Who is Aex? He’s Mew’s closest friend, study buddy, and closest collaborator in August Band. He’s a young man, afraid and insecure. He’s nervous of his appearance — especially his closeness to Mew — in others’ eyes. But he grows. His story is in some sense an everyday, humdrum story of young men. But it’s worth telling.
Coming into the film with a typical boyish immaturity, he comes out of it a different way. In his first appearances, we learn that he’s Mew’s good friend. But then he is asked to practise CPR on Mew — and the rift is opened. Why did Aex choose this rift? Why does he not understand what the rift has done to Mew? Why does he close his eyes to the real, almost natural, effects of his actions? Maybe we don’t know the exact answer; but we do know that, in terms of boys growing up, Aex’s story is not unusual.
Aex and Mew drift apart. Aex lets things slide for many scenes — until two unlikely-to-succeed interventions help to wake his heart. The first intervention is June’s: a young man receiving advice from a girl he thought attractive. The second intervention is Pingpong’s: a young man receiving advice from someone junior to him. Neither June nor Pingpong is a likely source of advice for someone who wants to be a “man” with a tough reputation, without compromise, without listening, without caring for others and becoming compassionate. So when Aex listens, already it shows that he is growing up and, in many respects, has grown up.
Aex visits Mew. He apologizes. He offers to Mew something that only Aex can: the assurance that he’s accepted, that he’s a friend, that there are people who — despite Mew’s continual doubts — care about him. As he leaves, Aex seems to have had little impact on Mew. But when Mew rejoins August a few scenes later, he exudes confidence; he knows where he belongs; he initiates playful behaviour with friends. He is different. Aex has given him something important in his life. Aex is a true friend. Aex gives to Mew a love that builds him.
Aex’s name perhaps gives a clue to his role in the film. His name is just a transliteration for x. It could be a variable, as in mathematics: a missing variable, an important variable — in what? In Mew’s life, of course. It is Aex who gives Mew things that he could not or did not have otherwise: affection, acceptance, friendship, confidence.