At long last Yoshida and Asami finally got to hear about Sayu’s backstory, and it hurt, a lot. Sayu was already having a tough time due to her strained relationship with her toxic mother, so when her first and only friend ended up committing suicide, Sayu just fell apart. The two of them were very much alike as they were both outsiders, but found comfort in each other. However their world turned upside-down when Yuuko began to be bullied as a proxy to Sayu, only because she was considered an easier target. They took out their frustrations and jealousy on her over the pettiest reason, of how a boy one of the girls liked had confessed to Sayu, and was rejected.
While Sayu eventually became aware of the bullying, even though she vowed to support Yuuko and tried her best to protect her, in the end she was powerless and was unable to stop her from committing suicide right before her eyes. From the very beginning, Yuuko thought very little of herself, and that’s why she admired Sayu so much. She thought she was the coolest, kindest and had the most beautiful smile. But once the bullying started, she ruined Sayu by becoming someone she had to protect. It hurt her that Sayu lost her ‘shine’ and looking depressed because of what she was going through. All Yuuko wanted her to do was smile again… And she thought the best way to do that was to completely remove herself from the picture.
Unfortunately, despite going through such traumatic experience, apart from her brother, Sayu did not receive any support of consolation from her parents, especially her mother. That woman did not give a shit about what she had gone through, and only made things even worse with the terrible and toxic things that came out of her mouth. UGH! It made my blood boil when she had the audacity to even suggest the Sayu was the one who killed her friend. HOLY CRAP WOMAN, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU!? Your daughter’s best and only friend just committed suicide and THAT is what you say to her? Don’t even get started how she was blaming Sayu for the commotion how she was making her life ‘harder’, demeaning her, and- WOW, just shut up! What an awful woman. I am so glad Sayu put her foot down about that, and I was very happy to see that her brother imeaditely understood why she needed to leave when she told him about it, and didn’t hesitate to help her do so. He was the one who drove her to the station, gave her enough money to last two weeks (hoping she would be ready to come back by then), told her to stay at a safe hotel, and call him if she feels she’s in danger.
However, what Issa gravely underestimated was the depressive state Sayu was in, and in hindsight that was his biggest mistake. Issa had tried to support her in the way Sayu wanted to be at the time, which was to be alone, but instead it only made her feel worse. Before long, his efforts to keep in touch with her by phone wasn’t enough because she started to feel like his kindness was only out of pity for her, and Sayu’s emptiness only grew and her sense of self-worth has plummeted to the point she didn’t feel like she meant anything to anyone. So when she finally ran out of money, instead of seeking her brother for more support, she dumped her phone in the trash and left without a word, leading her into the vicious cycle of offering sex in exchange for a roof over her head until the night she had the fateful encounter with Yoshida.
This also puts into perspective how long Issa had been looking for her. It must have been stressful and terrifying to suddenly lose contact with his sister. While their mother had been harassing him to find Sayu, Issa’s biggest and foremost concern was her safety and well-being. And it’s really sad and tragic that Sayu was exploited in some of the ways he had feared might happen if she wasn’t careful.
Needless to say, thank god for Issa. At least there is somebody in that family who actually cares about Sayu! And I cannot tell you how glad I am that he isn’t some toxic jerk like her mother, truly! It was such a relief to see him have amiable conversation with Yoshida at the table. It got heated at times when Sayu express anger and frustration about how he worded their mother’s concerns, but at least when she called him out on it, he didn’t hide it and explained the situation at hand. The good thing that came out of this was not only did Issa get to see how Yoshida cared about Sayu’s well-being (like calling out the fact their mother doesn’t care about Sayu’s feelings at all, this is simply out of her own convenience), he also recognized how much Sayu has grown as an individual. While he has no idea what she has gone through, (and the fact many of his fears came to fruition), we can see he is happy and even relieved to see she is speaking her mind more than she did before. Although Yoshida had asked on Sayu’s behalf to give her a few days to get her thoughts in order, fortunately Issa recognized she really does need time, and will do whatever he can to to buy her a week. And frankly I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say even that might prove to be difficult to buy as much time for her while convincing their mother that she hasn’t been found yet. We already know her brother isn’t here alone, which means Sayu’s location would easily be leaked out by another (such as Issa’s driver), and that would cut Sayu’s time short, or worse, they might just forciably drag her back home upon her mother’s orders. After-all, she is losing her mind over the fact the school has come to assume she is locking her child at home, and she wants Sayu back now to prove them wrong.
With all that said, the biggest obstacle Sayu must face when she returns home is her mother. But that is also exactly why it is so important for her to figure out what she wants to do with herself. Once she has that in order, then she and her brother would probably be in a better position to formulate a plan to deal with whatever their mother hurls at them, especially since she has become so unstable.
However Sayu isn’t the only one who needs to get her thoughts together. While the responsible side of Yoshida agrees Sayu that needs to return home, Asami has been pressuring him to think from his heart of what he wants to do about her. The tricky part is that he and he feels doesn’t have the right to stick his nose into their business, so he is kind of at loss of what to do. I’m looking forward to see what kind of resolution he will come to, and hope Sayu will be able to figure something out for herself with the little time she has left without an external interference from her mother.