“High School Boys and the Tale of a Hero” is the 29th chapter of the manga.
End scene of Chapter 28. The middle school girls are shown to be talking about the trio in a negative light, just like the script.
Hidenori is walking up the steps leading to an old shrine. He thinks to himself that unlike most people, the person he admired most was not anybody famous. The reason for that is a tale that occurred eight years prior, when he was being bullied. He starts to reminisce.
In a flashback, a younger Hidenori is seen kneeling in the dirt near the shrine with his books scattered around him. He was crying forlornly. Just then, a musical whistle caught his attention. Looking up, he was startled to see a kid in a bug-eyed mask and long red scarf perched atop a stone lantern. The kid jumped down and asked him if he was being bullied.
When Hidenori backed away, he was reassured by the other who claimed to be ‘an ally of the weak’. The newcomer gave him a whistle, telling him to use it if he was ever being bullied, and left. A few days after that, Hidenori was being picked on by a group of boys. Thrown to the ground, he was threatened by the ringleader that he’d be kicked for not giving them the money. He reached for the whistle, but a voice told him not to blow it.
Everyone was startled to see the masked kid upon the lantern. The kid told Hidenori not to depend on stronger people and flung rubber bands, hitting two of the bullies. The bullies realised his identity – ‘Rubber Shooter’, known for defeating certain fourth-graders and first-graders. They ran away in fear.
Hidenori asked Rubber Shooter why he showed up despite not having blown the whistle. He responded that he wouldn’t fail to help an important friend, before leaving. Back in the present, Hidenori reflects that he never saw the boy again. He had tried to follow his advice as much as possible, and whenever he felt really down, he always returned to that shrine of memories.
A tune is heard from the top of the stairs. Startled, Hidenori recognizes it as the same one Rubber Shooter used to play on his flute (Pachelbel’s Canon). Excited at the thought of meeting him, he runs up the remaining stairs.
At the top, the first person he sees is Yoshitake, who stops whistling the tune in surprise. Yoshitake also has rubber bands strapped around his hands just like Rubber Shooter did. Hidenori is shocked beyond words, but Yoshitake seems pleased to see him and asks him what he’s doing there.
Without a word, Hidenori races back down the stairs, leaving Yoshitake at the top. He now thinks that if anyone asked him who he admired the most, the answer would probably be Hideyo Noguchi.
In order of appearance:
- Hidenori is revealed not to have known Tadakuni and Yoshitake when in junior school.
- An aeroplane passes over when Hidenori first sees Rubber Shooter. An aeroplane also passes over when he meets Yoshitake at the shrine 8 years later.