This week the chapters revolved around two things. One, a secret that ended up being not quite the reveal one might think it would be. A second, and most significantly, a trip to Tokyo where Yuzuki’s family is seen for the first time. Haruto (sigh, of course) comes along for the trip and ends up meeting them too, and the Eba kids make for some interesting drama. There’s Rin, the angry younger sister that has it in for Yuzuki, and then the older Itsuki, a pretty chill guy who seems to be trying to keep his head above the drama water.
Summary of this week’s chapters: The last chapter left off with Nanami going home the first night of Aoi’s stay with her family, and the next chapter begins with Haruto sending her an email thanking her for her help in preparing dinner. Aoi still maintains that Haruto should give up on her, but he’s plenty excited when he gets an email back from her quickly, and with a heart emoticon in the message. This brings up an embarrassingly familiar bout of (over)analyzing what emoticons mean and which ones would be appropriate to use given their current relationship, but all goes well and the next day in school Nanami gives Haruto a gift; a cookbook. Unfortunately, Haruto is so overjoyed that he runs out of the room while saying thanks and he completely misses that Nanami wanted to say something to him. In parallel to this, Aoi brings up the picture of Yuzuki from when Haruto was a kid. He goes to check his old picture diary and it’s confirmed. There’s a flashback to that night when Haruto found an unfamiliar girl unhappy at the festival and showed her a nice spot to watch the fireworks. Yuzuki finds him reading this and tells him that they did meet before, but that she’d have been embarrassed to bring it up now.
Haruto’s earlier miss with Nanami wasn’t as bad as it could have been, because later he talks with her again and she asks if he wants to accompany her on a trip to the city to buy things her brother needs. He agrees and everything seems great. Even Yuzuki is out of the picture thanks to having to return to Tokyo for her grandfather’s funeral. Going so well…But then next thing we know, he’s on the bus with Yuzuki, taking her to Hiroshima station where she’ll board the shinkansen bullet train to Tokyo. Aoi interfered, probably out of her hatred for Nanami and anything good or decent in the world, and says that he should go with Yuzuki that far to see that she’s alright. Haruto can still head from Hiroshima station to meet up with Nanami…except that he’s sooo worried about Yuzuki’s hesitancy to return home that he gets on the shinkansen with her. Aaaaand now he’s locked into the trip. He meets her parents while he’s there, who seem nice enough, and Aoi phones ahead to have him let into her apartment to clean it, so at least he has a place to stay. But when Yuzuki’s little sister Rin shows up, he starts to see why she might not have wanted to return home. Rin, and her nice, older brother Itsuki, are children from a different marriage, their parents having remarried and combined families. Rin knows how manipulative Yuzuki can be, but herself seems overzealous in her distrust of her, and Itsuki acts nice but is probably trying to keep emotional distance from all the drama. For some reason, Haruto thinks that this is a good reason to sucker punch him….yeah….
What are you doing, man?!
The email and in-person conversations between Haruto and Nanami were very nice, but I’m convinced that it’s all just the author shipteasing, and not even very well at that. He’s got far too much time and detail invested in Yuzuki, and so little in Nanami at this point, that it would be an unthinkable reversal to see it work out otherwise. That said, I’m glad there was more interaction with Nanami and that we got to see a bit of her personality. She’s very observant and thoughtful in her choice of gift to Haruto, knowing both his interest in cooking and that he’s in need of some new ideas. And it’s a nice way to patch things up since she put him in the friendzone. Definitely a sign that she might give a positive answer to the question she told Haruto to wait for. Haruto’s moment of joy at receiving it seemed to overwhelm him, but it didn’t end up so bad since they got to talk later. Unfortunately that all got hijacked courtesy of Aoi, Yuzuki’s Reaper indoctrination of Haruto, and Haruto’s own misplaced sympathy. Aoi has definitely gotten on my bad side after my initial ‘hellloooooo, nurse!‘ reaction. The fanservicey shots of her in some of the earlier chapters this week have convinced me that she’s the fanservice character for masochistic guys who want to be stepped on or some shit, and I can’t stand it, I know she planned it for Haruto to be dragged into the Tokyo trip or similar moments together with Yuzuki, at the expense of Nanami.
