Asuko March! Episode 3 Recap
So episode 2 focused more on Aruto’s life and he and Nao helping each other out. Thanks to Nao-chan, Aruto-kun has decided to stay at Asuko for the moment. This episode focuses in on Hirose-kun. I just love this big, tough guy who can be a softy when you start peeling back his toughness. This episode focuses on Hirose’s crush on Momo-chan and Nao trying to help him out.
The show opens with Nao in a construction uniform. Looks like they are out of mechanical training and working on construction projects now. Nao carries some boards and nearly takes out another student. He tells Nao to be careful and Nao turns and apologizes, managing to knock Watanabe in the head instead (thank god for hard hats). This girl. Seriously is a walking disaster when it comes to this stuff. Besides being klutzy, Nao does relatively well in the construction class. Tamaki even comments on her improvement. Nao tells him that she has been practicing. Class ends and Nao thinks about how she will use the school’s mid semester break to take care of transferring. She takes out her pigtails and shakes her hair down. Murai watches across the room, mesmerized. Looks like Nao is starting to capture the hearts of her male classmates. Tamaki notices this and looks back and forth between Murai and Nao.
Later in class, the boys are trying to erase a girl’s top in a magazine (like that will show them anything). Nao turns away in distaste and looks at her sketch of Aruto. Then in comes Tamaki. He sits down and asks if Nao and Aruto are dating. This surprises Nao and she quickly closes the book to hide the sketch. She says they aren’t dating and quickly gets up to go to the back of the room. Tamaki follows and Nao asks why he wants to know. Tamaki replies that some guy is wondering what her type is (close up on Murai’s smitten face). Nao thinks and says a normal guy who is nice, surprising, and mysterious/brooding. As she says each of these characteristics, Murai does his best to embody them by being nice to his classmates, saying his hobby is chess (big surprise), and then going to the window to stare broodingly out it. Tamaki watches this and isn’t sure what to think.
Nao goes to clean the blackboards when a disturbance erupts and the boys all go to take a look. Yankees from a different class are picking a fight with Hirose. The one attacks and Hirose barely moves and can avoid the attacks. He then grabs the guy’s arm and pushes him into the cabinet, knocking him out. The two other goons pick him up and drag him out while Wajima and Kishi compliment Hirose on his strength. They say they heard rumors that people in Hirose’s old middle school feared him. Hirose, not happy with this attention or the discussion says not really and that he doesn’t go to that school any more. Takeuchi comes in and says that Hirose has an interesting history. Who knew such things happened outside of mangas and in middle school? Kishi and Wajima get up in Takeuchi’s face and he says go ahead and beat him up if they want to be reported. Hirose then calls the two boys to leave the weakling alone. Nao says she really needs to transfer out soon.
Nao heads off to change when she comes to the hallway where she collapsed. She recalls Aruto’s kindness and gentleness when he piggybacked her. This daydreaming is interrupted by the venomous Momo who says that it looks like Nao and Aruto are doing well. Momo says that it seems to make Nao feel better that she called someone a liar. Nao immediately says that she never did (well, she never came right out and accused Momo of lying). Momo then says that Nao just wants Aruto to herself. Nao says that isn’t true. Momo spots a group of boys and calls out to them acting all girly and waving. She turns back to Nao and says that it’s best if Nao doesn’t mess with her. That girl is seriously warped.
After electrical training, Omukai approaches Nao and says the teacher have noticed her hard work and improvement in her practical training courses. He congratulates her on it. Nao smiles and thanks him. Omukai asks if Nao has grown to like the work. Nao immediately replies that it is all for the transfer. This disappoints Omukai. He the tells Nao that he has been given the go ahead by the school to orient Nao for a transfer. This makes Nao’s day. She thanks him again and Omukai asks if she won’t reconsider the transfer since she is getting much better at industrial work. Nao doesn’t hesitate to say no. Omukai then asks if her parents are okay with her transferring schools. This catches Nao by surprise. She says of course they do, but she still hasn’t told her grandfather.
