The course of several months pass in episode six of Mix: Meisei Story, and with the passing of time come SO MANY DEVELOPMENTS:
- We meet Haruka, the girl from the opening and Sou’s apparent love interest…
- Who is the daughter of Tou’s father’s drinking buddy…
- An also the former captain of the Meisei squad and new manager of their high school team
- The new manager and Tou’s dad allude to Sou’s surprising role as a catcher instead of pitcher
- Speaking of which, Sou becomes the new number one and finally pitches…
- Which includes throwing a no hitter
- Meanwhile the setup for Tou x Otomi continues…
- While the fan service is ramping up (with some heavy doses, it looks like, coming in episode seven)
Perhaps the least important development, though, is the one on which the episode spends most of its time. As I mentioned previously, the series dropped little hints here and there to show that Nikaido and his father aren’t the villains they’re portrayed to be, and the full explanation is given this episode. The reason why he didn’t show up during the last game is because he was undergoing an operation where the prognosis was negative. His dad is his biggest cheerleader, and despite the overbearing aura, is a well-liked man who has always seen Nikaido as supremely talented and encouraged him through illness. Unable to break the old man’s heart, the team manager continues to let the younger Nikaido be the ace pitcher. Nikaido also wants to support his father, though he understands his limitations; meanwhile, all this explains Nikaido’s limited practice time due to health concerns.
Mix has a fairly light tone, and Nikaido’s story is presented that way as well. So there’s not a whole lot of commentary on the situation, but even though Nikaido and his father are presented in a positive light, it is also emphasized that his father should know better. Nikaido is almost apologetic and the team manager goes as far as to resign.
All this reminds me of the on-going Lori Loughlin college bribery scandal. The outcry against her has been pretty unanimous, though I wonder, if Loughlin was just someone in your community who wasn’t so rich, wasn’t so famous, and didn’t bribe with so much money, would you feel differently? Would you still decry her actions while also understanding them a little more?
I don’t know how I would respond in that less intensive scenario. I’m pretty judgmental, so I might think the same as I do now about her lack of character, hypocrisy, and l use of unfair methods that kept two worthy students out of college in lieu of her own daughters. But then again, if I’m considering the plank in my own eye, I might remember that at times, I feel like the worst parent in the world. As twisted as her methods may have been, Loughlin did what she did out of love; I sometimes do what I do as a parent out of pride, impatience, or anger—I just don’t have the resources or fame that would lead to my actions being judged.
The blind love shown by Nikaido’s dad is somewhat similar to Loughlin’s, and it’s debatable whether what he’s doing is okay. What I do like, though, is the way the kids respond to how Nikaido’s dad drove this whole situation. His son, in the most respectful of ways, says this:
The best way to thank my father in the limited time I had was to stand on the mound wearing the number one uniform for as many games as possible.
It’s a selfish decision, yes, but it’s one not salted with hypocrisy; there’s heart there, as misdirected as it might be. As for the players affected (like the college applicants affected by the bribery situation), Sou is the one who is hurt utmost, but his response is also gold: He forgives Nikaido, but he won’t ask for forgiveness for all the badmouthing he did.
The truth is, both Nikaido and Sou ultimately choose love as a response. It’s not always right—neither of their responses is perfect, and the love that Nikaido’s father has is blind in an unfortunate way. But sometimes love is the best we can do, right or wrong; and if so, that’s not a bad foundation to build from.
That goes for parents, whether you’re a business executive, a famous celebrity, or just Joe Schmo like myself; children, whether an ace pitcher, Instagram model, or diligent student; or those of us just responding to what we see and hear. If you choose love, you may not always be right—but erring on that side is more easily forgiven, since it, too, is forgiveness, and that’s both something which we all want, and a kind of love we all need.
MIX: Meisei Story is available to stream on Crunchyroll. Below are screen captures from episode six: