Welcome to the banquet.
Hiro’s having a baby (sibling)!
Mayu gets her shot at happiness a bit sooner than she expected – as in, literally right after Shigure left.
If there was some way to get their happiness back, I’m sure I would have gone to the ends of the Earth to find it.
So Shigure is busy pestering his ex (aka Mayuko-sensei) while she’s stuck watching her parents’ book shop.
Mayu: What kind of sad ex-boyfriend is a regular customer?
Shigure: Even though we broke up, aren’t all these trysts we’ve been having romantic?
Mayu: You know as well as I do that there’s nothing between us.
I cannot lie, I love this woman for taking Shigure to task on his selfishness (much good as it does him).
Anyhow, Shigure’s presence reminds her of Kana and Hatori (because they were the means of introducing him to her).
The two of them didn’t say anything, but I could tell right away that they were together. Even though I knew, just like that, what a fool I was. Why did I have to have feelings for him? Love at first sight sounds romantic, but it was just a case of coveting my best friend’s boyfriend.
This is easily the most relatable love triangle in the series (although I guess that might just be me). Everyone who saw those two could tell how happy they were together, so Mayu just felt guilty for feelings she really couldn’t control.
Hatori: She often speaks of you…you two must be close. She trusts you.
Mayu: That’s because we’re best friends. We met in college and have been close ever since. It’s funny. When I’m with Kana, I feel like I can become nicer, like her. She smiles when she’s happy and cries when she’s sad. She’s carefree and cheerful…(internally) I wanted to become a woman like that. She was my ideal.
Hatori: Yes. I think I know what you mean.
Like drops of rain, bit by bit, his smile would spread across his face. I loved that. His voice, his eyes, his looks, his entire being…I loved all of him. Even though he would never know, even though it was pointless to have feelings for him, and I would’ve been better off forgetting about him altogether…
She asks to meet Hatori’s “best friends” (Aaya and Shigure), partly to learn more about him and partly just as an excuse to spend more time with him.
Mayu: Those two are together, aren’t they? Why are they keeping it a secret?
Shigure: There are times when it’s better to keep something hidden for one’s own sake. Just like it’s more peaceful for Kana-chan not to find out about your secret crush.
Mayu: How did you know?
Shigure: Oh, I’m just good at picking up on this kind of thing. You should steal him away.
Mayu: As if. I could never compete with Kana. Besides, I want the two of them to be happy together. So happy that it would be obvious I never stood a chance. So happy that I’d know for sure he was way out of my league. (internally) I wanted them to be something I couldn’t reach.
It’s kind of a selfish way of thinking, but still understandable. She didn’t (or perhaps couldn’t) want to let go of her feelings for Hatori, but she also didn’t want to betray her best friend. As long as they were too happy together to notice her feelings, she wouldn’t have to make a choice about it. But the opposite is also true: When (not if) they became unhappy, she would still have to deal with those messy emotions.
Shigure: Then why not go out with me?
Mayu: What? Why would I even consider that?
Shigure: Because you seem lonely. You’re at the point where anyone would do, as long as they’re with you, right? And I’m bored at the moment. So how about it? Let’s date.
Well, at least he’s being honest for once. Although I think there is a little more to it than mere boredom – perhaps he actually sympathizes with her on some level.
It’s hard to describe Shigure. I guess he’s like a ripple on water…he never hugged or kissed me. He was just with me.
And then it turned out the way we knew it would all along.
The reasons and circumstances didn’t matter. Their “happiness” was over. Their relationship was in pieces. Nothing could change that fact.
Shigure told her about the memory suppression (honestly, she’s close enough to Kana that it would have been way harder not to tell her about it), and evidently they broke up shortly afterward.
Kana: Someone who would be good for you…like…I know! I think someone like Hatori-san. Yeah, you two would make a really nice couple.
Mayu: You’re a better fit for him, Kana.
Kana: No, no, not me! I do admire him, but we’d never make a good match.
So Hatori isn’t the only one left with the burden of memories…It’s almost a sort of grief, grief for a “happiness” that never got the chance to flourish.
Nobody falls in love because they want to become sad and lonely. And yet, the last thing I wanted wiped out was these two, the way they were.
Nobody falls in love with any intentions – it’s just something that happens. That’s why they describe it as “falling”.