The nervous Nao tries to broach the subject with her grandfather, but he ignores her and then sets a plain, sparse dinner in front of her. He then pulls her transfer application, surprising Nao. Yoshino then asks his granddaughter how she could keep such an important matter from him. Even though he isn’t Nao’s parents (who are MIA – I don’t know if they are dead or just somewhere else), he still looks out for her welfare as her grandfather. Yoshino asks why she didn’t consult him, is there something that Nao wants to do? Well, Nao doesn’t have an answer to that question. Her only thought is that she doesn’t want to get trapped in Asuko. Yoshino then accuses her of just running away. Nao may find out that only the environment has changed and nothing else. Nao then says that no matter what she decides to do with her life she doubts she’ll find it at Asuko. Yoshino says that she’s still just searching and Nao butts in and says to stop meddling in her business. She gets up and the two then begin to say a lot of nasty things until Yoshino says she can leave and Nao takes her stuff and runs away. Yeah, that didn’t go well.
Nao talked big, but where can she actually go? She ends up at Sugisaki’s doorstep who asks if she came there because the clinic was closed. Nao nods and Sugisaki lets her in telling her to make herself at home. Nao asks if she has kids. Sugisaki says she is divorced so her kids are at their father’s. She then tells Nao to tell her what happened while she does a facial. Nao says that her grandfather wants her to make a decision about her future before choosing a different school, but Nao just doesn’t know what she wants to do. Is it normal to decide when you’re just in your first year of high school? Sugisaki says that most of Asuko’s students already know what they will be doing with their futures (hence why they are at that school). Sugisaki then turns to Nao and says she is lucky that she gets to choose because some students don’t have a choice and must do the industrial work just to make a living. That night while trying to go to sleep, Nao recalls Tamaki telling her about inheriting his father’s factory and then Aruto telling her it was okay to transfer to follow another direction forward. Just what is the right decision?
Meanwhile, Aruto is hard at work at the host club, He is on cleaning duties because he had no customers request him. His mom wakes up when he gets home and welcomes him back. He asks if he woke her and she says he didn’t. Sachiko then picks up her medicine envelope and says she has run out. Aruto smiles and says he will pick them up for her tomorrow. Sachiko then broaches the subject about maybe going back to work for awhile. Aruto says she doesn’t need to worry about that. Sachiko then apologizes for being useless. Aruto smiles and tells her she isn’t and that he enjoys his job (somehow I don’t think that’s true. I think he just chose it because it could pay really well if he got popular).
When Nao gets to school the next morning, she overhears that Kurosawa got expelled and Kishi and Wajima are angry that another student, Kimura, is getting expelled thanks to some tattle tale. All eyes turn to Takeuchi. Nao approaches him in the library and sees him studying. She asks why he is and he says he is aiming for a good college. Nao asks if he knows what he wants to take up. Takeuchi answers by telling her what he doesn’t want to do – be a doctor. Anything is better than being a doctor (his father’s profession by the way). Nao says that whatever he chooses, it will definitely be different from Asuko. She goes to leave and her tummy rumbles. No homemade lunch for her today.
She heads to the bread line where it is like a battlefield. She goes to push her way threw but is thrown out of the melee onto a nearby cart. She rolls backwards into Hirose-kun. He takes off his jacket and gives it to her, saying leave it to him. He pushes up his sleeves and easily parts the crowd like the red sea (cliché, I know). Nao watches in wonder and awe, but then looks down and wonders why he took off his jacket. Nao is shocked when he comes back with only dessert breads. Hirose hands her one and then demands 130 yen (bread is only 100, he’s upping the price for profit).
The two go outside to eat together and Nao asks doesn’t he normally eat with Momo-chan. Hirose said Momo eats with her own class now. Nao then asks what he has decided to do with his future. Such an interesting conversation to have with a guy you really didn’t interact much with before. Hirose replies that he doesn’t know and Nao comments that he must really like sugar. The self-conscious Hirose then begins wiping at his mouth (to get sugar off…?). At that moment out comes Momo and her gaggle of men. She is laughing and having fun until she sees Nao and Hirose together. I am sure the lying vixen believes that Nao is out to get every guy that Momo showed the least interest in, which is the farthest thing from the truth. Although Nao is crushing on Aruto, she is pretty innocent in the boy and dating arena and has no hidden agendas like Momo.
