Well, this episode picks up with Sawako still being confused about how to react to the rumors affecting Yoshida, Yano, and Kazehaya. The next school day brings the start of midterms and the students have to sit alphabetically instead using the seating chart, so Sawako doesn’t get to sit by the group. She sees Yoshida and Yano and thinks they’ve never gotten angry or mad at her. Sawako quietly goes to her seat, and Yano notices that Sadako isn’t her usual self.
As Sawako is sitting watching Yano and Yoshida, she thinks that it feels like she never had that seat, like everything was a dream, she wanted to help people and not get in their way, and she hasn’t even been able to clear this misunderstanding. Sawako thinks that even if she finds the source of the rumors she just might hurt them again if she gets near them. Hurt, how could I even fix the hurt, Sawako wonders if she should go back to the old way and distance herself from the others? As Sawako thinks about distancing herself from the others, tears begin to flow, and when she thinks of Kazehaya, her inspiration, she really begins to cry.
No, Sawako tells herself, she’s doesn’t remember how to be alone, the feelings of people being nice to her, and her being nice to people are too strong, she can’t remember how to return to the old days. How did she ever manage or accept being alone, Sawako’s forgotten everything.
As Sawako’s walking home from school she finds Kazehaya waiting for her, he tells her he doesn’t understand, don’t you like me, why are you avoiding me? She tells him not to talk with her, but she breaks down in tears and says she can’t say something she doesn’t mean. Kazehaya tells her to calm down and talk with him clearly so he can understand the situation. Well, Sawako spills the beans telling him about the rumors and how she feels she’s ruining Yoshida, Yano, and his reputation.
He tells her who gives a damn about rumors, where’s his say in the matter, it’s his decision who he hangs around with, he’ll do as he wishes, he’ll talk with who he wants to, and if he cared about rumors he wouldn’t be talking with her now. Sawako now understands that this is what she wanted, to have people who care for her, and to care for people. Once Sawako calms down, Kazehaya talks with her about Yano and Yoshida and the rumors, he tells Sawako to reverse the situation and think about how they would feel if they heard that their association with her was hurting her? Sawako says that she’d still want them to hang out with her. Kazehaya says that Yano and Yoshida most likely feel the same way. Kazehaya tells her, in the end it’s up to the other person to decide, but he says that if he was Yano or Yoshida he’d feel uncomfortable if she started avoiding them. Yes, Sawako says she was over thinking, she needs to tell them her feelings, she wants to become their friends.
Later, we see Pin running into Yano in the hall and she’s pissed because she got pulled away from hearing what Sadako had to say, he tells her he doesn’t know what happened but quite blaming other people because you’ll run into more unreasonable situations in the future. In the library, Yano thinks of Sadako and how seriously she took her suggestion.
Then we see Ryuu having a talk with Yoshida, he asks her if he needs to comfort her? Hell no. He asks her if those rumors are bothering her? She goes on about how she must be stupid, she just doesn’t know, is Sadako really Sadako or a fake Sadako and is she using her? She tells him that people are saying that Sadako is spreading those rumors? How, by talking to herself, and she doesn’t seem that she has anyone to talk to. Well, Yoshida brings up the point that Sadako was talking with someone, and she said they weren’t friends and she is avoiding us. Then Yoshida brings up the “I’m sorry” point and the issue of why she just didn’t say she liked us?
Well, Ryuu says maybe Sadako doesn’t really like you, or she doesn’t care, or maybe she has other reasons. Ryuu tells her that if it’s really bothering her just ask Sadako, and he’ll comfort her if the answer is she doesn’t care. Later, Yoshida looks over the study book that Sadako made for her, and she becomes even more troubled and uncertain about the issue. Later, that night, Yano and Yoshida meet up and talk about the Sadako issue, and how Sadako hasn’t smiled since the rumors started. Yoshida wonders if Sadako’s so used to being alone if this is normal for her, and that thought makes her sad, that’s why she couldn’t leave her alone. Yano speculates that maybe Sadako became so used to every one’s attitude towards her that she really doesn’t understand emotions, even her own. Yano says that when she saw Sadako smile it made her happy. Yano also says that we thought we knew everything about her but there are many things we don’t understand. Yoshida speculates that they never got a clear answer from her but they also haven’t told her how they feel, and they never got to finish their conversation with her. Yano asks Yoshida that after all this thinking and worrying about Sadako, don’t we already love her? We’re already friends?
At that moment, Sawako thinks to herself that we don’t know other peoples feelings unless we ask, and they won’t know ours unless we tell them. Sawako resolves to tell them how she feels and ask how they feel, she can be comfortable with this.
The next school day, Sawako is building up her courage to talk with Yano and Yoshida in a bathroom stall, she’s nervous but doesn’t hate the feeling. Sawako hears some girls talking about the rumors of Yano and Yoshida being her backup, and she confronts them by says they’re not her backup and both of them are nice people. The group just laughs at her, and one of the girls tells her to shut up(the French doll?, I can’t tell) and backs Sawako against the wall and calls Yano and Yoshida the criminal and the slut. As the group laughs at Sadako, she balls her fist up and …? Well, cliffhanger time, that’s all for this episode.
Well, this episode had it all; pain, uncertainty, loneliness, melodrama, angst, and tears (including my own). As Sawako’s slowly let her guard down and began to open herself up to others, she tasted the feelings of friendship and love for the first time and discovered she liked these new found but confusing emotions.
When we first met Sawako, she basically surrounded herself and protected herself with her masks, the mask of Sadako that others projected on to her which she embraced, and the mask of emotional disconnection with the world around her, the mask of her own creation. Basically, Sawako’s masks were her AT Field, her protection, her curse, her barrier, and Sawako had to discover like Shinji that in order to truly make human and emotional connections you have to let others in on your real feelings and emotions. Sawako comes to this understanding towards the end of the episode when she realises that “you won’t know other people’s feelings unless you ask”.
Throughout the majority of NGE, Shinji pouted and disconnected from others because he only viewed the world from a “nobody understands me” point of view and he made no real effort to bother with how others around him felt. Yes, Sawako now understands that communication and feelings have to be a two way street, life’s uncertain but she can live with it. For a brief period Sawako considered trying to recreate her AT Field, but after her exposure to human connection I don’t think that she had the stomach to embrace her seperation again.
One other point I would like to make is that all the guys in this episode seemed have a calming and thoughtful influence on the girls: Kazehaya helped Sawako understand that she needs to tell Yano and Yoshida how she really feels; Pin helped Yano come to the realization that problems and misunderstandings don’t just fix themselves, you have to do it; and finally Ryuu helped Yoshida realise that just stewing in your own doubts does nothing.
Oh, this episode just made me a big Yano fan, she really showed me a level of subtle thoughtfulness and sensitivity that you really don’t see that often in supporting characters.