The new opening is finally here!!! While the visuals are stunning as usual, I do have to admit that the ending part of the song ended rather abruptly and didn’t feel very satisfying. But that’s just me. However, there is a lot of symbolism going on as usual. Such as with most of the Zodiac members shown to be basking in the sunlight except for Kagura, Kureno and Akito. I know full well why Kureno is completely cast in shadow and standing in a place where sunlight has little chance of reaching, but that’s a spoiler so I’ll leave it at that. Kagura on the other hand is a bit more confusing to me. Though if I had to garner a guess, it may represent her current state of being heartbroken by her “break up” with Kyo, but sunlight is still hitting her slightly and with time, she will be completely in sunlight, just like it’ll take time for her to heal. And then there Akito that has completely shut out the sun as if shutting out the real world to live in his own world. There’s a lot going on here with this opening, but I feel like I would go on for too long so let’s move on to the actual episode.
I feel like I forgot how much the story still focused on Yuki since I either didn’t care as much about him at first while reading the manga or I just felt like the Kyo x Tohru story kind of outshone it. Either way, I am having a field day with just how much Yuki continues growing through out the story and he wasn’t tossed aside as the “love rival that didn’t get the girl.” No, there is so much more to Yuki’s journey than I initially gave it credit for and I’m loving it. The beach arc was basically the starting line for Yuki’s actual development as he is now equipped with the tools to grow and possibly even share what he has been given with others. He seems to be getting better in entering the Sohma estate without having an episode considering last time he came, he nearly threw up. But this time, while hesitantly, he was still able to walk in without experiencing any sort of trauma. It still took a lot for him to enter the grounds, but he’s starting to become more confident and not crumble under his emotional baggage as much anymore.
There are still a lot of things he needs to work to overcome, such as sorting things out with his parents and what to do about Akito. I think the biggest hurdle he has to overcome are the distorted bonds he has with those people and whether or not he needs to make amends, come to an understanding or sever them. I don’t quite remember how it goes down with his parents and whether or not it shows him confronting them, but I’m sure it will be a big step for Yuki if he does. Though from the theme of the episode, I’m predicting that he probably will cut ties or just leave them be and move on by himself. Either way, I think that would be the best thing Yuki can do at this point for himself. Especially since Haru tells him to essentially go on and leave the Sohmas (and his past) behind so that he can find his own happiness.
And speaking of Haru, OH. MY. GOSH. I feel like my heart just got punched when we found out just HOW MUCH Haru did for Yuki. We already knew that Haru did a lot for Yuki, but it wasn’t until this point where we find out the extent of it. At first glance, I did not fully grasp the situation of Haru coming to visit Yuki in his room. I was like: Awww, Haru is so nice to come visit him. However, I never took in the account that Akito wanted to keep Yuki isolated so if someone caught Haru visiting Yuki, Haru was bound to get into a lot of trouble. But despite it, Haru still chose to visit him, knowing how lonely he was and wanted to help alleviate it even just a little bit. When Rin revealed the lengths Haru went through to get Yuki out of the Sohma estate, I think my heart just broke. Haru has a lot of pride, despite how he carries himself most of the time and for him to essentially beg Shigure to take Yuki in, even going as far to call him “sensei” for no reason, was just going above and beyond. He even continues to uphold that promise as we’ve seen multiple times. If I were to name the kindest character in this freaking story, it would be Haru. He cared so much for Yuki, knowing just how much pain and loneliness the poor boy was experiencing on a daily basis that he fought and begged to get Yuki out the Sohma estate. He doesn’t even seem to care what happens to him most of the time and just wants Yuki to find happiness. Haru, you have officially received the title of “BEST BOY” of 2020.
This episode highlights just how much Haru has went through just to get Yuki at the starting line. And while I think it was insensitive for Haru to tell Yuki not to mind his mess, I also think it has to do how hard he fought to help Yuki get where he is. He doesn’t have time to linger when he could be striving for happiness Haru (and me) believes Yuki deserves. And Yuki must feel overwhelmingly grateful to Haru, wanting to give something back to him just as Haru had done for him. However, Haru isn’t the one to receive what Yuki has to give and he acknowledges that there is someone out there waiting for him. And I can’t help but just feel so bittersweet about this scene because it almost feels like Haru is saying goodbye, kind of like Yuki’s scene with Tohru at the beach. Both Haru and Tohru have given so much to Yuki, being the ones to drag him up to where he stands now. It’s now up to Yuki on what he wants to do with the chance they graciously gave him. It’s so heartbreaking that he has to leave them behind in a sense, however, if he continues clinging to them, he wouldn’t be able to grow. Yuki has always been a hesitant person, so he truly needed them to push him from behind, telling him to go and find his own happiness. They got you this far, Yuki, now you just got to use what they gave you and continue forward. AHHHHHHHH MY HEART T^T. From this point on, I feel like Yuki will start making an effort to give back rather than receiving. GO YUKI, GO!!!
And then we have Rin. Wow, they threw me for a loop with that flashback of Haru and Rin coming into Yuki’s room when they were younger. I honestly thought that Rin was kind of rude and insensitive to just up and leave because she didn’t like being there. But then things started clicking when Haru stated that Rin doesn’t say things for her own benefit and was confirmed that she only did that because she was actually on lookout to see if anyone was coming. Just to make sure that Haru didn’t get into trouble. Rin seems like the type of person to care too much for people, even sacrificing herself to make sure no one else gets involved or hurt. She’s definitely carrying around some baggage that has yet to be revealed, but despite that, she’s doing everything in her power to protect Haru from something. Even going as far as to skulk around to try and break their curse. Even Haru hit the nail on the head when he asked if Rin can’t carry the burden on her own. And I do believe that Rin alone can’t break the curse and she needs help or find someone to confide in at the very least. Especially since she seems rather emotionally unstable.
But who knew the first kiss we’d see in this series was Haru and Rin. It makes sense since they were previously in a relationship, but it’s still pretty shocking. And I couldn’t help but spiritually relate to Yuki when he dropped his bag in shock lol.
We also get some Tohru development. We get some major hints as to what pushes her to be so upbeat and smiling all the time. Along with her overwhelming fear of losing people close to her. Shown by her anxiety when her grandfather seemed like he was going to pass away, but ended up just falling asleep and her nearly having an emotional breakdown when she thought back to a time when her mom left her behind at home. I also think it’s very telling that Kyo appear while she was thinking about all of this. It’s a very complicated scenario. On one hand, Kyo actually came back for her, implying that he won’t leave her behind. But then on the other, he’s essentially the next person to “leave” her since he’s going to be locked away forever. A double-whammy on opposite ends of the spectrum.
This… was a lot. There is so much to examine this season and I’m discovering more and more nuances that I never noticed before when I first read the manga back in high school. There is just so much subtext and detail that went into this series, it’s unbelievable. And with each passing episode, I feel myself respecting so many of the characters more than I had in high school. I’m eager to see what else this series will bring because there are plenty of things that I had forgotten.
Also WOW EVERYONE LOOKS SO GOOD IN TRADITIONAL JAPANESE GARB.