HaruChika – 09

HaruChika - tfw you know something you shouldn't

tfw you realize you’ve learned something more than you bargained for

winter15-highw Since realizing what the real message of the show is, I’ve actually been able to relax about HaruChika and enjoy watching it without wondering what the heck the “mystery” is. So what was this week’s lesson?


Youthful Indescretions

HaruChika - HaruChika +1

This week’s extra is Kaiyu, cause he hasn’t had a chance yet.

Kusakabe-sensei has collapsed, because apparently working every day for a couple months will do that (there are a lot of people who would like the opportunity to collapse and take time off work, I think, from working every day, and not in a relatively cushy job like ‘band teacher’). But this leads to wondering why he is covering for the band director at another school, the “Gorilla”, Mr. Sakai. Sakai has been suspended indefinitely from his teaching duties, for reasons which he won’t disclose to anyone. So The Glass Oracle (aka Kusakabe) has been covering for him as well. This leads the whole band wanting to find out why, and sending in Haruta and Chika, so that they can cut Kusakabe’s workload in half. And because the new guy Kaiyu hasn’t had any time in the show, we’ll send him along, just because.

HaruChika - Roundtable discussion

Trying to determine what’s happened

So it seems that the reason the teacher is suspended has to do with the events of a camera sneak in class. They’ve taken the change to summer uniforms and hot weather as an invitation to take some peepy photos of the girls in the class, prompting some class rearrangements at the request of the class rep, the apparent focus of these photos. But it seems that Sakai was able to figure out the identity of the sketchy shutterbug and confront them, but then things took a turn for the worse, with him accepting an administrative suspension. But why? The reason ends up being in order to protect the student teacher, Miss Ogawara, a reformed bad girl who had had him as her teacher years ago before she dropped out.

HaruChika - Young and tempestuous

Someone was a little tempestuous

Second Chances

HaruChika - Too late

The poor decisions of the past can cramp the possibilities of the future

The background we’re given on Miss Ogawara is the key here, as well as the air conditioner’s recent failure. The show isn’t really keen on misdirection, because, as usual, that’s not the point of the lesson. Instead, we find out that the photos were taken with an infrared camera, which took advantage of the light summer clothing to get a little more intimate. And in doing so, the normally buttoned-up Ogawara was exposed, since she took her coat off for class, revealing (at least to the camera) her back tattoo. Never mind that it’s been half-removed, this hidden relic from her bad girl past is enough to sink her chances of being a respectable teacher if the secret gets out. And because he believes in her, Sakai has fallen on his sword to buy the silence of Asmodeus. Having learned the real reason, Ogawara rectifies the situation, quitting so that Sakai can come back without fear of hurting her further, but on the way out, he tells her he will keep a position open for a student teacher so that she can come back when she has the remainder of the tattoo removed.

HaruChika - Realizing you have another chance

The hope of redemption can still shine through


Once again, this is a lesson about the adult world, and it’s one we don’t usually get in anime. Generally, characters in anime are, well, characters, and they don’t really conform to the social mores, usually the wackier the better. Even the adults we usually see are far less worried about position and propriety than actual people, so seeing the harsher realities of Japanese adult life is a bit of a difference. It’s also jarring for us westerners and younger folks who don’t really consider even a significant back tattoo as something that would be considered of low morals or even criminality, especially given that Ogawara kept it covered up at work. But the fact that the kids in the show understood the gravity of the situation means that in that society it is very much a looked-down-upon and shameful thing. But there’s also the opportunity for redemption and renewal, if she continues with the painful process of having it removed (and thus paying penance for her mistake). There’s also an interesting and important thing that Haruta is learning, first with Akari’s grandfather and now with Ogawara: Sometimes knowing the truth can hurt people, even if it’s not intended to.

 There are a lot of good reasons to not get a tattoo, like “You are a goddamned idiot.”


Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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5 Responses to “HaruChika – 09”

  1. skylion says:

    There is another lesson buried beneath this; unless I missed something. Asmodeus got away with it with blackmailing an adult. Now the rather tawdry argument is whether or not it’s justified. But aside from that a child just learned that they can get away with this sort of thing with little repercussion towards themselves.

    • Highway says:

      I don’t really think that was the case. This is another situation where the different social mores inform us westerners incorrectly. They made very specific reference to the student who was depressed for a couple days after Sakai was suspended, and then stopped coming to class after that. That girl is the one who was taking the pictures, and seeing that Sakai actually took a harsher punishment for her weighed too heavily on her mind. Remember that the class rep really “only” wanted a public apology (essentially confession) and a promise to never do it again.

      So there is some ‘getting away with blackmail’, although there wasn’t really much ‘getting away with it’, but I think the larger part of it is in the “things that have been seen cannot be unseen” vein. I don’t think that Asmodeus intended to use the photo to blackmail Sakai or Ogawara, but the problem was that Ogawara was pushing it in “being able to stand in front of the class without shame.” As I said, I think we in the west can’t really understand this level of social propriety, not in that visceral manner that would be necessary.

  2. theirs says:

    A bit about the tattoo, I think the real problem is the type of tattoo, not the tattoo itself. IIRC the Yakuza has a certain style for their full body tattoos. It’s probably akin to a German having a swastika tattoo.

    A few years ago, I’ve also heard about a Japanese government program that severely restricts the job opportunities of those associated with the Yakuza. It was a program to decrease their numbers by making them less attractive to young people. Can’t really remember what they’re allowed to do, but I’m sure a school teacher is a no-no.

    • Highway says:

      You’re probably right, but the reaction of Haruta, Chika, and the others learning about it without seeing it means that there’s still a lot of connotations with just the mention of a tattoo. Either it is assumed to be a yakuza-style one, or there’s still a stigma with tattoos in general.

      And your second paragraph is another one of those vindictive, short-sighted policies that just railroad people into being forced to stay in what you don’t want them to do. One might think that threatening someone with excommunication from the group of ‘good people’ would be a deterrent, but when you’re threatening teenagers, it usually doesn’t work the way you want. And now you’ve created a class of people that can’t get out no matter what, similar to the ridiculous restrictions that people in the US face with any sort of criminal record, even just a single arrest. Are they official? Sometimes yes (the horrendous ‘Sex offender registry’) and sometimes no (employers will rarely look at someone for a low-skill labor position if they have a criminal record, even that one arrest). But they all have the effect of ruining people’s lives far in excess of whatever harm they may have caused.

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