So in Piece we have not met Hiro yet (though that’s quickly about to change). I made a mistake in the last review, so let me make it quite clear up-front that the fellow we met in episode ten was somebody else – not Hiro – and we’ll find out who he is in this episode. Actually, this episode decides to make it clear right at the beginning, too, with Yanai (Matsumura Hokuto) explaining the relevant backstory to Mizuho (Honda Tsubasa).

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He got the story from Kido (Iwamoto Hikaru), who was part of a group who used to bully Hiro. Narumi Hikaru (Nakayama Yuma) would come over from Tokyo to defend his more timid older brother, but then eventually became friends with Kido and the rest.

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Cue a flashback to seven years ago . . .

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. . . where we find out that Hiro is also played by Yuma-kun, which I probably should have guessed would happen but totally didn’t. This is great, though, because we really get to see Yuma-kun’s acting ability, and it is truly something to behold.

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The guy who Hikaru visited in the previous episode, who I mistakenly called Hiro, was actually Maruo (Sakuma Daisuke), a foul type who decides to harass Hiro even after the others decide to leave the meek brother alone out of respect for Hikaru.

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Honestly, this flashback gave away too much, and it’s the director’s fault. We’re only supposed to find out what Yanai learned from Kido – which is that Hikaru beat Maruo to a pulp (inches from death) to defend Hiro.

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Instead, the director fails badly, and the way the scene is staged, it looks a lot more like Hikaru is taking the blame for his brother, who blew up.

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Of course, Mizuho and Remi don’t see the flashback version – they just hear Yanai saying that Hikaru nearly killed Maruo.

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Yanai tries to get Mizuho to give up on Hikaru, but she can’t bring herself to do so, saying that she cares about him.

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Yanai doesn’t press further, and instead contributes the additional information that Hikaru went to visit Maruo.

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The team decides to go to Maruo’s place the next day to find out why Hikaru visited the person he supposedly attacked.

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That night, Remi (Arai Moe) is out of sorts. Apparently the plot is hitting too close to home for some reason, and she takes her anxiety out on Mizuho.

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We see why Remi was angry through – guess what – another flashback. Turns out that she had some connection to the leader of the ruffians who messed with Hiro and befriended Hikaru.

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Did I say connection? I meant relationship.

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Did I say relationship? I meant he got her to sleep with him.

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The next day, Mizuho comes over to Remi’s place to try to clear the air between them, taking the best of all possible tacts in this sort of situation – confessing her own faults.

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We found out in the last episode that Remi has complicated feelings about Mizuho. How are those feelings affecting her desire to hide her connection Hikaru’s old friends?

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The trio heads out to Maruo’s place . . .

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. . . and finds out that he’s not home. The girl we saw last time tells them about the meeting between Maruo and Hikaru.

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She also says that Maruo and Hikaru left together, trying to find somebody.

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We see that this is, in fact, the case.

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We also get a Hiro sighting:

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Being quite forthcoming to strangers, she also tells them about a visit from Origuchi years ago . . .

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. . . and that Origuchi’s boyfriend had been the one who hurt Maruo.

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This leads Mizuho to go into a minor panic, because she thinks that Hikaru was the one who attacked Maruo. What I don’t get is: why doesn’t she wonder why Maruo would so readily go on a mission to find somebody with the boy who nearly killed him? Doesn’t even get mentioned.

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But here’s an even more interesting question: why would Origuchi talk about her boyfriend and the fact that she regretted dumping him to the guy her boyfriend attacked?

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I trust the whole Mizuho-thinking-it’s-Hikaru thing won’t last more than an episode, or this is going to get tedious.

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She broods.

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It’s so bad that Remi tries to cheer her up. I thought Remi was supposed to be the one distraught?

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Only helps a bit, though.

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Eventually, as much as Hikaru seems to be resisting it, the threads of this story are going to have to meet.

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We get some sense of how Hikaru feels about Mizuho in this scene. Some, but not much.

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Well, this episode cleared a few things up, but I wasn’t happy that it cleared up more for the viewer than it did for Mizuho – at this point, I would have rather experienced the process of discovery alongside the main character. Altogether, the way we learned information was a bit rough in this one, but I suppose the writers just wanted to get this stuff out there somehow, and used what pieces they had in place to do it. Sometimes, you’ve just got to use the sources of exposition you’ve got.

So, not a great episode, but one that gives hope for what we’ll see next time. I expect that we’ll finally get a more complete picture of Hiro in episode twelve, and therefore a more complete picture of Yuma-kun’s acting. It has been true since the start of the series, but it’s worth repeating that this series has certainly featured the best acting of the late-night treats pioneered by Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou, and that acting is what I’m going to be watching for as we go into the last two episodes.

Oh, and a satisfying ending, of course.

Thanks again to aozorasubs for their effort to make this series accessible.