The two head back to class and Tamaki leans out the window with a chicken drumstick saying that they ate it since she wasn’t there. By the way, does Nao eat like that every day? Nao asks what he means and then she hears her grandfather’s voice. He is telling her classmates all about her and how she complained and whined about going to Asuko. Nao runs in and asks what he is doing there. The class then says they didn’t let the very elaborate food go to waste and they all thank Yoshino for bringing it in. Yoshino then says that since they all know about Nao now, he’s hoping for their cooperation. Nao rushes into the middle and tells him to stop embarrassing her. Yoshino replies that he just wanted her classmates to understand her. Nao says that isn’t necessary, but Yoshino replies that it can’t hurt. Nao then pulls him and tells him to get out. Yoshino doesn’t want to leave since Nao hasn’t taken her lunch yet. Nao says she doesn’t want it and accidentally knocks it to the ground when she turns around. Hirose picks it up and scolds Nao for saying some not nice things to her grandfather. Yoshino apologizes and leaves. Awkward.
After school, Nao asks Sugisaki ifs he can stay another night as after what happened that afternoon she doesn’t think she can go home yet. Nao promises it will be only just one more night when Sugisaki complains about Nao’s parents calling in concern. Sugisaki caves and tells Nao to wait for her as she has a meeting. Nao agrees and when Sugisaki leaves, she notices a sound. She goes into a classroom and sees Hirose working on something. He quickly hides it when she asks what he is working on. He says nothing and stands up and puts whatever it is behind his back. Music can be heard and Nao asks if he is making a music box. Hirose pulls it from behind his back and shows her. It is a really cool looking box. Nao is impressed and Hirose is defensive. She tells him that it is impressive. She opens it and sees that it is not finished yet. Hirose asks if girls like such things. Nao asks if he is talking about Momo-chan. Hirose asks if it is a bad idea. Nao says no it isn’t and then asks if he is confessing. Hirose says he is just trying to cheer Momo up since she felt bad after the whole Aruto incident.
Nao then asks when Hirose started making music boxes. Hirose sits down and says that his grandfather used to make them as a hobby. Hirose always liked the sounds they made, so unusual and old-fashioned. He didn’t dislike the sound and he guesses he learned to make them just by watching his grandfather. Nao asks if that is what he wants to do in the future. Hirose says he guesses, but he will still look for a normal job to put food on the table, but he does want to be a craftsman who makes music boxes. Nao says that it is awesome that he thinks that far ahead and knows what he wants to do. Hirose replies that isn’t really special and Nao changes the subject to his grandfather. How wonderful to have a nice grandfather at home. Hirose quickly replies that his grandfather passed away when he was in grade school. Nao apologizes and Hirose said she should be sorry towards her grandfather for treating him like that. Afterwards, Nao decides to go home after all instead of spending the night with Sugisaki.
At the Yoshino home, Nao’s grandfather sits despondent on the couch holding the rejected lunchbox. He quickly puts it down and goes back to ironing when Nao walks in. He asks if she found what she wanted to do. Nao replies that she still hasn’t and Yoshino says that Asuko wasn’t that good. The boys were a little too mischievous. Nao asks if that is what he really thought. Yoshino turns around wondering what she means and Nao angrily replies that she can’t easily decide what to do with her life and runs upstairs. Her grandfather complains because he wanted to apologize and Nao goes upstairs upset at herself for not apologizing either. These two can be so alike at times.
At the host club, the creepy woman is back and has requested Aruto. She complains about his over the top behavior and Aruto apologizes. She grabs his arm and brings him down to sit with her saying that is why she is there to help him. Aruto asks what she means and she says she knows everything about him and grabs his silver feather pendant. She then calls him by his real name. Damn this chick is a stalker.
Hirose finishes the music box with Nao by his side. Nao tells him that it is really awesome. At first she thought music boxes where old-fashioned, but she really loves the one Hirose made. She believes that Momo would be happy to get such a great gift. Hirose then asks her to do him a favor and give it to Momo. Nao pushes the music box back and says it is better for him to convey his feelings properly himself. Hirose doesn’t want to because he doesn’t know if he can and pushes it back at Nao who smiles and pushes it between them.
