Some acquaintances of Hinata’s want to talk to her on the research station’s New Year’s video chat broadcast thing, but she dodges them at the rehearsal call and dodges a related question afterwards. Suspicious, Shirase trails her and catches a glimpse of some good old fashioned rage venting.
By the way: spoilers
In the absence of an opportunity to engage Hinata directly about what’s going on with her former teammates, Shirase finds herself intercepting a message sent by them to the research station’s primary email address. Hinata is dismayed by this invasion of privacy, but ends up giving the low-down to the rest of the main cast: three of her acquaintances gave her what turned out to be bad advice about competing with their seniors for placement in a competition – when she did win a spot in the track meet, though, the trio panicked and tried to save face with said seniors rather than own up to their suggestion and throw their lots in with Hinata, eventually to the point of claiming that the whole thing was her idea to begin with. Disillusioned with her former friends, Hinata dropped out of her club, and then dropped out of school completely.
While she more-or-less manages to convince Mari and Yuzuki to not fret over what happened to her (having come to Antarctica to get away from it all), Shirase won’t let it go – not when the fair-weather-friends are still scheduled to be on a public video call. After Hinata finally confides to Shirase that she’s still torn up over how to face them, Shirase preempts that confrontation by stepping on camera and telling them off in her place.
There’s a lot going on in this episode. Right off the bat, the show fulfills one of the promises in its OP by dealing justice to Mari for taking off her face-mask in the previous episode without sunscreen. Gin & Kanae continue to move their plan forward, emboldened by the events of the main plot. We also get a couple of doses of scenery porn, and a front-row seat to Nobue’s deteriorating mental state.
Also, this show has amazing attention to detail. I especially appreciate Hinata playfully making fun of Yuzuki’s overuse of the word “die”, joining Mari who I believe did so an episode or two ago. Plus – dig this screenshot of Hinata’s phone:
She’s connected into the station’s wifi, but she had to have done so after putting her phone into Airplane Mode so it doesn’t constantly expend power trying to find an actual cell signal in Antarctica. Excellent foresight.
Anyway, much like Welcome to the Durian Show, this episode turns on a Hinata-Shirase axis. Hinata’s been my favorite character for a while now, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating more of her backstory ever since she mentioned in Kabuki-cho Fremantle that she has the Japanese equivalent of her GED (she used some sort of abbreviation, but I believe she was referring to this, which is offered to people as young as 16 but isn’t actually valid before you turn 18 – hence: the convenience store gig). We don’t really get a feel for her transition from despondence to the vengeful industriousness that she implies during that conversation (and I assume it would take something like that to prove to the Ministry of Education [et cetera] that you’re two years ahead of the game), but that wouldn’t fit as well with the episode’s theme.
As an aside, her story really contextualizes another line from her introductory episode, where she said that she was drawn to Mari and Shirase because of the honesty that she could sense in their conversations.
Hinata’s overall arc in this show seems like it’s “learning to trust after having been burned”, much like Yuzuki’s seems to be “learning to trust for the first time”. Watching her open up to Shirase is adorable, and watching Shirase employ her forwardness on Hinata’s behalf is super satisfying.
This is the kind of heart-warming story you have to get straight from the frigid wasteland of Antarctica.
This is the girliest show I’ve watched in a long time.
And I love it.