Ah yes, it’s time to go to the obligatory beach episode! In all seriousness, this arc definitely sets a lot of different things in motion so I’m excited to finally be able to get into it. Lots of things go down in this arc so prepare thyself!
Momiji makes plans for everyone to go to a Sohma vacation home without asking anyone’s opinions on the matter again. However, it’d probably be a good change of pace for everyone to go and have fun. Though Tohru has to finish her summer homework first before she can go. But before that, OOOOOOH we get more mysterious hat progression. With Yuki nearly revealing something about it… sadly he doesn’t get to finish when Momiji barges into the room. However, by the end of the episode, it is revealed that it was indeed Yuki that was the mysterious boy with the hat that had helped Tohru all those years ago. While we currently don’t know the extent of it, Yuki was clearly touched that Tohru considers what he had done a precious memory, even if she can’t remember what the boy looked like. But we’ll have to wait until we hear Yuki’s side of the story to how he feels and thinks about the whole situation. From his reaction, it seems like he assumed the girl he had helped wouldn’t have thought much about him helping her. But to his surprise, that girl, being Tohru felt so much gratitude for his actions. It is fuel to my Yuki x Tohru shipper fire because Tohru admitted in the first season that she considers that boy her first love. Just let me bask in my ship feels while it lasts.
Another character that gets a bit of spotlight in this episode was Hiro. And oh my gosh, Hiro… just shut up. I loved Hiro when I first started reading this series (and a small part of me still does). …I guess I had a thing for bratty boys back in the day. But now.. dude, learn some tact and tone down the jealousy, PLEASE. I know he’s just a kid but it felt SUPER insensitive to question why Tohru only ever talks about her mom and he uses such a demeaning tone. Not to mention it seems like he keeps trying to find faults in Tohru to try and make her less appealing (to Kisa) and it’s just downright terrible. And while Tohru tried to pass it off, Kisa could clearly see that what Hiro said really hurt her and she had every right to get upset at Hiro. His comments were so unnecessary and I appreciate that she called him out on it. He DOESN’T know what she keeps locked in her heart and he shouldn’t assume that he’s always right. Not to mention out of all the Zodiac members, Hiro is one of the only ones that hasn’t had a hard family life growing up. He probably had the most normal and loving upbringing out of everyone in the Zodiac. So thinking about it, Hiro most likely CAN’T relate to a lot of the Zodiac members or the pain they’ve all felt over their family life. That isn’t to say he hasn’t experienced pain, but it feels like when it comes to family, he’s the odd one out in a sense.
But I am glad that Hiro seems to be thinking a little bit more on his actions. He also seems to realize that he might be able to relate to Tohru just a little bit with how both may be holding certain feelings in their hearts that they’re unable to express. And while Hiro is SUPER exasperating, he really is still a kid and the youngest Zodiac member. I feel like I can give him a little bit of slack for that, especially since he still has so much more time to grow and develop. I do wish that he apologized to Tohru too since what he said really did hurt and bother her. But it seems like he’s actually trying to be a bit nicer to her and didn’t stoop to berating her when she was excitedly showing him a beetle she found. Not to mention that his eyes seemed to have opened to the fact that his words may have had more of an affect on Tohru than he realized and that yes, he did hurt her. SO APOLOGIZE DANG IT.
I also feel like there is just an ongoing theme of “assumptions.” So many characters make assumptions about others, not even bothering to try and get to know the other better. Hiro assumed that Tohru was fine despite all of his hurtful words, but in the end, he realized that that was not the case. This is especially evident in Yuki and Kyo’s case. Though it’s more so on Kyo’s part. It honestly feels like it comes down to communication. Freaking TALK to each other.
Surprisingly to me, it seems like Momiji really wants to become friends with Kyo, even if he ends up being hit by him most of the time. He could have just left the room after Kyo said he’d go to the vacation house with them, but instead, chose to stay and make conversation with him. Even if it was one-sided. Not to mention that Momiji noticed that Kyo has gotten nicer, showing that he’s watching him. But it seems like they’re starting to somewhat get along better as Kyo was the one to show him how to attract beetles by using sugar water. Now this is a friendship of Kyo’s I can get behind. I just hope he’ll stop bullying Momiji over every little thing he does. I wasn’t paying close attention to their bond in my first read through of the manga, Momiji seems to be pretty involved in Kyo’s development or at least aware of it and has been watching him. While not as involved in his development as Ayame and Hatsuharu are with Yuki, Momiji seems to want to help Kyo along and interact with him more out of everyone.
And then we have Shigure seemingly stirring the pot at several different points. First with Rin which may I say made me VERY uncomfortable. Like Rin… Um, STOP??? We don’t know why Rin wants from Shigure, however, it seems important enough that she seems willing to offer herself to him in order to get it. That scene felt so foreboding and sadly we didn’t get to see what became of that. Though I think we do learn what transpired later. In any case, Shigure seems to also be playing with Akito in a sense as well considering he basically ratted the group out that they went to the Sohma vacation home. And because of that, Akito now wants to go and rain on their parade. THANKS SHIGURE. At this point we don’t know the extent of Shigure’s relationship with Akito but it also felt unsettling. There is some sort of intimacy between them, but he always holds a tone and expression of contempt. As if he’s playing along but has other thoughts on the matter.
I feel super spoiled to have more Yuki development and I love it. He’s slowly starting to break free from Akito’s words that have been holding him down since he was a kid thanks to Tohru’s influence and small pushes from Hatsuharu and Ayame. He’s finally seeing light in the darkness of his past and that light isn’t a delusion as Akito said. He’s even willing to share his past with Tohru one day and that’s a HUGE step considering he’s kept a very tight lid on it all of his life. I couldn’t help but “awww” and sob in my heart because he’s come so far. Also, can we just talk about how much of a bro Hatsuharu is towards Yuki? I know I’ve gushed about their relationship before, but I just can’t help but appreciate him so much. He’s just so receptive to whenever Yuki is going into his dark place again and pulls him back into reality. Yuki is honestly blessed to have finally found people who are willing to help him out of his darkness. Though I am not looking forward to see if he backtracks on his progress when Akito shows up to try and reign the Zodiac members back in. PROTECT YUKI’S HAPPINESS. Also I have been waiting for that hair touch scene and NGHHHH my heart!
On a smaller note but far from unimportant is Tohru’s inner struggle. Despite her happy demeanor, even she has things she can’t talk about with anyone and keeps a lid on certain memories and feelings. It kind of shows that she’s not as perfect as everyone makes her out to be. Even she’s dealing with dark and depressing thoughts that she doesn’t want or feel like she can’t share. However, I feel like she can relate to Yuki in that sense since both seem to be determined to keep a lid on feelings they don’t want to let out. And while we don’t know how Tohru actually took Yuki’s words of wanting to open the lid to his feelings, I do hope that she felt a little inspired to speak of them one day. Though judging from her expression, she’s not quite ready to open it as Yuki is on his.