So the final decision was to package the music box up prettily and put it in Momo-chan’s locker. After Hirose puts it in, he quickly runs back to Nao where they can watch the whole thing play out. Hirose asks if that is all right to do it that way and Nao replies that it is a little old fashioned. Then comes Momo and the two watch with bated breath. Momo is surprised to find the present in her locker. She takes it out and smiles at it which makes Nao and Hirose happy. But then a group of guys come and Momo says she got a funny gift. They asks if guys still give cheesy love letters and Momo replies that it is even funnier than that – a music box! The guys immediately start complaining about how old fashioned such a gift is. Poor Nao and even poorer Hirose get to hear all of this. When Momo calls it gross and the guys start chanting it, the angry Nao goes to yell at them, but Hirose beats her to it. He grabs the music box from Momo and apologizes for displeasing her before running off with Nao running after him. Momo definitely doesn’t look pleased (did she really like and just lie to the others?).
When Nao catches up to Hirose he is getting ready to smash the music box. Nao tells him no to do it. Hirose says that Nao heard Momo say it was gross. Hirose then says that Nao even said it was old-fashioned. He then smashes the music box much to Nao’s horror. Hirose then says he will never make another one. Nao bends down to pick up the pieces and the guys who were with Momo earlier surround and tease him. The angry Hirose then unleashes his frustration on them. The fight gets pretty bad and Nao is thrown to the ground when she tries to intervene. This incites Hirose to fight harder (guess he forgot that he did the same thing to Nao earlier in episode 2). Nao yells at him to stop, but Hirose doesn’t listen and keeps fighting. Then one of the guys takes a broom and goes to hit him. Nao warns him and he gets his arm up to protect his head. The broom cracks and hits Momo in the arm. Momo then tells Hirose that she hates brainless men who resort to violence the most. Poor Hirose!
The next day Omukai tells Nao that Hirose is being expelled for fighting! This shocks Nao who asks how bad it is. Omukai says that he is being blamed for hurting a girl’s parents. Momo’s parents complained and the principal has been notified of Hirose’s history of violence. Omukai promises to work hard to save Hirose from being expelled and Nao says that she is counting on him. Kishi and Wajima seem to have overheard the conversation and call out Takeuchi. The throw him against a metal cabinet. They asks if it was him. Takeuchi says he doesn’t know what they are talking about. He then asks if they mean what happened to Hirose. Takeuchi then says he is surprised that they know what friendship is. Low blow and not going to help in this situation – not that Takeuchi cares. Takeuchi then says he didn’t do it, but Hirose’s expulsion is to be expected. Wajima punches him and Takeuchi laughs. This only incites the boys more. Takeuchi then says that those two will be next.
Meanwhile, Nao chases after Momo. Momo asks what she wants and Nao asks after he arm. Momo says it’s not okay and that it is hard to live like that. Nao then says that be that as it may, Hirose did not hit Momo. This surprises the girl. Nao then goes on to say that Momo knows Hirose was just protecting himself and didn’t mean for Momo to get hurt. The angry Momo goes into defense mode and we hear her common phrase about her being the real victim. Nao just tells her to tell the exact facts. Momo ignores her and goes up the stairs. Nao calls after her saying that Hirose only wanted to cheer Momo up. Momo turns and asks if Hirose asked Nao to do that. Nao says she isn’t that type of person and Momo asks then what type is Nao. Momo walks back down and grabs Nao’s arm. She tells Nao not to make her made or else Nao will be the next one expelled. This girl has some serious issues.
Momo goes to the library and thanks Takeuchi for his advice. She then tells him that thanks to him, she was almost put into a dangerous situation. The annoyed Takeuchi then replies that thanks to Nao, he got beaten up. Poor guy. Nao says that Takeuchi wanted Hirose to be expelled, right. Momo then says that Nao pisses her off. Takeuchi asks if she is doing it just because of that. Momo says yes and Takeuchi calls her scary. Momo then asks if the yankees thought that it was Takeuchi causing all of the trouble. Takeuchi says that she is one causing trouble, too. Momo smiles and tells him not to end up too much like his brother. Takeuchi angrily slams down his pencil and tells her to stop. Dying to know the story here, ne?
