves to infuriate those that are trying to beat him down though and that makes them want to take it even further with what they do.
Like any group of bullies, they end up going too far when they involve friends of Sakuragi's and they push him towards violence they haven't even begun to imagine yet. There's a fair bit of cruelty here, but not so much that I think it warranted the warning at the start of the episode that the Japanese created. Some series go far worse, but since that tends to be fantastical violence, they don't get the warnings. What we get here is a gritty reality that plays out well and leaves you hurting alongside the characters. The brief moments of hope that they get aren't exactly struck down here, but it's illustrated how quickly and how easily it can all be lost at the hands of others. Rainbow continues to be one of the most under the radar shows in need of more attention this year and one that I hope gets picked up for a full release in the US as the characters need to be dubbed for the actors to have some variety and some real seriousness to work with instead of the majority of what comes over.
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.