Yuki: There were things that I wanted. Things I imagined in that dark room.
Tohru finally meets Akito, and we get a vivid picture of how Yuki and Kyo fit in with him.
Momiji: We thought it would be a good idea to let you two know. I mean, especially if you want to avoid him.
Shigure was the conveyor of this bit of information. Evidently he didn’t feel the same way about it as Momiji and Haru.
Meanwhile, Akito managed to run into Tohru all by her lonesome.
Tohru: The real Akito-san! What is he doing at school!? Is it okay to just run into him like this? I can’t believe how young he is. And he’s as handsome as Yuki-kun. He’s also the one who nearly blinded Hatori-san in one eye.
Akito does look markedly similar to Yuki, right down to the haircut.
Akito: I apologize for not meeting you when you came to the house. I’m shy with new people. […] I really hope we can be friends. And please continue taking good care of Yuki and the others.
That is a look of sheer terror – and then Yuki immediately assumes that Akito did something to Tohru, which says volumes about the kind of power he attributes to him.
Akito: There’s something I want to ask you. At New Year’s, why didn’t you come home? Why would you be so dismissive? Lately I’ve become more tolerant, but when you pull something like that it really hurts me. Maybe you need to be reeducated. Maybe you need to spend to spend some more quality time in that special room of yours, until you relearn your true nature.
I literally felt sick typing those words.
Thank you Tohru.
Akito: Yuki, I hope you have an enjoyable time at high school. And I would be pleased if you came to visit me one of these days.
This is the sole interaction between Kyo and Akito – a death glare and a smirk, respectively. Somehow that’s all you need to know about their relationship.
Tohru: (internally) I reached out to stop him. It was so obvious, but Yuki-kun was terrified. I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but now I think I understand. He’s a scary person. His eyes were not smiling at all. […] But right now the most important thing isn’t figuring out why Akito-san hates me. (aloud) Yuki-kun! Let’s have fun! Since it’s an early release today, Uo-chan and Saki-chan were talking about hanging out! Since we’re all here, let’s do it together!
And thus we get a badminton match with Yuki, Kyo, Tohru, Arisa, Saki, Haru, and Momiji (Spoiler: Saki wins).
We also get a briefing from Shigure and Hatori.
Akito: That girl is so ugly. I wanted to wretch. She seems to be stupid too. In other words, I’m relieved after meeting her. Yuki will return to me, most assuredly. After all, just the sight of me still freezes him in his tracks. That’s proof he’s been unable to forget me, you know.
Well your ATTITUDE is ugly and stupid.
Also, Shigure totally knew about Akito’s torture chamber for Yuki (okay, I guess Hatori might have known, too).
Hatori: But Akito doesn’t understand that just as there are people who can inflict those wounds, there are also people who can patch them up. That fact gives me more than a little courage.
Yuki: There were things that I wanted. Things that I imagined. Parents who would hold me…a welcoming home…a place where everyone was smiling…a version of me that people wouldn’t want to leave. A warm place…a warm person. They really do exist.
We finally got to the root of Yuki’s conflict, or at least the source of it. It’s telling that one of the things he “imagined” was “a version of me that people wouldn’t want to leave”, implying an abysmal self-esteem despite his many talents.
There’s one notable change that was made in the anime which primarily reflects the different characterization for Akito: The flashback to “the room” just shows Akito physically beating Yuki, and there’s no allusion to any other kinds of abuse, which is honestly way less terrifying.
One thing I didn’t really notice until I actually put this post together is just how much the art contributes to the storytelling in this chapter – obviously it plays a significant role much of the time, hence why I choose to use images in my posts for this series, but it’s particularly integral in chapters like this with relatively little dialogue and and big emotions.
Until next time…