Omukai manages to get the expulsion changed to a suspension. Until it is lifted, Hirose can’t come to school. Nao waits for him, but Hirose ignores her. Nao chases after him telling him to wait. He asks what she wants and Nao holds up the pieces of the music box he broke.
I envy you, Hirose-kun. You have found what you really want to do. I don’t have anything. It cheered me up listening to this music box.
Hirose just swats it out of her hand and says that is a big joke to him now and tells her to stop annoying him with it. Nao picks up the pieces again and sadly watches Hirose leave.
She takes the pieces back to the workshop where Hirose made it and wonders what she should do. Aruto shows up and says it seems like Nao likes to stay overtime. Nao says she thought he was absent. Aruto says he only came after hours to finish a charm he was working on. He asks why she is there and Nao says she wants to fix the music box that Hirose made since it is partly her fault that it got ruined. Aruto tells her that it is so cute her working hard for someone else’s sake. Nao then asks if he is making that charm for someone. Aruto says he will probably give it away, but sorry, not to her. Nao says she knows that and looks back all depressed at the pieces. Aruto then says he will help her. This perks Nao up, but he then tacks on only if he finishes making the charm.
Nao takes the music box home to work on, but she doesn’t know where to start. Her grandfather listens in concern outside her door. The next morning she takes it to school and shows it to Omukai who tells her that it is too damaged. It can only be fixed by someone on the craftsmen level. Omukai then tells her that Hirose’s expulsion was lifted and changed to suspension. This makes Nao happy to hear that Hirose will get to finish up at Asuko. The suspension does come with the addendum that Hirose doesn’t cause any more trouble before he’s back or after. Nao thanks Omukai and he says that if he says he’ll do it, then he will. Omukai then says that Yoshino has to treat him for a meal. Nao laughs and asks if students treat teachers in this school. Omukai replies that it has been a tough month and Nao backs away realizing that he is totally serious.
Nao is walking home, pondering what to do about the music box when she notices Aruto. She recalls his promise to help if she wants it. She smiles and goes to approach him. But then up pops the crazy stalker woman. This makes Nao pause and she assures herself it can only be for work. Then up pops Tamaki who also works in the same area who ask Nao what is wrong. Nao says nothing is wrong and quickly goes off. Tamaki wonders what is wrong with her and then he looks up and sees Aruto with the other woman. I think he can easily figure out why Nao seems so depressed. As I have said before, I am on team Tamaki. There is nothing wrong with Aruto. He is suave, kind, and sweet, but he is also in a really complicated situation. He supports Nao, but he is overly kind and does things for her (like in the previous episode) when she really needs to do them for herself. Tamaki is a person who wishes to help guide, but let Nao do things on her own so she can learn.
In the club, Aruto asks if it is really okay for the woman, Naganuma, to be coming to the club every day. She tells him not to worry about money. After all, Naganuma is quite popular in the clubs. She also tells him not to worry because she does it all because she loves him (gag). This seems to make Aruto a little uncomfortable. Naganuma then asks him to come away with her so he’ll never be troubled again. When Aruto gets home, his mother has prepared a feast for her son. Since she can’t work, she wanted to do something nice. Aruto happily digs in and says that it is good. This relieves Sachiko, who quickly has a spell when she realizes the food has no flavor. She accuses Aruto of looking down on her and Aruto says that he doesn’t and tries to calm her down.
Meanwhile, Nao is trying to fix the bent cylinder without success. Her grandfather asks if she has a minute and then he takes the cylinder and straightens it as best he can. Nao is amazed and asks how he knows how. Yoshino reveals he made on himself for a girl he liked. Yoshino then confesses that he went to a technical school. Nao asks if that is the reason he recommended her to go to one. She calls him selfish and runs upstairs. She then comes back down and thanks him for fixing the cylinder. Well at least their relationship is on the mend.
Then follows a montage of Nao working hard on repairing the music box back to its original state. She works on it every day at school and at home. Often staying up to the wee hours of the morning. She even falls asleep during class thanks to all of the sleep she misses. I have to admit that it is a really cute moment when Tamaki notices her sleeping when standing up during construction class and comes over and flicks her hard hat. Meanwhile, it looks like Hirose is actually do an in-house suspension and he spends his days in alone in a classroom doing work.
