Haru understood me. He cherished me. He loved me. That’s why…that’s exactly why…
So we’re finally going to get an idea what Rin’s deal is. Also Shigure is still a scumbag, even if he can occasionally show restraint.
Anyhow, we start with Hiro, Kisa, and his pregnant mom who is clumsy and embarrasses her child in front of his not-girlfriend. Then Hiro notices Rin watching and tries to talk to her.
Rin: Why do you care about my welfare? If you feel responsible somehow because you just happened to be there back then, then forget about it. Your sweet mama and your loving papa…go back to your nice, quiet life.
Hiro: Do you…blame me? Rin, you make it sound like it’s wrong to be loved by your parents, that a peaceful life is a bad thing because it’s so frivolous…sorry. Rin, you haven’t found anything, have you? You’re trying your best, all on your own, but even Shigure didn’t know, did he? After all, it doesn’t exist…right? A way to break the curse.
And now we finally get the substance of what went down between Shigure and Rin way back in Chapter 53 – thankfully not as salacious as it appeared, but still not to Rin’s liking.
Rin: You’re always with Akito. He trusts you. You’re one of his “favorites”.
Shigure: […] And since I’m a “favorite,” I know all the secrets, is that it? If that were true, I wonder why I’d tell you something that would cause trouble for Akito-san. Would I get a reward?
Rin: All I have is myself. I’d give you me. You could use me as you like for the rest of my life.
Shigure: You’re that desperate, huh? All for Hatsuharu’s sake.
Well I guess he has a conscience somewhere, because he actually flat out turns her down instead of stringing her along somehow, but the idea that Shigure has some sort of functioning moral compass honestly just makes all the other terrible things he does that much worse, because he was able to justify them to himself. Also now it’s clear as crystal that he found out about (or perhaps figured out) Haru and Rin’s relationship a while ago.
Anyhow, he claims he knows nothing about breaking the curse.
Shigure: This seems like a good time to tell you that you shouldn’t put too much stock in a guy like me. Akito doesn’t particularly trust me, and I’m not someone worthy of any special attention. I have no power and little ability. I’m worthless. The worst kind of man.
While I heartily agree with much of this assessment, he’s not powerless (especially where Akito is concerned) and he knows it.
Shigure: You could try asking God himself, right?
Rin: …Gure-nii, you don’t mind living with the curse?
Shigure: Well, those who do mind should do something about it. Like you, for instance. I’ll just reap the rewards if you succeed.
So Rin heads off to search some historical records at the main house (by hand, because the internet wasn’t really a thing yet). And she is very clearly sick – like dizzy and collapsing and throwing up sick.
He never gave me a straight answer. I still have the feeling he gave me the slip. […] He must know more than he’s letting on. I feel like he’s hiding something. […] I saw the way Gure-nii lives. Is there anything that scares a man like that? Something so terrifying he can’t stand it? I…I…! I wish I’d been born as your heart, Haru. That way we could always be together. And if you died, I would die with you.
Maybe I’m still in a dream? Oh. This dream bites. It’s the nasty one I always get. I’ve gotta wake up. Have to find it…have to get up. Find a way…have to end this. End all of it.
It’s not entirely clear if that was a dream, but her running out to Shigure’s house sure isn’t. She really needs somebody to look after her, for several reasons. Rin is suffering from crippling anxiety on top of some serious medical issues.
Then she starts screaming in terror at Tohru.
Rin: Don’t get mad! Don’t get mad, Mama, Papa, don’t get mad…
A happy family…You have a happy home, Isuzu-chan. Your father and mother love you very much.
It seems like all the other members of the Zodiac have hard lives, but I’m different. Mama and Papa are different. We always have a good time. We’re always smiling and happy. It’s just like being in a play.
Rin: Mama and Papa, why do you always seem to be having fun? Are you really always having fun? Isn’t there anything that makes you sad?
With just those few words, the play was no more.
This is one of those situations that’s way more dramatic than anything in real life, but it still captures a certain reality via exaggeration. Many families might try to appear “perfect”, but even if it could last, a child can’t grow up in an environment like that. It’s impossible, because not even the sweetest child is perfect. So while the catalyst for Rin’s family falling to pieces seems highly implausible, there are definitely families that break in a similar manner. Rin’s parents weren’t really doing it for her – they probably wanted the prestige of being the only “happy family” with a child possessed by a Zodiac spirit. But those are also the kinds of families that can be hellish toward a wayward (or simply imperfect) child.
The truth is, they hated me. I was a burden to them. They tried to cover it up. They repressed those feelings for years, but in the end they broke. After that, there was no going back. They told me they didn’t want me. I’m scared.
Revisiting this character as an adult, I honestly feel nothing but compassion for her. I’ve never really related to her beyond my experience in a dysfunctional family, but now I can clearly see how much Rin was a product of her circumstances. She puts up barriers between herself and anyone she might be tempted to rely on, pretending to be strong (both physically and emotionally) when she’s falling apart at the seams.
At least she’s got a Tohru to hug her now.
Until next time…