Futaba keeps going on and on about how Kou has changed, but I’m like, “Hey, I like his new personality!” Okay, maybe I wouldn’t have come right out and call Futaba’s relationship with her friends cheap and fake, but honestly, is is cheap and fake. I mean, just take a look at the situation. She’s pretending to be someone’s she’s not just so she can have friends. She’s purposefully alienating herself from guys just so that her classmates wouldn’t get jealous of her. And sure, most of us have a private persona and a public persona. Most of us act somewhat differently when we’re with friends as opposed to our family or loved ones. But Futaba goes to the extremes: “I just try to overeat to try to reduce my feminine appeal…” Are having friends that important to her? Yeah, probably.
Nah, I get it. I’m in my mid-twenties, I’ve settled into my life, I know what I want to be, I know who’s important to me, blah blah blah. So of course, putting myself in Futaba’s shoes, I wouldn’t give a fuck if some girls hate me simply ’cause I’m too feminine or that I get all the attention from the boys in class. For an unsure freshman girl in her first year of high school — and she’s probably been told before that it’s weird how she doesn’t have any friends — it’s not quite so easy. As a result, I understand why she has to pretend to be someone she’s not. Like she says, she needs it. I don’t personally agree that she does need it, but that won’t change how she feels. Y’know, peer pressure and all that jazz. Plus, it doesn’t look like she has the proper support system at the moment to deal with being the odd one out. Still, I can’t disagree with Kou: her relationships are cheap.
Hitting the reset button. Changing oneself completely to become more popular. Making sure you have a shining high school life. These are such common themes in shoujo romances. Not only that, the female classmates in these stories are almost always portrayed in such a petty light. Futaba says she doesn’t want to feel as though she’s alone anymore, but do you really want to be friends with people who will shit-talk a girl they’ve never even talked to? Not only that, she’s been on the other end of the shit-talking. So she should know how much it sucks. Nevertheless, she’s okay with crossing over to the other side… The thing is, you can see where Kou is coming from. As creepy as it might sound, he’s been observing her for the first two terms of their freshman year. He may not know she’s just pretending to be someone she’s not because she’s afraid of being alone, but he can probably still tell that there’s something not quite right about what he sees.
Yeah, they’ve both changed, but if I have to make a guess right now with the information we’ve been given, Kou’s personality shift is likely a result of his parents’s divorce. I’m just not surprised he’s become more acerbic and cynical. As for Futaba, there’s nothing wrong with a girl choosing to be less feminine, but if it comes out Futaba has only changed so that she could befriend people who wouldn’t have given her the time of day before, well, she won’t come off in a very good light. She may not be talking shit about Yuri, the pretty girl in her class, but her friends are. And people have ears, y’know. If Kou has really been observing Futaba this entire time, I doubt he’ll not have noticed the shit her friends have been spewing. So from his perspective, it’s like, “Why are you even friends with these people? That’s your biggest change right there.”
And I find it funny when Futaba remarks to herself, “He helps me, then treats me cruelly. I don’t understand him.” What’s there to understand? If you see an innocent person being accused of theft, wouldn’t you step in and help them out? If you see that justice has not been done — because the old lady seems to think she’s too good to apologize to Futaba even though the girl has been exonerated — wouldn’t you say something to rectify the situation? Basically, Kou is the blunt sort of person who calls it like he sees it. Maybe he does this too much. Maybe he can be asshole at times — like when he insulted Futaba’s relationships with her friends right to her face — but nevertheless, he doesn’t shy away from saying or doing what he thinks is right. The old lady had wronged Futaba, so Kou stepped in. Kou thinks Futaba’s friendships are shallow, so he makes his feelings be known. I’m not saying it’s right to always speak your mind, but I can at least respect his straightforwardness.
On the other hand, I’m not sure I can think very highly of Futaba. After all, we’ve been over how she’s willing to put on a front just so that she could befriend people who are, well, just not very nice. What’s even worse, however, is her blatant inaction, especially when you compare her to Kou. When her friends were trashing Yuri, the pretty girl, did Futaba tell them to stop? Nah. She merely thinks to herself how she’s totally not like Yuri anymore, and thank god for that! And back to the “He helps me, then treats me cruelly” thing. What does that even mean? Should we only help each other if we want to be nice? The way I see it, even though Kou doesn’t very much approve of what Futaba has become, he still has a strong enough moral compass to step in and do the right thing. I understand the need to put on a public face in order to make some friends. I agree that it sucks to be by yourself, especially in your most formative years. But where do you draw the line? When your friends are trashing a poor girl for no good reason, why can’t you do the right thing?
Anyway, interesting start to the anime. I might blog it for the rest of the season just to follow Futaba’s character development. Honesty, I don’t really care too much about Kou’s character, ’cause you know how it is. Oh, is this a shoujo romance? Oh, is the love interest a jerk? Wow, that’s new. Of course, the show may add interesting nuances to his character in the weeks to come. Maybe the reason why his personality has changed completely will be powerful, deep, or whatever. But as always, I’ll worry about it when I get there. For the moment, I’m fascinated with Futaba’s current situation. I want to know where her character goes from here. I want to see her (hopefully) do the right thing.