Plot: Iwashida and Moroi are best friends and part of a high school baseball team with a fast-rising baseball star named Hanagasa. One day, Hanagasa violently smacks Moroi in the stomach with a baseball bat. He tells Moroi and Iwashida to keep their mouths shut about it. Moroi is happy to oblige in order to prevent the baseball team from getting in trouble. Iwashida is far more reluctant, but also agrees to not say anything. It merely seems like a bad situation that they’ll have to deal with for the sake of the team until everything falls apart.
Breakdown: If you weren’t angry enough with the bitches from episode one or creeped out enough by the stalker in episode two, prepare yourself because we finally have someone who’s fully ‘go to hell’ worthy with Hanagasa.
He is a smug conniving asshole who only cares for himself and has absolutely no remorse for anything he does.
The story goes that Hanagasa, for some reason, suddenly slammed his baseball bat into Moroi’s stomach in the middle of the woods. Iwashida witnesses this, but Moroi tells him to back down. Hanagasa tells them to lie to anyone who asks about the incident and say that Moroi fell off of the pitcher’s mound. Moroi happily agrees since he doesn’t want to create any complications with the team seeing as how Hanagasa is the star player.
Iwashida reluctantly agrees to this, but tells Moroi’s mother that they were horsing around too roughly as the excuse as to how he got the wounds. This doesn’t seem like a big deal until they later reveal that, after three days of pain and suffering, Moroi died from his internal injuries.
As if being responsible for the death of his friend wasn’t enough, Hanagasa plays it completely innocently and even hams it up at Moroi’s memorial service, stating that he’ll work hard and become a pro baseball player in his memory. Yeah, do something you were planning on doing anyway but preface it with ‘in his memory.’ That’s noble as hell.
Iwashida is enraged by how Hanagasa is acting, but he’s in trouble of his own. Since Iwashida told Moroi’s mother that he got hurt from them playing around, he’s the main suspect when the detectives reveal that they know he died from blunt force trauma, probably due to a baseball bat. Everyone immediately suspects him even though they only have a piece of a story and Iwashida has no reason whatsoever for smacking his best friend in the stomach with a baseball bat.
Even his own parents immediately believe their son is responsible. Without knowing the story, even with no evidence or motive whatsoever, they just instantly believe Iwashida’s the killer. His father punches him in the face as he’s trying to give his side of the story, and his mother openly gets down on her knees and begs Moroi’s parents for forgiveness. What the hell?
You’d think this was just horrible luck and everyone’s tempers are high due to the circumstances, but no. Apparently, Hanagasa, by his own admission, somehow planned this whole thing.
And his reasons are insanely ridiculous.
He somehow knew Moroi would die three days after receiving his injuries, I guess, knew the two of them would never tell the truth about it, knew that Iwashida would get blamed for it, even though the story he told them to tell other people didn’t involve Iwashida and would turn it into a complete accident that was Moroi’s fault, then he knew the team would get banned from the upcoming tournament for shared responsibility of Moroi’s death, even though no proper investigation has been carried out outside of the autopsy confirming that he died of blunt force trauma.
He wanted the team to be barred from the tournament, which is why he set this whole thing in motion.
Why did Hanagasa, their star player, need to resort to this incredibly complicated and contrived scheme to get the team out of the tournament?
Because participating in the tournament would put undue stress on his shoulders and he didn’t want them to be in any way negatively affected for his bright professional baseball career. A high school tournament isn’t worth the incredibly minor risk in his eyes.
….He committed murder and framed another boy for the crime, subsequently ruining his life…..TO RELAX HIS ARMS.
…………I don’t know what to say.
Why he couldn’t just remove himself from the tournament is beyond me. He was a shoe-in for college or pro deals with the scouts who were basically humping the fence for him. Why not just say you felt the need to rest your body for your future career and skip the tournament? Or make up an excuse? Or something….anything! There are hundreds of thousands of things you could’ve done to get out of the tournament that are far more understandable and acceptable than first degree murder.
Hanagasa gives zero shits that either Moroi’s dead or that Iwashida’s life is completely ruined. He got what he wanted, and that shit-eating grin never leaves his face. I hate that Justin Cook is so good at playing assholes. I want to love you so much, yet you keep taking these roles.
In the end, you know how it goes, but even the absolute end isn’t as hopeful as the previous episodes.
Whereas in those episodes where it seems the victim’s troubles all get washed away when the string is pulled, Iwashida isn’t as lucky. Hanagasa was properly accused of the crime, and his hellish torture was definitely scarier this time around with some pretty good visuals and creepy moments. but apparently there was still so much heat on Iwashida at school that he had to move away to his aunt’s house, and no one, not even his parents, are seen apologizing to him for treating him like shit. He’s just left to wait everything out with that black mark emblazoned on his chest. His best friend’s still dead, he’s still somewhat vilified for a crime he didn’t commit, and he’s now damned to hell.
This episode also gave us a little bit more about Ai. Her ‘grandmother’ states that she has no choice but to do what she does, even though it seems like Ai doesn’t like it. It is her duty.
Rating: 7.5/10 – They go way overboard with Hanagasa as a despicable character, and his reasoning as well as his plan are just ridiculous. It’s completely unreasonable to believe all of that stuff happened according to his plan. There are way too many flimsy variables. However, it’s still a really good story with nice payoff.