Hige wo Soru. Soshite Joshikousei wo Hirou – Episode 11 & 12
Sayu has finally returned to Hokkaido, and yet while doing so, we come to learn she is already experiencing a lot of new things for the first time, such as taking the flight back home, going to a cafe. Through that Sayu reveals never really had the opportunity to live what most would consider a ‘normal’ teenage life, such as going out on weekends, or doing something after school. She had to go home the moment school was over, and maybe every now and then if she was lucky, she would be allowed to go out on weekends. In other words, you may as well say her mother basically put her under house arrest, as she considered Sayu to be the symbol of shame and a failed marriage. This was something Sayu only came to realize after she had left home.
I admire Sayu’s resolve to face the trauma and grief of losing Yuuko first, and I am glad she didn’t have to do it alone. We saw how the trauma starting to kick in just as she drew closer and closer to the roof-top, but she didn’t let that stop her. Sayu knew she had to do this, and with Yoshida’s help, she was able to face it. She finally had the opportunity to release her bottled up grief, and to finally release herself from the chains that holds her back from moving forward to a better tomorrow.
And thank goodness Yoshida went with her, because she needed him. Over the past six months, Yoshida has become a more reliable and trustworthy pillar of support than her own family. He was the one who helped her face the past, one step at a time. Taking him along with her to the roof-top was the best decision, because he also became her voice of reason, grounding her to the present. In the moment when despair took over, she needed someone there to remind her that it wasn’t her fault because Sayu felt like she was the one responsible for pushing her over the edge by vowing to fight the bullies. That was why she felt like she couldn’t say she wanted Yuuko to live, because to her, it would have been as though she is blaming her for leaving her side.
It certainly did hurt to return to the roof-top, and see how the school added tall fences around the ledges of the roof-top. And it hurts like a bitch because it took the death of her best friend to enact these new safety measures. (Though what I did find rather ironic, was how the school has yet to fix the areas they can break into the school at night, which was how they were able to get inside in the first place, but I digress.)
Once Sayu calmed down, you could see that we are starting to see the light at the end of the long and dark tunnel she has been in all this time. She bid her farewell to Yuuko, promising to remember her, and one day, she will be able to have the courage to smile while looking back at the good times they shared together. Going to the roof-top and facing her trauma will not erase her pain, but it is an important step forward, and she did it.
And now she must face the biggest and most problematic obstacle of all, her mother. I saw that slap coming long before they stepped into the door, and I thought maybe someone would intervene to stop that very-obvious slap from coming, but amazingly nobody blocked the strike. I suppose it was because everything happened so far, and while Yoshida has heard about how toxic and abusive her mother has been to her, I don’t think he necessarily expected to her to be slapped the moment they faced each other. Either way, you can see how absolutely furious he is about it, because frankly that was more like a punch than a slap with the way she sent Sayu flying.
Which leads us into Episode 12, the confrontation with Sayu’s mother.
Man… This woman is something else. She the very definition of a Toxic Parent. Even after Sayu explained the reason why she ran away was to get away from her mother, it went through one ear and out the other. It didn’t matter what Sayu had to say, because her mother had no intention of trying to understand, let alone even listen to her. Everything that came out of her mouth just toxic, and my blood was boiling within seconds the episode started.
For that reason, I admire how Yoshida was able to hold himself together. He was furious inside, but managed to keep a calm composure from start to finish, which was one of the best thing he could do.
So when Yoshida started with saying if her mother really doesn’t care for Sayu, he would like to take her in and raise her up until she an adult, I screamed– which is an understatement because all I could think of is, “YES! GET HER OUT OF THERE!” But that cheer was gone in a blink of an eye then he reels us back into reality when he explains that as much as he wants to, he can’t do that, because that’s not how it works. And unfortunately, that’s just how it is. Instead he got on his knees, and implored her mother to please, get her shit together and stop treating her daughter like a punching bag. Thankfully Issa followed his motion, which helped put his mother in a very awkward position, to the point she actually lost her mind again. This woman needs to see a psychological therapist and fast.
That’s why I can’t help but feel uneasy about Sayu having to live at home till graduation. Like Issa says he support her and act as their mediator, but will he be around enough to ensure that their mother will stick true to her word of leaving Sayu alone? Not to mention, this broken relationship is not something that will be resolved just with Sayu making the efforts to meet her half-way. The root of the problem is lies in the fact their mother loathes her existence so much, that she has no intention to form a relationship, let alone care for her child. She refuses to listen and even try to understand the kind of pain Sayu is in, let alone apologize for the shit said to her– even after being reminded what she said after saying she “forgot”. That’s because it’s all about her, her, her. And we saw that the moment she stepped into the door because the first thing she she blamed Sayu for the weird rumors going around. This blame fit continued when they were seated at the table, all the way to the point she shamelessly said in front of everyone that she shouldn’t have given birth to Sayu. WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. I already knew she felt that way, but to say it to Sayu’s face, that’s beyond disgusting and cruel. My blood was boiling. And much to Yoshida’s credit, he stopped himself from throwing the drink at her. And that was a wise decision, as not only did it give him more credibility to allow some form of dialogue to continue between him and her mother, but also safely avoided the crisis of adding more fuel to the fire.
It wasn’t until after he and Sayu were able to sit outside for a much needed breather that we truly got to see how painful the experience was for him. But what hurt Yoshida the most was how he naively thought he understood the kind of pain and suffering Sayu faced with her mother, only to realize it was even worse than he could have ever imagined. He was so upset, he said Sayu should’ve spoke up too, but it was because he beat her to the punch, that she didn’t have to.
And while we may not necessarily agree with Yoshida going as far to get onto his knees before her mother (who has been stubbornly unreasonable and uncooperative by refusing to listen to anyone from the start), his earnest feelings and convictions did have an impact on everyone. For Sayu, she felt like she had been forgiven for all of her mistakes, because it was thanks to running away that she was able to meet Yoshida, who helped her learn how to stand tall and face her mother again. Issa found the courage to follow suit, and later expressed he felt ashamed of himself that he never went that far himself, and couldn’t and wouldn’t have done it on his own. And while I am glad that Issa cares for his sister, it is frustrating that he hasn’t done more to support her. Again, that was where he has fallen short and failed to support Sayu. It’s easy to say words and provide cash, but the courage to face their mother is something else altogether, but was something that was long overdue.
And supposedly, Yoshida’s actions managed to get through to their mother, but I’m not holding my breath for it. At best she’ll just ignore Sayu altogether and leave her be, which would probably be for the best given the conditions that have been agreed upon.
Regardless, no matter what anyone says, this episode proved the one and true family Sayu has is Yoshida. He provided a safe haven she soon came to call home, he guided her as a Guardian she never had, and was the only one who had the resolve to earnestly stand up and care for her when she needed it most. That’s why it was such a profound and Humane moment when Yoshida broke down into tears. He couldn’t hold it in anymore. Nobody else cried for her, just him alone. But for Sayu, him alone is enough. That is why is able she says even without him, she can stand on her own.
Amazingly, after all of that, Yoshida still goes in and apologizes to her mother for what he had said, assuring her that inappropriate had happened between them, and the reason why he took her in was simply because he met her on that day, in that moment. And that’s all there is to it.
And with that, we have one episode left! See you next week!