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Episode 14: Snow Rondo

 

Review by Chris Guanche

September 4, 2012

 

Summary

 

Asuma stands in front of a woman holding a red umbrella to shield herself from falling snow. A gust of wind blows the umbrella away, and Asuma wakes up from his dream. Asuma sits down at his desk and asks Noa about a postcard that arrived for him, and Kumagami tells him it arrived four days ago. Asuma examines the postcard, which is a notification of a class reunion. Later, Asuma goes to the Goddess bar, and his former classmates are surprised to hear that he's a police officer and not working in the family business. A woman named Yukie Kashima gets Asuma's attention when she enters the bar, and one man comments that she looks more beautiful now than in high school. As they leave the bar, Asuma's classmates ask him to join them, but he tells them he has a morning shift. Kashima appears and offers Asuma her umbrella as it begins to snow. As they walk together down the street, Kashima mentions that the two of them never talked much in school. She recalls a time they walked together like this in school and that Asuma wanted to to tell her something, but he says he didn't. Asuma says goodbye to Kashima at her subway station and is about to tell her something, but stops. The next day, Hiromi brings everyone tea, and Noa asks how the reunion went. Kumagami mentions that Asuma is taking a day off, and Ota guesses that Asuma will probably be lazing about. Shinshi prepares to go home for the night, and Asuma asks for a lift. On his day off Asuma goes to a natural history museum with Kashima. He asks her what she wants to do next, and she tells him she wants to see the stars. They visit a planetarium and she comments that the stars are beautiful. Asuma goes to the bathroom after the show and finds that Kashima is gone and left a postcard for an art gallery. He runs outside to look for her, but she's already across the street. Back at work, Asuma is distracted as Kumagami outlines tactical formation, so Goto calls him out on it. Noa finds Asuma on the roof and brings him some food. She asks him what happened since he was in such a good mood earlier. He asks if he's acting weird, and she tells him he is, just a bit.

 

Asuma goes to the art gallery and finds Kashima looking at a picture of a row of trees covered with snow. Kashima tells Asuma that she really enjoys looking at it, but the scenery gives her a strange feeling. Asuma says he was worried when she ran off, so she apologizes. She says it feels like the picture is pulling her in, and a gallery employee tells her to sign the guest book if she likes the photo. He gives her a red balloon to thank her for looking at the photo. Kashima asks Asuma if it surprised him when she left the planetarium and says she wanted to see the look on his face. Asuma asks her where she lives now and realizes he shouldn't have asked. Asuma mentions that the day they ran into each other after school was no accident. She says it was snowing on that day too, but Asuma says it isn't snowing now. It then starts to snow, and when Asuma turns around and runs up some stairs, she's gone again. The next day, Asuma is distracted on the job when Unit 2 chases a Saturn and is knocked down. Noa pulls Unit 1's gun on the Saturn, but it runs away. Noa gives chase to the Saturn and corners it, but Asuma tells her not to shoot when he sees Kashima standing there. Noa doesn't see anyone there, and the Saturn throws a knife at her. As she dodges, Ota attacks the Saturn from behind and disables it with his stun stick. Asuma runs over to the spot where Kashima was standing and sees a red balloon floating away. Back at the station house, Goto asks everyone what happened. No one else saw a civilian, but Asuma insists that he saw someone. Goto asks Asuma to fill out an incident report and bring it to his place tomorrow. Kashima visits Asuma at the station house and apologizes for putting him in danger earlier. She tells him that she's come to say goodbye because she's going somewhere very far away. She says she's glad that Asuma found her and runs off. Asuma gives chase and sees an image of her walking into the distance of snow covered trees like in the picture. Noa wakes Asuma up the next day, and he insists that he's fine. Asuma gives Goto a report, but Goto doesn't know what it's for. Asuma finds a postcard for a high school reunion on his desk, and Noa tells him it arrived four days ago. Asuma goes to the reunion and asks about Kashima, but no one could get in touch with her. Asuma suddenly leaves and runs to the art gallery, where he sees the photo with Kashima in it. He searches through the guest book for his signature, and the employee gives him a red balloon. Asuma returns to the station house and tells himself that what he experienced wasn't a dream. Asuma sees someone walking in the snow with an umbrella, but it's just Noa. She asks about the balloon, and Asuma lets it float away. He says they should go inside so that they don't catch a cold.

 

Commentary

 

A sense of nostalgia and melancholy pervades this episode, which focuses on Asuma and a former high school crush who have a chance reunion. Or do they? It all turns out to be a dream, which explains Kashima's sudden disappearances, along with the ever present red balloon that matches her red umbrella. You get the sense that Asuma wanted to tell her something important in high school, probably a confession of his feelings, but he never did. Even in the "present" of his dream, he couldn't quite bring himself to do it. When he goes to the real high school reunion, she of course isn't there. No one knows what happened to her, so maybe she's dead and he was dreaming of a dead person.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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