Shigure: It’s like you’ve been left behind. Even now, two years later…[…] The fact that you haven’t seen Hatori since then is solid proof. I think it’s admirable that you’re such a loyal friend, but there’s no need for you to take some vow of chastity. Kana-chan is married, and Hatori has a girlfriend.
If you’re wondering when and how this happened (or like Mayu just assume that he’s making it up), don’t worry, this will all be cleared up in due time.
Shigure: Are you thinking, “I’m such an idiot”? Or something like that. Those two have found their happiness, while you’ve been left behind. Now it’s too late to even take a shot at Hatori yourself. Doesn’t that make you feel lonely? Do you want to go out with me again?
Mayu: I’ll pass. You’re terrible. Once was enough. […] I’m done dating someone just because I’m lonely. (internally) Now I know that only increases the loneliness.
Maybe I should try to find my own happiness too. Will I be able to find it? This time I’ll make sure it doesn’t cause me more loneliness. This time for sure.
Until next time…
I’ve mentioned before that Yuki tends to get his character development by hijacking stories “about” other characters, but it turns out that Tohru does much the same. That might actually be part of the reason why it can be difficult to pin down her character (or character arc) – because she rarely gets a chapter solely dedicated to her. This time around, she takes over Hiro’s story. Read more
Yuki continues to be the main focus, but we still get more hints about other characters and plot developments as the Beach Arc gets under way.
Tohru and Kyo are adorable. Tohru and Momiji are adorable. Tohru and Yuki are still a bit awkward as a pair, but Yuki does well with Haru at any rate.
We’ve gotten various glimpses into Yuki’s childhood thus far, and it’s very clear that Akito was a major part of it.
Akito: Don’t get the wrong idea. Listen to me. This world is made of darkness, and your entire life, you’ll live here, in the dark. You have no possibilities or hope. You will live your life on this dark path. Don’t get the wrong idea and think, “I’ll be saved someday.”
Wow, how does a kid even get a worldview that dark? (Believe it or not, we’ll actually get an answer to that question…)
Haru: Are you dizzy from the glare? Or maybe dizzy from your feelings?
Yes, Haru, I’m dizzy from feelings.
So Momiji sent out invitations to literally all the other members of the Zodiac that Tohru has met (except Akito, because he actually wants to have fun and stuff), but the rest might just show up anyway. Hiro spotted Rin snooping around while he was discussing the invitation with Kisa, and…well, this happens with Shigure.
Akito: Summer resort…hah! Idiots and ugly people making merry is all it is. What an annoyance. They’re getting cocky…they misunderstand the situation. I think I’d better teach them a lesson…What? What are you smirking about? Is there a problem? Are you scheming against me?
Shigure: Scheming? I would never harbor such thoughts. In fact, why don’t you go to the vacation home too, Akito-san? If you want to teach them a lesson.
And this was the point at which I realized that Shigure was kind of a villain. Because he is totally scheming (although not necessarily against Akito at the moment), and he’s going to ruin all the kids’ fun! Stop being such a spoilsport! I don’t want the plot to intrude!
On a lighter note, Kyo and Yuki’s mutual hatred seems to have died down a lot, but Kyo still drops everything at a chance to compete against (and hopefully beat) Yuki. Just keep in mind why Kyo said he wants to beat Yuki so badly: To become a member of the Zodiac.
Yuki: There’s something I want to say. When the time comes, I think I should tell you. That’s wrong. Now, I don’t think that it’s only darkness. It’s not the wrong idea. Right now, I have faith in that, so when it’s the right time, if you’ll listen, I’d be very happy. I have to open…the lid…
He’s just starting to overcome these ideas that have held him captive since childhood, starting to see the possibility of hope for himself. He still can’t verbalize it to anyone, but just telling Tohru that he needs to talk about something is a good first step. Also, on a totally unrelated note, Yuki looks an awful lot like Ayame in this shot.
But that little phrase that’s been haunting Yuki’s thoughts (“open the lid”) has a curious impact on Tohru, making her think of her mother for some reason…
…until next time.
I can’t run away forever from the lid screwed tightly shut…
This chapter is loaded with hints, but the one solid answer only raises more questions.
Since I’m not starting a new series this year, I figured I’d celebrate the new year with a list! This is not a “best of 2017” list – it’s just a list of some stories I’ve encountered this year (mostly from 2016-17, but not all) that made an impression on me which I believe merit some more attention. Read more