Nao finally finishes the music box on the day that Hirose-kun’s suspension is lifted. She greets him and asks if he is back. He says yes and she quickly gives him the music box. She happily shows him how it has been fixed. This shocks Hirose as she couldn’t believe that she still had it.
I didn’t really know how to fix it. I couldn’t manage it on my own, but my grandpa helped me. I know how you tried to make this. You spent so much time making this. Your feelings, like how serious you were, are inside this music box, so I really wanted to continue fixing this for you.
This speech touches Hirose who says he doesn’t know why she had to fix it. He grabs it from her and walks away smiling. Nothing like pretending to be all tough. Hirose puts the music box in his jacket and he is then surrounded by the boys he fought with earlier. Uh-oh.
Omukai asks Nao if she’s seen Hirose. Nao says she was talking with him earlier, why? Hirose never showed up for his meeting before class. This worries Nao and she takes off running, calling for Hirose. Tamaki sees her run off. Meanwhile, the boys are beating the crap out of Hirose who doesn’t fight back nor defend himself. His goal is to protect the music box that Nao so painstakingly fixed for him. The boys notices this and start beating him more, trying to make him either give up the box or fight back (so he can get expelled). Hirose does neither and just protects the box.
Nao finally manages to find Hirose and grabs a broom, trying to protect him. She yells at them to stop, but the boys don’t listen. Nao threatens to scream, but Hirose could get expelled. Nao charges in to save him, but is stopped. Hirose tells her it is okay since Momo hates violent guys, these guys will end up being hated. Nao breaks free and covers Hirose. She is easily thrown off of him and lands right in a mud puddle. Nao notices a bucket of water and yells at them to stop, but another guys shoves her back into the mud and the water goes on her instead.
Tamaki enters and sees this and asks what the guys think they are doing. They asks what is it to him. Tamaki goes over to Nao and helps her up saying she must be hating Asuko more and more. He then wraps her in his jacket and Nao asks how he knew. Tamaki said its because of Murai. Murai then enters and says that he has been watching her and so he naturally followed when she ran off and got Tamaki as well as he sensed there was trouble. Murai then tries to ask her out and Tamaki hits him in the head saying now is not the time. Murai protests that it’s a great time in mangas, but Tamaki insists it isn’t right here (and he is right about that).
The angry yankees, tired of the pause in their fighting start attacking Tamaki and Murai. The two begin to fight back and Tamaki yells at Nao to get Hirose out of their before someone comes. At this point Omukai and another teach come in as Nao tries to get Hirose up. The other boys run and say that Hirose will be out now. Nao says that it is not Hirose’s fault and the other teacher asks how much she saw. Nao says she didn’t see the whole thing, but she saw them beating Hirose. She then pulls out the music box and winds it up saying that he was only trying to protect this, the music box he made with so much care and love. Everyone is silent while the music plays. Nao asks if they understand now. He didn’t lift a finger to hit the other boys as he was protecting the box. Omukai says he believes her and says he will take care of the matter. The other teacher leaves it to him and Murai and Tamaki take Hirose to the clinic. Omukai comes over to Nao and says that she now owes him two meals.
Nao has changed into her work clothes and sits beside Hirose’s bed in the clinic.
What you said was right. A music box can cheer a person up. Since you fixed it for me, the music box was able to save me from being kicked out.
Hearing this surprises and touches Nao and makes Sugisaki smiles. When Nao leaves the clinic, Sugisaki asks if Nao has found what she wanted to do. Nao says not yet and Sugisaki says again that there is no need to rush it.
It’s important to work hard for the things you want to do, but working hard for someone else that is equally important as well.
Hearing this makes Nao smiles. She goes to practical training where she thanks Tamaki for all of his help. Tamaki says she should also thank Murai. Nao does, but Murai isn’t all that happy. Nao asks what is wrong and Murai tells them that Kishi and Wajima were suspended. This surprises Tamaki and Nao. Murai looks over at Takeuchi and says that it was probably because of him that they were. Tamaki goes over to him followed by Nao and Tamaki asks if he knows something. Takeuchi smiles and says that it will be too bad if they get expelled which angers the whole class.
As you can probably guess, it will be Takeuchi’s turn next time.