Yeeees, a Hiroto episode at last! Or partially, at least. Little by little, the greatest enigma of the series reveals himself. Only one mystery remains: why is he always eating a mini sausage? I guess I was expecting there to be some dramatic reason behind Subaru and Hiroto’s relationship, but it looks like the truth is a little less exciting than that and they’re actually just neighbours. Which is to the series’ strength, I think. Subaru is a little strange and more than little withdrawn, but that doesn’t mean some big event has to happen for someone to want to be friends with him. Having said that, it looks like Hiroto appointed himself Subaru’s carer just as much as his friend back when they were kids. Don’t quite know what to make of that. Maybe Hiroto is just a saint.
Watching the flashback in this episode, it occurs to me that the relationship between Subaru and his parents is perhaps the healthiest and most extensively-documented parent-child relationship I’ve ever seen in an anime. In a world full of absent/abusive Anime Parents, it’s refreshing to see a mother and father who unconditionally support their son and have undeniably impacted his life for the better. Which if you think about it, is kind of an achievement. Subaru’s the kind of person who could have easily been a depressed NEET for his whole life, and yet thanks to their encouragement he’s a popular author with a cat buddy to keep him company. Of course, you could argue that his life functionally isn’t that different from that of a NEET, but well done to them all the same. They did their best, I love the snippets of their life together that we get, and as always, I appreciate that they’re being used as more than just sacrificial lambs for their son’s tragic backstory. I almost wrote “bless this household” and then I remembered it’s already been torn to pieces. Welp. Bless it anyway.
Present-Day Subaru had some really high-tier facial expressions. He is learning well from Haru.
This is one of my favourites, as is this one:
Such unbridled sass. I was almost prepared to offer him the title of Best Facial Expressions for the episode, but Haru completely blew him out of the water once her segment came around.
What a pro. She always rises to the occasion. I should never have doubted her. She and Subaru should consider modelling together.
Haru in general was far and away the cutest thing in the episode (I mean, she usually is, but she was really working overtime with the antics). I could have filled a whole gallery with Haru pictures, I was stopping to take screenshots of her more or less every time she was on screen. The “sudden contraction of the Deadly Japanese Cold (TM)” plotline is a well-worn cliché at this point (and I will never understand why the common cold seems to induce fainting in anime characters) but I think Haru’s reaction to the whole thing really made it work. I love how seriously she’s taking her role as Subaru’s protector. I’m also glad that her relationship with Subaru, despite getting closer to a traditional cat-person relationship, still has that “roommate” element that has been there from the very start. He gives her food and a place to stay, and she repays him by protecting him. And sure, she might have half-wrecked the kitchen in the process, but it was very sweet of her to try to make him food.
Also Atsushi and Hiroto make a great pair. I think they hold great potential for the future.