We finally get the major Machi backstory that basically explains why she is the way that she is. And boy, this girl has not had it easy whatsoever. We already knew that she was suffering from a lot of pressure put on her at the very start when she was forced into a battle for succession against Kakeru. However we didn’t know the extent of it.
So we have this silly scene at the start of the episode where the student council is going over what makes a guy attractive, which is a great topic to start with lol. And to which Kimi states that it’s the size of the guy’s bank account that matters and I just love how exasperated everyone else in the room is after that answer. However, things take a turn when a couple girls come into the room and start talking smack about Machi and even tells Yuki that she tried to kill her little brother. Kakeru states how what is said is basically the truth, at least from what he’s heard from Machi’s parents. However, they aren’t the most reliable source and Kakeru most likely doesn’t even believe it himself. So what better way to find out the truth than from the source?
Also can we just appreciate how comfortable Yuki has gotten with Kakeru? The way he just leans on him in exasperation was hilariously wholesome.
Once Kakeru and Yuki arrive at Machi’s place, everything that was happening for the first few minutes was just hilarious. From Machi immediately honing in on Yuki and trying to close the door on them to Kakeru freaking putting Machi’s bra into an unknowing Yuki’s hand. Kakeru deserved that beat up from the two of them.
Poor Machi has basically been gaslit her entire life by mostly her mother. It’s especially terrible that despite Machi trying her very best for her mom, walking that fine line as her mom pushed her so hard to be perfect, after her brother was born, her mom basically states that she has a boring personality. And of course, Machi rightfully got upset about it because everything she did was for her mom only to be met with “I guess it is my fault that you ended up this way.” In this type of situation, parents typically deflect the fault onto the child saying that it’s not their fault. However, taking the blame for Machi’s “boring personality” is equally hurtful because she literally told her to her face that she was a mistake. Let us take a moment to dump Machi’s mother into the overflowing trash heap of terrible parents from this series. Especially when we find out that Machi was just putting on a blanket over her brother because she thought he might be cold. It was her parents that assumed she most likely felt jealous of her brother while she held absolutely no contempt for him whatsoever. Like, really?!
The entire thing was just a terribly traumatic experience for Machi, creating her incredible fear of perfection, which is why she always makes a mess whenever she sees a clean room or perfectly aligned chalk. And I’m not gonna lie, but I did not care for Machi’s circumstances when I first read the manga. I think I was at a point where bad parents in this series was just a norm and I didn’t really think much of Machi’s situation. However, now I feel like the mangaka is just showing us different examples of how bad parenting affects their child and what kind of psychological problems come out of it. Each individual in this series have their own set of situations that affect them personally and this series does a wonderful job at showing us to understand where they’re coming from. And I really appreciate that in this series and I’ve come to care for almost all of the characters in one form or another.
But man, Yuki was extremely swoonworthy because not only does he affirm that nothing was Machi’s fault, but he made her an adorable promise that when next time it snows, he’ll make footprints in it with her… Only to be interrupted by Kakeru’s freaking power ranger ringtone. This guy out here being Yuki and Machi’s wingman lol. Also, can we just talk about how he just cracks that one chalk without even looking to help put Machi at ease? THAT WAS SO SMOOTH. He didn’t even pause or look. ASDFGHJK.
Yuki putting tape over the cracked window while Machi talks about her situation felt very symbolic of Yuki helping put the pieces back together. While not making it perfectly repaired, he’s holding Machi together by listening and consoling her. He’s not here to fix her, he’s picking up the broken pieces and making sure she feels safe and secure.
I also love the shot where it shows Yuki and Machi on the other side of the window with the tape covering the cracks overlapping with Yuki and just a bunch of clutter in front of Machi. It’s so representative of their characters as Yuki had been broken, but because of Tohru, he’s been pieced back together. Not perfectly, but he’s recovering and moving forward. And Machi’s life is just a complete mess outside of her power and she’s just always focused on the mess in front of her because it’s so overwhelming. What Tohru gave to Yuki, he is now giving to Machi which is so poetic.
I feel like the episode felt a little weird in regards to Motoko since there was a small scene in the manga having her tell Yuki to meet with her. Though I guess they felt like that scene didn’t have as much significance. But it probably would have made the next scene have a bit more continuity rather than it feeling a bit random. Anyways, I do appreciate Motoko here as even though she confessed, it wasn’t a selfish confession like the confessions Kimi talked about receiving in the beginning of the episode. Motoko only wished for Yuki’s happiness, not needing him to return her feelings since she knew that he didn’t feel the same way and wasn’t going to force or pressure him to. In a way, Motoko is a complete deconstruction of her type of character. She has accepted that Yuki won’t return her feelings and she’s okay with that and instead thanks him for giving her a fun time at school. It may have not been the most healthy way to have fun at school, but it was still something that Yuki gave to her, even if not intentionally. It also probably meant a lot to Yuki that he was able to give something to someone since he always felt like he was always taking. So in a way, this confession was for the benefit of both of the characters and I appreciate how positive it turned out to be. Especially since these types of situations always end up being uncomfortable or detrimental to the characters involved.
We also finally find out exactly why Nao declared Yuki his rival back in season 2. Ever since he saw her, Nao has been crushing hard on Motoko. Which is ironic since Motoko even said earlier there may have been someone pining after her while she was pining after Yuki. And just like her confession to Yuki, Nao’s confession (well I guess half confession since he never explicitly told her he likes her, though I’m sure she caught on) was a positive one and also wished for her to find her happiness. It’s all just a positive cycle as Yuki was able to give something to Motoko while Motoko was able to give something to Nao.
And I love how it transition from Nao saying goodbye to Hiro’s new baby sister. To every “goodbye,” there is a “nice to meet you.” Also, can we just give Hiro’s mom an award for being a great mother? Despite her son being a Zodiac member, she loves him and her daughter all the same and tells him she’ll hug them both so it would be okay for Hiro to hug his little sister. Which is just… UGHHHHH MY HEART.
I honestly love how so many things came full circle in this one episode and we just get to see how strong the writing is. Symbolism game continues to be strong and I just love watching these characters develop and help one another. I don’t even particularly like Motoko, but I appreciate how she has developed as a person and lets go of her infatuation with Yuki without a fight. Ugh, this episode was just so sweet… up until the last few moments of the episode where Kagura is wondering what happened to Rin since she’s been missing for a while and leaves us with a VERY foreboding feeling. And I’ll leave it at that for now.