What They Say:
As Hinata and Kokona visit the summit of Mt. Fuji, Aoi must grapple with her regret and frustration on the descent.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Splitting the girls up the last time around was a surprise as Aoi ended up not being able to make it past the eighth station due to the strain of the climb on her body. With Kaede staying with her, we got to see the difficult choice made where Hinata and Kokona went further on as the night climb got underway to get to the top as they wanted to see the sunrise from there. Nobody liked the situation turning out like it did, but Aoi wasn’t going to hold back everyone and you can imagine she wanted Kaede to go with the others to rather than ruin her climb so far. That said, even at this station level, there’s some fantastic views.
Hinata and Kokona’s climb is great as they get to the shrine at the summit and get to see the sunrise from such an amazing view with everyone else there. It’s a beautiful moment as everyone at the summit just soaks up that incredible view and the kind of spiritual meaning of it all to them. While that’s a big part of the trip, Hinata and Kokona also get the thrill of one of the other things you can do up there with the basin walk, circling it and getting a lot of other fantastic views. What I wish they touched a bit upon though are the people that either live and work up there in these various stations to give us an idea of what their lives are like a little bit too because there has to be some really quirky things to it all. But what Hinata and Kokona see as they go about is fantastic and full of great views and details.
There’s a lot of great views that come into play here as it unfolds as the girls walk around, hit the post office up there as well and show us a beautiful aerial view of the mountain as a whole. The focus on Hinata and Kokona is definitely well warranted, but they don’t get all the time here. As the girls make their way down, Aoi and Kaede started ahead of them to go a bit slower and meet up at the fifth station and start their way home. Unfortunately, the entire situation is really eating up Aoi from the inside in a big way and it’s plainly obvious even as she retreats further within herself. Watching as the other girls are unsure about how to comfort her definitely makes sense and is left to the future.
Encouragement of Climb hits a really good episode here as it balances both the beauty and incredible visual design aspect of reaching the summit and all that’s there while also keeping us very grounded with what Aoi is going through. Thankfully, it’s not done in parallel so we get to soak up Hinata and Kokona’s journey to the summit and all they experience there. It’s a fantastic piece and one that works well in how it just moves slowly but surely through everything to get us there and to go into some of the details of how it’s all laid out. The next few episodes are likely to focus on the more personal side as Aoi and her friends cope with what went down and that should be a good thing to see in how they come together or splinter apart.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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