The reveal about Haruto having met Yuzuki before was both faster and less of a big deal than I thought. Aoi went right to her brother rather than hide it, which I guess is part of her cheerleading for Yuzuki over Nanami. Haruto then conveniently kept a diary of his days back then and was easily able to find his way back to that night. I did momentarily fear for his safety when Yuzuki found him though. If this was some dark secret that could trigger yandere-mode then Haruto was all alone with her where no one would hear him scream. It was all rather matter of fact, and if more is to come of it, it will come later it seems.
A few cute Akari and Takashi moments in both the sidestory chapter and the flashback chapter. We don’t even know a lot about them at this point, and I ship them so much. They get along so well and they both seem like the sort of no-nonsense, low-drama types that they should end up together. Akari is definitely my favorite character so far too. I’d like it if we got to see more of Takashi too, so my ship can be more complete.
It’s bullshit because Aoi comes in and in one day decides that she’s going to favor Yuzuki and start messing with Haruto’s life. She probably knows Haruto well enough to know that he could be easily brought to join Yuzuki on her trip, either by her asking or by Yuzuki’s usual, more subtle game that makes Haruto feel that he can’t let her fend for herself. And it’s bullshit because Aoi knows that Haruto had plans with Nanami. But she makes her brother go anyway, chancing, perhaps expecting, that something would come up to throw a wrench in their plans. I also think Aoi feels for Yuzuki because she sees herself in the house’s new inhabitant. Which I don’t see as a good thing, because look how Aoi turned out. So, shipteasing again, as the plans that came together for Nanami and Haruto are hijacked.
This one ought to be interesting.
The rest of the Eba family turned what could have been groan-inducing chapters into something more interesting though. Rin is very hostile towards Yuzuki. Partly because she has some sort of bro-con and thinks she’ll steal her brother Itsuki from her, partly because she can get away with the hostility since Yuzuki’s stepmom won’t step in to stop it. Now we see why Haruto’s line about using guys stopped Yuzuki in her tracks in an earlier chapter. That said, if you take out the venomous edge to Rin’s words, she’s essentially right. Yuzuki does purposefully and intentionally get guys to do what she wants by putting on an act. Not so much the moping act that Rin talks about, but the cheerful-and-helpless act that has Haruto wrapped around her finger. Rin just mixes this truth with her own personal vendetta. Itsuki seems to stay away from the drama, but this gets Haruto angry for some reason. Probably because it doesn’t mesh with the stupid white knight attitude he’s taken towards Yuzuki. He actually punches Itsuki when he suggests that Yuzuki might be happier out in the countryside where she is now. You could maybe call Itsuki insensitive or dense, but that hardly warrants violence. I was extremely disappointed in Haruto, to say the least.
This scene and the drama around it actually, kinda made me feel a bit of sympathy for Yuzuki and her situation. She’s not my favorite person here, and it doesn’t excuse her manipulation, but you can understand why she would leave home and try to construct a new life elsewhere. And while it doesn’t make it any less of a personal failing, you can see why she would manipulate to build an emotional crutch for herself in Haruto. It’s not enough to like her, but at least now she’s a bit more understandable. A fair bit of parallels to True Tears in this and some other parts of this week’s chapters. Yuzuki and
the one who shall not be named, the Other One, Hiromi share something of a broken-and-remade family background. Hiromi’s mother was the one actively antagonizing her, while in this case it’s done by Rin and allowed to happen by the stepmother. Noe, Peace Be Upon Her, and Nanami also have a similarity I’ve noticed. There was some evidence for it before, but this week there was enough to cement the theory in my thinking. And that would be that she too has a problematic older brother. In the 11th hour, Noe’s brother turned from trying to help things along to undermining Noe’s resolve with his creepy words on familial love and his attachment to his sister. We already know that there’s something slick and sadistic in the elder Kanzaki’s eyes from the barbecue outing, so I’m starting to think that he’s going to be a problem. But as I said, the author has invested too much in Yuzuki X Haruto to let it fail, so I’ll be expecting it.
This week’s Rage Condition
For your reference: A guide to Rage Conditions (RAGECON)