Meh. At one point in this week’s episode, Touka wonders, “But why didn’t [Uka] tell me about [Inari’s] power? Didn’t she trust me?” I know, right? I mean, why wouldn’t she trust you? You’re such a nice and trustworthy guy, Touka:
Touka: “The only womanly things about you are your boobs. Should I squeeze them?”
Why, what person wouldn’t want to pour his or her heart out to you when you react to them in such a… measured way? When Touka tries to comfort Uka later in this week’s episode, he says, “Don’t lie. You can tell me everything.” Really? Can she really? Gosh, I wonder what happened the last time she tried to confide in you with a problem she was having…
Touka: “Go on and have your little arranged dates or whatever. Maybe they’ll teach a gamer nerd like you a thing or two about being a woman.”
Oh well, that’s romance for you. Touka is definitely right about one thing though: “Th-Then maybe we should, uh, think it all through together.” I mean, put side the Touka stuff for now. We can agree he’s an insensitive pig who will magically turn all bishie at the right moments to sweep Uka off of her feet. You can disregard Uka’s mother too. She only wants to marry Uka off because they shouldn’t put those first-rank powers to waste! Plus, Uka’s past her prime! And Uka’s mother desperately needs to one-up Kushinada! You get my point; her portrayal is so one-sidedly bad that there isn’t even any depth to this conflict.
Rather, what I’m disappointed in is how nobody seemingly trusts anybody. Not even the good guys of the story. Everyone’s always acting in someone else’s best interests instead of just trusting that person to do what is right for themselves. There are numerous examples of this throughout the episode.
1) Uka will fade away if Inari keeps using her divine powers, but if Uka takes her powers back, she won’t be able to interact with Inari anymore. Wow, it sounds like Uka’s truly stuck between a rock and a hard place. Gosh, like Touka said, we should team up and think of a solution to this togeth–… nope, Uka tells Touka not to worry Inari with any of this. C’mon…
2) Uka obviously doesn’t want go on those arranged dates. She doesn’t want to get married yet, but she’s unable to stand up to her overbearing mother. It’s clear that Uka has never even entertained the thought of telling her mother off. Gosh, maybe we should thus give Uka the support she needs to express her true feelings and wants to her mothe–… nope, Inari secretly transforms into Uka to take matters into her own hands.
3) Amaterasu thinks Uka is getting a little too attached to Inari. She thinks this is dangerous for both Uka and Inari. Well, I think that’s the implication from this episode’s ending anyhow. Gosh, when you put it that way… maybe we should really sit the two of them down and really let them understand the dire consequences if the situation doesn’t change. As a result, they’ll be able to make informed decisions about what to do–… nope, Amaterasu locks Uka away in the Heavenly Cave.
It’s so frustrating. It’s no different from the stupid arranged dates issue. Basically, from the parents’ point-of-view, they’re only looking out for the children’s best interests. I’m not saying that forcing your kids to marry before they’re ready is a good thing. Obviously, I think it’s horrible to do this to your own children! But parents from traditional Asian cultures do not think like this. They think they’re doing their children a favor. Yes, you can argue all you want that their actions are ultimately self-serving, and you’d be right in 99% of the cases, but at the same time, we have to acknowledge that these parents nevertheless believe that they’re doing their children a favor. So when I look at the three examples I listed above, I honestly just see the arranged dates issue play itself out over and over again but just in a different form.
Uka doesn’t want to worry Inari, so she will withhold crucial information from the child because it’ll be in Inari’s “best interests.” But is it? Inari will transform into Uka to put an end to the marriage interviews. Likewise, she’s doing this in Uka’s “best interests,” but Uka’s a grown woman. She needs to learn to stand up for herself. Finally, Amaterasu locks Uka away in both the latter’s and Inari’s best interests. But again, Uka gave her powers away willingly as a grown woman. And even if Inari’s a child, we’re not talking about a five year old here. Inari will soon become an adult herself in a few more years. Why can’t anyone just be allowed to make their own informed decisions? And if they screw up, fine. It’s their lives. Not yours or anybody else’s. Why are these characters so obsessed with running other people’s lives for them?
In the end, I can’t even be happy for Uka that she no longer has to go through with the marriage interviews, because nothing has really changed elsewhere. Everyone’s just stuck in this mindset that they need to act on another person’s best interests instead of just allowing him or her to exercise his or her own personal agency. And that’s just really sad, in my opinion. Oh yeah, here’s the kicker: the only reason Uka’s mother backed off on forcing her daughter to go through with the marriage interviews is because this is what her husband wants. It’s not what her own daughter wants. Nope. It’s what her husband wants. In the end, nothing has truly been solved. No one really learns anything.