This chapter is simply outrageous and it is wonderful. You almost forget that Ritsu’s still around, and then this happens.FB 45-1

At least Shigure is in the mood to offer advice today (unhelpful as it may be).

Shigure: Ricchan, you want to be a man with a good head on your shoulders, don’t you?

Ritsu: Of course I do…someday, I hope I can ooze confidence just like Aya-niisan does!

Shigure: Ah, that’s never gonna happen.

Ritsu: Why not? Can’t my dream come true?

Shigure:  Aaya’s confidence is in the realm of the gods.

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Ritsu’s admiration for Aaya just makes a bizarre amount of sense.

Hatori: The people around you aren’t blaming or criticizing you as much as you think. So you can afford a little confidence.

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Tohru: [Ritsu] has a very gentle smile. And I can tell he blames himself for something. It’s like Yuki-kun, Kyo-kun, and the others.

Kyoko: I’m so grateful that I had you, Tohru. I can smile and make it through every day because of you.

Young Tohru: Then I was born to meet you, Mommy!

Tohru’s very perceptive about those feelings of blame and shame in others…but she’s still struggling to get past her mother’s death.

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Then Ritsu very politely intrudes on her reverie.

Ritsu: Um, I wanted to ask you something. […] So, when you met my mother, did she say anything about me? Like how she’s embarrassed? Ah! Sorry. That’s not a very pleasant thing to be asked. My apologies. I know that I’m a son any mother would feel compelled to apologize for. I really am hopeless. For one thing, I’m possessed by a spirit – but having said that, unlike the other members of the Zodiac, I don’t have any particular talents. With school and athletics, I have to work twice as hard to keep up with everybody else. I’m weak and clumsy. Even on the “inside,” they disparage me. And every time, all my parents can do is apologize. When I realized that dressing in women’s clothing takes the edge off of my anxiety, I started doing it regularly, but it only increased the number of times my parents had to apologize for me. I want to get my act together. And I want to stop needing to dress like a woman. But I just don’t have the confidence. So, that’s why I’m hopeless. (internally) My heart aches. It’s not like my parents would want to apologize all the time. I’m sure they wanted to have a child they didn’t have to bow for. A child who would make them proud. I’m sorry. (aloud) Maybe I shouldn’t even exist. I’m sure there’s no good reason that I was born. And yet I’m still alive. I really have some nerve.

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Tohru: You’re trying to find it. I bet in your heart you’re desperately trying to find it with your own strength. The reason you were born. After all, maybe the truth is that no one is born with a “reason.” Maybe that’s something each person has to find on their own. (internally) A reason for being born, a reason to stick around, a reason to exist. (aloud) I think everyone has to find it on their own, and decide it on their own. It could be your dreams, or work, or another person. The “reason” you’re looking for may be vague, unreliable, and unstable, (internally) and you may even lose it, (aloud) but as long as we’re alive, we want a reason.

She was literally living for her mother – she’s still driven forward by the promises she made to her.  But sooner or later, Tohru will have to find a new “reason” to keep moving forward.

Tohru: Sometimes I get discouraged, but I still do my best. So, it’s okay. It’s okay to be shameless, to have nerve. After all, by having the nerve to live, you may one day be able to meet the person who wants to eat takoyaki with you and you alone.

Personally, I find this philosophy untenable.  I simply can’t imagine living life searching for the next transient thing to give my life meaning, anchorless in the expanse of eternity.  And it’s so easy to place your value in a pursuit that only drains your life away instead of providing fulfillment.

Speaking of draining your life away, Micchan is driven to the brink by Shigure’s antics (again).

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Shigure: Manuscript? Of course it isn’t finished. I couldn’t write with Ritsu hanging around.

Ricchan and Micchan are on the same wavelength, and it is both adorable and hilarious.  It appears Ritsu has found someone to eat takoyaki with!

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Haru: Whoa, this is a surprise. Yuki’s doppelganger. It’s a mystery…

Yuki: No, it is me.

Haru: But this is the Sohma compound.

Yuki: Yes, well. I snuck in.

Yuki checks in on Haru when he didn’t come to school (he says he just wanted to see what happened next in a video game, but it’s clear he’s still a little depressed and preoccupied).  At any rate, he’s resolved to win Rin back at any cost and keeps egging Yuki to call Tohru by her first name (thus indicating his affection for her).

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This was the last chapter to be adapted for the anime, and it really wasn’t done justice.  Just combining it with the last chapter honestly takes away from its comic timing (especially that first joke when Ritsu runs in, since it relies on the audience forgetting about him).  And then there’s also one of the most inexplicable exclusions in the series: They left out Ricchan and Micchan’s meeting entirely.  It’s not just a hilarious punchline – it’s kind of an important resolution for Ritsu’s character arc.  Also I just can’t see why it would have been so hard to do.

And now that we’ve finally reached the end of the adapted material, I’m going to start including things I want to see when (not if) Furuba gets a new anime.  Unfortunately, we never actually see Ricchan & Micchan’s relationship develop after this, just because the main plot will soon be taking over and Takaya-sensei didn’t have the opportunity to drop in on them, even though she said she would’ve liked to do it.  This is a thing I would love to see in a reboot (they have such wonderful chemistry!), and I’m sure Takaya-sensei would approve.

Until next time…

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