Rikka as close to Yuuta as she can realistically get
Last week ended with a beautiful scene of Yuuta and Rikka embracing after Rikka’s near accident. This week begins with a scene that struck me equally as hard: later that evening, Yuuta remembering that embrace. Soft, warm, delicate and fragile. And his description of it as ‘holding a girl for the first time.” He’s certainly hugged his sisters, and his mother. But it’s different. He recognizes how he feels for Rikka, what she means to him, and how special that is. And the overall feeling deep inside him: that it hurts. It aches, and you want more. We never get enough of it. It’s a feeling that humans always love to have.
A surprise embrace
And Rikka’s feeling it too. She’s so discombobulated by it that she breaks character with Sanae (who after this week, I can finally call Sanae, rather than Dekomori), asking her what she should do about it. I thought Sanae showed a lot more depth through these scenes than she had the whole series so far, with a perfect touch in staying in character with Rikka while giving her relationship advice. I certainly didn’t expect that from her, and it’s obvious afterwards that she’s not a fan of Yuuta taking Rikka away from her, at all. But when Rikka needs her to be caring, she is. And that’s even after the minor disappointment that Rikka isn’t really interested in her (but that look on Sanae’s face was priceless as she thought about it). Combined with last week’s view of Sanae as more normal helping her classmate with math, and actually getting along with classmates, it really puts her in a new light, that maybe she’s not nearly as completely immersed in her chuunibyou as we’ve been led to believe. But after helping her, she watches Rikka leave with Yuuta, and goes back to being jealous of Yuuta, who is now obviously dominating Rikka’s thoughts.
Rikka finally confesses
The meat of the episode gives us the actual interaction between Rikka and Yuuta. They both know they’re in love with the other one, and they both think / hope / believe that the other one loves them back, but it’s still embarrassing, being close, sharing time together, and they both want to say it, but have trouble finding the right time and place. Not even sharing an umbrella in the rain feels like the right time. But retrieving it, under the bridge, Rikka looks up and sees the lights of the cars moving on the bridge across the water and it steels her resolve to just say it, surprising Yuuta. But of course she can’t say it directly to his face. And when Yuuta, who had thought of a line as the Dark Flame Master to confess to her, gets interrupted by someone else, he can’t say it to her face either. But the message gets across from both of them, finally confirming their love for the other. And since it’s too embarrassing holding hands, they interlock pinkies.
How does he get to spend so much time with Touka?
But even that happiness can’t stay blissful for long. When Yuuta gets home, he finds Touka waiting for him again, playing “divorce” with Yumeha again. When we saw these two playing “divorce” earlier, when Yuuta was helping Rikka study, I thought for sure it was because Rikka and Touka’s parents had gotten a divorce and broken the family up, but this episode fills in the final details as Touka talks to Yuuta about first her work opportunity, to go to Italy to study as a chef at the main restaurant, and then about the consequences of that: Rikka’s mother will come to live with her.
Rikka’s mother is more a sympathetic character than I’d given her credit for.
I was wrong before about what happened to their family, in that I thought Rikka’s mother, unable to handle the kids as an irresponsible parent, just dumped them on grandma and grandpa (maybe I was thinking of Hanasaku Iroha too much). But the true nature of Rikka’s father’s ‘request’ to the family to keep his sickness from Rikka’s knowledge comes full here: This is a Japanese family, and as such, it’s likely that no matter if everyone else thought it was the wrong idea, they are going to go along with the male head of the family. So even if her mother wanted to tell her, she wouldn’t have. And that leaves her in a terrible position after her husband is gone: Rikka can only blame the people who are there, particularly her mother, because she doesn’t want to blame her father, the source of the conflict. And indeed, her mother has tried repeatedly to talk to her, to make contact, to apologize for keeping the truth, but in the end Rikka wouldn’t acknowledge her. But it’s hard to blame Rikka as well, who has had her entire world rocked by the sudden loss of her favorite parent. It just ends up being a bad situation for all involved.
But Touka sees the rapport that Yuuta has with Rikka, perhaps even seeing the love they have for each other (since others can see it, like Shinka) and so she asks Yuuta for his help in dealing with Rikka, even lowering her head in abasement, asking him to help her accept reality. And here, Yuuta and I agree: Rikka does accept reality. She knows and accepts everything that is fact, but is hoping there’s more, and she’s not sure how to deal with it. Ultimately, though, Touka thinks that letting Rikka keep looking or holding on to whatever she’s grasping for is irresponsible, and she says it with what seems, to me, to be a sense of self-indictment, in that she has been irresponsible as well. And further piling on Yuuta, as they’re preparing for their festival performance, Rikka’s mother arrives looking for her, and although Rikka’s not there, she asks Yuuta to give Rikka a bento she’s made for her. This takes all the wind out of Yuuta’s sails for performing as he contemplates what to do with it, and with Rikka. Ultimately, he confronts Rikka and while she runs off with the bento, he is left to contemplate whether he’s done the right thing. Shinka, who was there, thinks he did. For us, it’s hard to know, because we don’t know what was really said.
Is Rikka back to ‘normal’?
As Yuuta goes off to find Rikka, she appears on the talent show stage, singing a children’s song about stars that Touka, stunned and brought to tears, says was their father’s favorite song. And finally at the cliffhanger, Rikka removes her eyepatch to reveal that she no longer possesses the Tyrant’s Eye. It’s hard to tell if her expression is serious or unhappy or both, or what she’s thinking towards Yuuta. I hope this doesn’t destroy their budding love.
The Unseen Horizon?
I go back to thinking about the confession scene, partly because it was so sweet, and partly because I wonder if Rikka feels she was given a message. The lights across the river, along what looks like a horizon, look so similar to the visual we saw in her flashback of the night her father died, when she became convinced of the Unseen Horizon’s existence. Does she feel her father was communicating with her, telling her something about Yuuta, that it’s ok to love him? Was she perhaps afraid to love him because the last person she loved died? Or was she just embarrassed and got enough strength to just do it.
A future precious memory
There were also so many cute scenes. Their touching of pinky fingers, in lieu of more traditional contact, is both cute and intimate in and of itself, the kind of thing that could, for a couple that stays together a long time, be a touchstone of their relationship, something that reminds them of the special way they were brought together. Sure, it’s hard to say that first loves at age 16 are going to stay together forever, but it can happen.
Has she gotten past her anti-chuuni?
Overall there wasn’t anything bad in this episode, but let’s have some discussion of Shinka. She is reminded of some bad memories when two former classmates arrive at the culture fair and address her as Mori Summer. The blows she takes from the reminder of her past take a physical form, but she gives as good as she gets, remembering the embarrassing pasts of the other girls, with the ensuing standoff causing Makoto to quip that you never know what pasts will be revealed. But even as Shinka still makes the overt attempts to deny her specific chuunibyou past, she seems to have gotten more comfortable with allowing fantasy to have a part of her life, as she and Sanae take the parts of Rikka and Yuuta and perform the Napping Society’s battle skit. Perhaps it helps that she was playing the Dark Flame Master, rather than Mori Summer, but the fact that she’d do it at all shows a big change in her attitude. Perhaps seeing the all too normal tribulations of love that Yuuta and Rikka have gone through have made her realize that even chuunis are people worth being with, and they can find love, too.
Poor Makoto. He is smitten with Kumin and is trying so hard to get her actual attention. He goes through all the standard hoops: bowing as he asks her to go with him to the bonfire, even shouting his confession at the bonfire over the microphone. But all he gets in return is ‘gomen nasai’. Did she even understand in her sleepy state? Will he keep trying? Or will Kumin just keep being opaque to love?