Shigure is being Shigure, and Tohru is being Tohru.
Shigure: Is there a point to holing up in your room for days on end? Do you really think that cutting yourself off from everyone will force the world to become what you want it to be?
Well you’re certainly not helping Akito by calling out her obviously ineffective actions, so shut up and stop making things worse for everybody else! I get why Shigure is frustrated, of course, but Akito needs actual help, not someone telling her all the things she’s doing wrong.
Anyhow, Momiji is all grown up! And he switched to the boys’ uniform!
But he’s not quite giving up his childish ways (yet).
Momiji: Actually, I’m thrilled I got taller. Don’t get me wrong – I still had a good time when I was short, and there are things you can only do if you’re short, not to mention things you’re allowed to do…but in the end, I’m a man, so…
I don’t imagine he could get away with kissing a strange girl now that he’s tall…
Haru: Those two are something else. By all appearances, you’d think they’re a lovey-dovey couple.
Now that Momiji actually looks his age, his cute and “innocent” gestures toward Tohru look an awful lot like something more, don’t they?
And speaking of lovey-dovey couples, Kisa and Hiro show up at Shigure’s house and are adorable.
Kisa: Ah…um, h-hello!
Kyo: …? Uh, hey.
Kisa: […] Hiro-chan, I was able to greet him! And he returned the greeting! […] He really is a nice guy after all. And he always seems so nice to Onee-chan…
Back at the main house, Shigure and Hatori are arguing about Akito (again).
Hatori: You’re too old to be this nasty. You know Akito digs her heels in all the more when you’re not honest with her. […] Why don’t you stop this battle of wills with an opponent who’s younger than you? From my perspective, it sometimes looks like you hate her with all your being.
Shigure: Easy for you to say. At the end of the day, my brand of “kindness” is a slapped-together afterthought. It doesn’t hold a candle to your “real thing.” But that’s never struck me as “sad.” I wonder why?
I think Shigure tends to show his affection by scheming for the happiness of the people he cares about. He’s just not good at comforting or generally being “nice.” That doesn’t mean he can’t be a good person/friend/boyfriend/whatever, it just means he needs to be more intentional in that area (because, you know, his main issue is that he doesn’t TRY).
Shigure: I wonder. Who should someone like me have dreamed about…? […] Even if Akito does want your tolerant “kindness”, or Kureno-kun’s innocent “kindness”, if she’s expecting that from me, I just can’t deliver. I have no interest in becoming that girl’s “father”.
I know you’re aiming for tough love, Shigure, but you’re hitting more like “stubborn impatience”. And as always it doesn’t help that nobody else really knows how to help Akito either.
Hiro: Hey, I wonder if Kyo is in love with her…
Haru: …The guy can’t be in love?
Hiro: W-well, after all, he’s the Cat. So…
Haru: Hiro. You deliberately choose to cross the bridges everyone else avoids, don’t you?
Hiro: I’m…aware of that…I’m not trying to rock the boat or anything, but I just feel…I don’t know, depressed or worried or something. Not that I can do anything about it.
And that’s exactly how discrimination survives: Making anyone who might feel uncomfortable stop caring because they “can’t do anything about it”. Also, EVEN THE MIDDLE SCHOOLERS CAN SEE IT.
Kyo: Dude, when’d you get so tall?
Momiji: I know, right!? I’ll be taller than you before long! Maybe I’ll even be more handsome! And then, and then, maybe…Tohru will accept when I propose to her? That kind of thing might really happen if you give up, you know? So you can’t. Giving up’s the worst thing you can do. I’m gonna stop doing it too. Stop with this idea that “There’s no point in thinking about it.” Thinking about the Cat…
Kyo: This late in the game…?
Momiji: Yes. Even if it seems like it’s “too late” now…we tend to gloss over it, but that’s all the more reason to be straightforward about it. It is “late”, but wouldn’t you regret if some other guy snatched up Tohru?
The only way to stop systems of oppression is to acknowledge them for what they are and try.
Shigure: Maybe I should have dreamed about you, hmm? Maybe somebody like me needed somebody like you…or, well. That’s what I’m thinking today anyway.
Shigure, don’t you dare go blaming your lack of compassion on Akito. It ain’t a woman’s job to fix her man, and Akito needs plenty of fixing up herself.
To be fair, though, this is one of the rare instances of spontaneous honesty from Shigure (usually he’s only honest with Hatori, because he knows he can’t hide his real motives from him). And now I think we have all the pieces of Shigure’s puzzle that we need, so I’ll just say my piece about him now (and hopefully hold my peace about him more in the future). As I’ve implied before, the Curse is (or at least is “about”) the love of the Zodiac Spirits for their God (the “bond”). That love has simply become twisted over the centuries until it’s only a Curse. That’s why Akito wields so much power and influence over the Members of the Zodiac – they love “him” so much that it hurts more to cause Akito any pain than to run their own lives into the ground. And Akito is very sensitive. What makes Shigure different from the rest is that his love for Akito is romantic in nature (I think it’s safe to call the others’ love “familial”).
Shigure had never cared much about anyone but himself. He still claims that he is his own number one priority. And that’s why the Curse is so hard on him – because it forces him to prioritize somebody else. But since he has no strong feelings or convictions to compete with his love for Akito, that love itself became his purpose. I’m not even sure if it’s Akito herself that he cares about, but the bond between them. He couldn’t care less whether he’s ever released from the Curse – what he wants is for all the other Members of the Zodiac to be released, because that would mean he gets Akito’s love all to himself. Obviously that’s a dangerous and extremely selfish inclination (it’s been addressed more than once before in other characters), showing zero concern about Akito’s own needs. There are two main reasons why I hate Shigure. The first is that he’s the only Member of the Zodiac who never really grows – he changes when required, but he’s fundamentally the same at age 7 as at 27. He’s a stagnant person, never bothering to leave his comfort zone. The second is that he’s just so selfish. It’s not that he never cares about anyone but himself (he does care about Hatori, for instance), but that at the end of the day his needs are the most important. It doesn’t matter that he acknowledges his faults if he never tries to improve himself.
Time marches on. People and feelings move on too…you’ll be left behind. It’s already begun that hike. […] That’s why I want you to hurry and catch up…
Until next time…