This episode by far had to be my absolute favorite episode in the series and arguably the best in general with just how it told Honoka’s story and her eventual development. Out of everyone in the group, Honoka was probably the most distant. Which set her up to having the biggest turn around since this series’ main theme is bonds.
The group ends up going to Ruru’s parents’ home to find out more information about her and Honoka’s relationship. And not gonna lie, the fact that their house is just layered with Ruru pictures is a tad unnerving. Not to mention it feels a little unhealthy with how much they seem to be over compensating for the fact that she’s gone. I understand that having lost their only child at such a young age is painfully tragic, but I feel like this level is just hurting them more. Especially with how the mom seems to blame Ruru’s passing on Honoka. And considering what we learn later on in the episode, it feels incredibly unfair to Honoka to be blamed for something like that. Especially since she’s just a kid. And they don’t even know what Honoka even felt about the whole thing which Nico calls out. Since it did feel like the mother just wanted someone to blame for this event to cope (which it very unhealthy).
On one hand, I feel like it had to be said that it wasn’t Honoka’s fault that Ruru passed away, but then on the other hand, I don’t think it was wise of Nico to argue, especially when the parents are still mourning their deceased daughter. And I’m glad that Katsuhira brought it up that while she wasn’t right to bring that up, it also wasn’t wrong since she was wanting to take Honoka’s feelings into consideration. Good intentions but wrong timing. I appreciate that Katsuhira is starting to be more thoughtful in how he feels and is speaking up about them, actually conveying his own personal thoughts and feelings, showing a bit more of his character growth.
We finally get to learn the extent of Honoka and Ruru’s relationship and how it seemed that they were both each others’ first friends. Which is honestly really sad in hindsight at how old they were. It was honestly really cute how Honoka was the one who could write interesting stories while Ruru was the one with the artistic talent. They were able to cover for each other’s weaknesses and were able to make their manga a success because of it. And seeing Honoka so happy in her friendship just hit me in the feels looking at her currently. It’s honestly sad how things ended up between them. Though I will admit, I really don’t like how forceful Ruru comes across and how she will use her sickness to get a reaction from Honoka. Especially since it made Honoka really uncomfortable. Not only that, Ruru really didn’t take Honoka’s feelings into consideration and only thought of herself. Which could contribute to her having an incurable disease, but it still doesn’t make it right. While I do think it was wrong of Honoka’s to just up and leave Ruru to finish the last chapter on her own, I can understand why she did it. It’s hard to be around someone you know is dying. And in Honoka’s case, after that near kiss they shared, she got scared. Especially since if she let her feelings flourish, she would only end up getting hurt even more from losing her.
I think it’s also interesting to note how uncomfortable “perverted” things makes Honoka. It could even be seen back in episode 3 where Hisomu… “came”, she immediately put her hands up so she wouldn’t have to look at it. And when Ruru brought up how those kinds of scenes would make the manga more exciting, Honoka didn’t want to draw those type of things. I’m not sure if it’s that important, but considering it’s been brought up a couple times, I’d like to think that they were trying to make a point with it.
While I don’t believe that Ruru actually told her she would”curse” her when Honoka left since Honoka can be an unreliable narrator, the fact that was probably the last conversation they had before Ruru passed away must have been painful. Especially since they never reconciled once they broke things off. And while Honoka did it to protect herself, it ironically left her with a mountain of regrets and guilt. After such a tragic ending to a friendship, it’s honestly no wonder why Honoka is so against the idea of making new friends since she doesn’t want to go through that pain ever again. Despite that however, she still suffers from a deep loneliness. It’s like there are two sides that are always at war inside her. She believes it’s best if she’s alone, but another part of her longs to have a connection with others.
I totally forgot that Sonozaki was actually the one to support the production of the movie for Honoka and Ruru’s manga. Which honestly makes sense in hindsight since the plan was to use Honoka for the mission. Though it seems as if Katsuhira’s words made an impression on her as she pulled out from the movie deal while telling the editor that a person’s feelings can’t be changed so easily. Basically just using the same exact words he said to her. And then we get a confirmation (which I guess wasn’t THAT surprising) about her and Katsuhira having known each other since they were kids when it pans over to a group photo of them and bunch of other kids. But more on that in a later post.
