Working up the courage to read this post!
More fun times for Haruka and company as they continue their summer vacation. But it’s not *all* fun and games, as Zenzou and Manabe find out when they try to go to the mixed onsen, only to find it closed. I could recount how that moves from digging a hot spring to finding oil to hallucinogenic food cooked by Moritani to apparent threesome in the morning to… but I think you get the picture. The show’s really moved to a point where it’s not big set pieces anymore, but a constant stream of funny situations as it flows naturally. And the big crises from earlier in the show have toned down from soul crushing to just a bit depressing. I think this is a good thing for the show, because it has kept it from getting too overwhelming. The contrast was good early on, but the average happiness level had to go up to keep viewers around.
Moritani thinks she screwed something up again.
That’s not to say that everything’s fun and games now. Moritani is sloooowly moving out of purgatory as the new friend who is trying to make up for what she did to both Haruka and Manabe. And Yuriko keeps threatening to Muroto that she’s going to use Kotoura, but exactly how isn’t ever brought up. And Haruka and Manabe are almost an official couple, but even a couple like that has some problems, as evidenced by the second half of this episode. All of a sudden, Manabe starts reciting timestables when he’s with Haruka, or other distracting things. And he’s generally avoiding her, leading Haruka to wonder what’s wrong, or if she’s losing him. But it turns out that he’s just trying to keep a surprise from her, and won’t even tell Moritani because she’ll spill it.
Yuriko gets friendly with Kuma-chan.
And even when she’s getting worried, and nobody knows why he’s acting like that, she gets reassurance from the others, that even though they don’t know why, they all trust Manabe and know he wouldn’t do that to her. Moritani even starts thinking about what if Manabe and Kotoura break up, but quickly squashes that thought, because Haruka’s too important a friend to her. But as it turns out, Manabe’s goal is to give Haruka a surprise birthday party since he found out her birthday from Zenzou. And as he says, even he likes to show off sometimes.
Haruka tears up at Manabe’s kindness.
But the overarching themes of the show are Haruka’s resilience, especially for someone who has had so much bad stuff happen to them, and the true friendship of people who can accept her. And the importance of her acceptance of them is something that can be really understated. She was a person with no friends, no connections to anyone except Zenzou and Oshou. And every time she’d made friends, they’d eventually left, making it even worse.
You should trust your friends, but not always their cooking
So the idea that she is still able to come back and trust friends and even think that other people would want to be friends with her is a great thing for viewers to take heart in. So many people have trouble with friends, and a lot of it stems from not believing in themselves enough. People who don’t have friends frequently believe that they aren’t worthy of friends, so it’s even harder to make them. Learning from Haruka would be good, that even though she’s been shunned, called a monster, and ostracized many times, she still believes that the people who like her like her for being herself. And she trusts their judgement that she’s someone who’s worthy of their friendship.
Remembering old times.
There was some melancholy in the show, because they can’t get totally away from it (and we wouldn’t want them to). Haruka finally works up the courage to go into that room that she didn’t go in before, the room that was apparently hers when she was growing up. A small room, she remembers crying inside there, wondering how she could make her parents happy or what she could do about it. And when Oshou comes by to talk to her, and she realizes that her mother was there, seeing her, and yet not wanting to contact her. But Haruka is able to brush this off in the moment, realizing what she has now and the friends she has. But it still makes her hands shake after thinking about it. It’s obvious that the history with Kumiko isn’t going to make the future easier.
I wonder if Kumiko really understands what Haruka does. I am thinking that she’s convinced herself that no matter what, Haruka is making up what she says. Even though she has to know that Haruka was repeating back what was in her own head, Kumiko has a story that she was making exaggerations and lies, no matter what the truth is. Either she knows the truth, but isn’t willing to own up to her own part in it, or truly has convinced herself that it was all Haruka’s fault. But Kumiko at least is not looking to destroy or gain vengeance on Haruka, a small point in her favor. When begged by Oshou to at least talk to Haruka, Kumiko responds “We would just hurt each other again.” Is this an indication that Kumiko at least cares for Haruka (in not wanting to hurt her), or more that it’s just the same as another person.
Moritani’s self punishment
And more screenshots: