Oh boy, here I come with the controversial hot-takes again! I was never really convinced of the Hatori x Mayu ship. Maybe it’s because they’re too similar personality-wise that I wasn’t that invested or I didn’t like the dynamic. Though it’s probably because I loved the Hatori x Kana ship dynamic so much. And while Mayu isn’t a bad person, I’m just not a fan of their overall dynamic. But I’m glad that a lot of people seem to like it, it’s just not my taste. I’m always for the stoic guy and the more cheerful girl in ships. So I can see why I like Hatori x Kana more. If there wasn’t such an age gap, I may have shipped Hatori with Tohru lol.
While I’m on the neutral bus when it comes to Mayu, I do admit I felt absolutely terrible for her when Shigure asked her if she wanted to date him out of boredom and she was lonely. The sentiment alone was sad, especially since Shigure seemed to pity her situation of crushing on her best friend’s boyfriend while also finding amusement in it (as he tends to do). The relationship just felt so cold and the two really didn’t mesh well, especially since Shigure didn’t seem particularly interested in her that way either.
I do appreciate and respect Mayu’s loyalty to Kana though. She cares so much for her friend that she would wish Hatori and Kana happiness from the bottom of her heart. So it must have just killed her on the inside having to see Kana losing her sanity like that. It hurt me to see her just so depressed and defeated. She doesn’t even seem to care that she’s essentially dying from the inside out and was just so distraught over the fact that she couldn’t protect Hatori when he got hurt. KANA NO DX. She did so much for him and was the only one who was able to open up his heart and it just stabbed me in the heart when she talked about how she and Hatori would most likely not get along after she lost her memories of him…. DESPITE BEING ONE OF THE CUTEST COUPLES IN THIS FREAKING SERIES. And I do think that it’s because she’s Kana’s friend that makes me feel personally iffy about her and Hatori possibly getting together. And while she most likely has Kana’s blessings since she’s already married, I’m still not fond of the idea.
I do think Mayu provides an interesting perspective as someone from the outside looking in on their situation on a surface level. She definitely knows more than a normal outside, such as Shigure filling her in on the hypnotism that suppresses memories. And considering everything that happened with Hatori getting hurt and Kana just beating herself over the guilt, she probably has some idea that something isn’t right in the family but it wise not to look deeper into it. If she tried to uncover more things about the Sohmas, I feel like she’d be putting herself in a lot of danger. She is close enough to know a little about them, but far enough to escape their radar. She’s an interesting neutral character amongst the chaos. And it does make me wonder how she feels about seeing so many Sohma kids at school.
Freaking Shigure always trying to stir the pot. Though despite his manipulative tendencies, I do get the feeling that he is trying to move things along for Hatori and Mayu out of fondness for his friend. While Shigure has shown to be self-centered, there is still a touch of softness when it comes to Hatori. Considering everything they’ve went through and Hatori seems to be the only one who can see past his smiles and charades but still be someone he can talk to. They honestly have such an interesting relationship with Hatori being one of the only ones that Shigure actually does care for on some level. And despite how twisted he is, Hatori has stuck with him all this time. So it honestly does make sense that Shigure would want to help him out of appreciation to some extent. And that coming from Shigure would probably mean a lot.
I’ve always felt really bad for Hatori since he’s constantly pestered about Akito needing him all the time, whether just for his health or wanting him as a Zodiac to be near him. And it was frustrating how that maid was just guilt tripping him the entire walk to where Akito was. HE DOESN’T NEED THIS. Not to mention when they cut to that crying child and the maid commented on how shameful it was, I literally yelled: THAT’S LITERALLY WHAT AKITO DOES. HE CRIES AND SCREAMS UNTIL HE GETS WHAT HE WANTS. What the maid deemed as “shameful” is basically the relationship between Akito and Hatori. Hatori just feels like a parent always having to comfort a small screaming child. And it hurts to hear him say that happiness isn’t for him. YOU DESERVE HAPPINESS HATORI. “What is gnawing on his heart?” HE HAS TO DEAL WITH A FREAKING MAN CHILD 24/7.
Though on the flip side of the symbolism of the child crying is just allowing yourself to let out all of the emotion you’ve been bottling up for so long. Letting out a good cry isn’t shameful, especially when you’ve been keeping a lid on certain feelings for an extended amount of time. It’s actually healthy to cry since you’re releasing all of those pent up feelings and you feel a lot better afterwards. Shown as to when Mayu just lets out her pent up frustration and sadness over Hatori believing he doesn’t deserve to be happy, crying for his sake. Especially since Hatori has kept so many painful things sealed in his heart and never seems to be given chances to let them out. So having someone cry for his sake since he won’t must have touched him in a lot of ways.
Hatori is such a tragic character. Legit the only time I teared up for this series is seeing his backstory with Kana. Every time he’s around, I just feel my heart immediately break, especially when he believes he doesn’t think he deserves happiness. Despite him being in such a neutral position with all the different factions popping up, bordering on being fine with how things are, deep down, he does long to be free just like the rest of the Zodiac members. Though to be fair, I don’t think any of them are completely content with how things are.
I also want to touch on the symbolism of those children playing in the river. It definitely had to do with representing Hatori and Mayu’s state of happiness. It starts out with one kid splashing the other, probably representing Mayu’s current state since she got to go out and talk with Hatori. And as they continue chatting, the other kid splashes back a little, showing that Hatori is enjoying the time a little as well but still holding back. And when Mayu starts getting upset, the kids stop playing. Going even further with one of them was stooped down trying to search for something while the other kid just watched, showing Mayu searching to understand why Hatori felt that way about happiness. And when Mayu was crying, basically showing her sadness for Hatori’s situation, the little kid seemed to have found something and showing the other. And then the final shot of the kids with both of them splashing each other with a lot of enthusiasm once Hatori offers to treat Mayu to something to eat. Interesting imagery, especially since I feel like the two weren’t able to ever allow themselves to find child-like happiness.
It feels inevitable that these two will one day end up together considering the set up. And while I’ve always been rooting for Hatori’s happiness, the ship still feels weird to me. But that’s just me, a lot of people seem to really like their relationship so I digress. This was a very different episode, especially when you compare it to the previous episode. Last episode showed Kyo and Kagura ending things between them while this episode showed the possibility of Hatori and Mayu getting together one day, though as Shigure stated, it’ll take some time on Hatori’s end. It was a hopeful episode rather than a finite one like last week’s. Still no new opening yet since I suppose the new arc hasn’t officially started yet. Hoping for next week!
Also on a completely unrelated topic, MAN Hatori is ATTRACTIVE.