This episode absolutely cemented Yuta as my favorite character in this series. His development comes across as much more subtle rather than in your face, which I found pretty intriguing. He started out as this wannabe playboy who seemed to hang around girls just for the attention but only had surface level relationships. However, after he noticed that there was something off about Honoka and then learning more about the pain she’s been holding, he started becoming much more thoughtful towards her. He stopped flirting with her and tried to genuinely get to know her. And when there was only so much she would talk about, he resorted to reading the manga she and Ruru wrote to try and figure out more of her feelings through it, even if it wasn’t his type of story. And I love how serious he took to reading it because he wants to understand her.
I think it was integral for him to wait for Honoka to come out on her own and be the one to approach him rather than him going up to her. He understood that she needed some time and space to herself and when she was ready, she’d come up to him. And I do find it interesting that she did choose to walk over to him when she could have just as easily ignored him and kept walking. Yuta also knew exactly when to be gentle and when to be firm as he stood his ground when Honoka fought back when he told her to read the last chapter. It’s as if he learned that her bark is worse than her bite and if you don’t back down from her words, she would comply albeit reluctantly. He even was able to get her to open up to him about her feelings on Ruru by being patient and willing to listen and Honoka responded to him in kind.
I also want to bring to attention that whenever the two are conversing one on one, there is always SOMETHING in frame that is vertically placed between them to represent separation. And during the earlier scenes with them, Yuta is always shown to be the closest to the dividing line while Honoka is the furthest away from it. He obviously wants to be closer to her, but he was being much too pushy about it in the beginning and Honoka literally wanted nothing to do with him and had her guard up. Even in this episode, Yuta is boxed off from that little overhang thing while waiting for Honoka. However, unlike the other times, this time Honoka came over to the dividing line first. And I love how when Yuta comes over, he doesn’t actually pass the dividing line between them and only reaches over to pass the manga over to her. The symbolism of their relationship through out this series is just fantastic.
Yuta’s sin has always been gluttony. Not just because he was previously fat as a kid, but because he’s always been trying to alleviate his loneliness with instant gratification through surface level relationships with girls. However, in this instance, he showed patience by devoting time and effort to get to understand Honoka and put her feelings in front of his own. And when Honoka demanded they go swim, without hesitation, he ran out in all of his girly run glory and threw aside his cool guy image to try and bring a smile to Honoka’s face. Who knew such a hilarious run could be so meaningful lololol. That scene never fails to make me cackle XD. And when he senses Honoka’s feelings, he immediately hurries back to her to check if she’s alright. While Yuta’s character arc was closely tied to Honoka’s, his development is still a beautiful one and I absolutely love him so much for it.
After witnessing just how much the group genuinely cares about her, Honoka finally lets down her guard. It was such a sweet moment where the feeling she emitted wasn’t of pain but most likely of gratitude as her was moved by this silly band of misfits. And while she claims she doesn’t accept them as friends, she accepts the fact that they are Kiznaivers who share their pain and emotions. To which, coming from Honoka, is a pretty big step as she didn’t want to be involved with them at all initially. But now she’s finally opening up to them and allowing them into her life. Something she had been afraid of for so long and I love the symbolism of her putting down her umbrella and letting the rain hit her. It’s as if she had finally been set free from all the guilt and pain she had bottled up for so long and is ready to move forward. Finally accepting her feelings for Ruru and coming to terms that Ruru never meant to chain her down. She’s come a long way and I love that it was through the help of the others that she was able to get to this point. Which correlates to her sin, Pride. As it not only because of her haughty personality, but mainly her reluctance to accept help and belief she could handle this by herself.
I absolutely loved this episode with all of the symbolism and developments of certain characters. For the past couple episodes, it’s shown Honoka constantly sitting in the shadows as if hiding from the light. Just constantly trying to guard herself from everything around her until she finally allowed herself to let go. This was also just a great instance of the chaotic group coming together for a common goal to help Honoka without any missions to muddy their intent. Though I couldn’t help but laugh at how they were just yelling at Honoka from outside her apartment to come out and play with them while she immediately hung up whenever they tried calling her.
Nico and especially Yuta shined this episode with their efforts to reach out to Honoka and I came to really appreciate and love their characters. I’ve already gone on length about Yuta so I’ll give a few thoughts on Nico. Out of everyone in the group, Honoka probably treated Nico the worst. But despite that, Nico defended her against Ruru’s mom and was always the one to try and genuinely befriend her. Because she hasn’t had friends before, Nico probably came on a bit too strong, but she never gave up on Honoka despite being rejected again and again. And it felt so fitting for Nico to be the one to hug Honoka out of pure happiness after finally being accepted.
A fantastic wrap up to a great character arc~