This week, we take a break from the kids. Yay!
— The spotlight turns its attention to Mayuko, a.k.a. Tohru’s homeroom teacher. Apparently, she has always had a thing for Hatori, but of course, she couldn’t act on her feelings. She couldn’t possibly steal her best friend’s man. But that was over two years ago! That’s practically ancient history! Kana is married to a different man, and she doesn’t even remember her relationship with Hatori!
— I dunno, I just find it weird that so many people related to Tohru are ending up with the Sohmas. Her best friend is in love with a Sohma, and now her teacher. And we all know she’s gonna end up with one by the end of the story. Who else wants to hop on the Sohma train? C’mon, any other takers?
— I love how when Mayuko first met Hatori, she had such a… miserable-looking expression on her face. Was that how she really looked at the time? Are her memories accurate?
— Hatori’s morose expression at the time is equally hilarious. What is wrong with you two?
— Anyways, she fell instantly in love with the guy. All of it. She wanted all of it. The whole kit ‘n caboodle. Still does, in fact. Even after all these damn years. But naturally, she never acted on her feelings. And for some reason, Shigure asked her out. Everything he does comes across as sleazy even though he’s probably really not a bad guy deep down. After all, his relationship with Mayuko was bone dry. What did they even do together? Just read?
— She would try and mimic romantic gestures with Shigure, but if you’re not with the right person, it just doesn’t feel right.
— Anyways, we already know Kana’s story. She pretty much had a psychotic breakdown because she couldn’t protect Hatori from Akito. I guess I’m a selfish person deep down, because I would never blame myself if I were in her shoes. I would only blame Akito. Who hurt him? Akito. Who injured his eye? Akito. Who is crazy enough to flip out because Hatori wants to marry someone outside of the family? Akito. So yeah, if I were in Kana’s shoes, why on earth would I ever blame myself? Instead, I’d tell him to run the fuck away. But she didn’t. And he eventually had to erase her memories. I guess her lack of mental fortitude shows that they weren’t meant to be? Eh… I dunno. The whole situation is kinda ridiculous.
— Eventually, Kana moved on because she kinda had to. I mean, her relationship with Hatori was literally erased from her mind. But Mayuko never did. She could’ve pursued Hatori, but it seemed like she felt too guilty to do so. She couldn’t possibly imagine taking her best friend’s former man. I’d be more worried about the crazy ass Sohma family, but that’s just me…
— Back in the present, Shigure is back to his scheming ways. Even though he ultimately wants what’s best for everyone, it’s not very nice to mislead people. Nevertheless, he ordered a book just to arrange a meeting between Hatori and Mayuko. But more importantly, he lies to her about Hatori’s current relationship status. For some reason, he tells her that Hatori is dating Satsuki. I guess this is the only way to shock Mayuko out of her doldrums. If everyone’s moved on, then she needs to as well.
— Mayuko says she hasn’t bothered to date in the past two plus years because it would just make her feel lonelier. Well, I agree, and at the same time, I don’t. If you date the wrong person, you’ll feel lonelier. But it’s not easy to find the right person. Since this is pure fiction, Hatori is right there for the taking. All Mayuko needs to do is to summon up the courage and go for him. But reality isn’t so simple. And hell, this applies to everything in life. You can try to make friends, but if you don’t make the right friends, you end up feeling lonely anyway… except you’ve now expended all that effort for nothing. It just makes you not even want to bother.
— Anyways, Hatori eventually drops by the bookstore, so Mayuko gets to see him for the first time in years. I don’t really know how love can persist like that, but meh… it’s all fantasy.
— When he returns to the Sohma estate, he gets an earful from this old lady for even daring to leave Akito’s side. I don’t even remember who she is. All I know is that she’s like a cult follower with her slavish attitude towards Akito.
— The next day, Mayuko’s mother suggests that maybe she should just marry Shigure. Man, that’s sad on two levels. First, she must not know her daughter that well, because Mayuko barely dated Shigure. They broke up a long time ago, too. Second, I guess we’ve got a Christmas cake thing going on, because her mother is afraid that Mayuko’ll end up alone. But that’s just the way it is in some people’s minds. They honestly believe that it’s better to be with someone you barely know — someone whom you might not even be compatible with — than to be unmarried. They think that love will just come one day, and even if it doesn’t, you can pump out kids and love them instead.
— When Hatori shows up again for the book, Mayuko can’t bear to talk to him in front of her mother, so she drags him out to a nearby bridge. They make some small talk at first — and Hatori even does his best attempt at a joke — but Mayuko can’t help but bring up the fact that Hatori still seems so unhappy. If he has moved on and gotten himself a girlfriend (which he hasn’t), then why does he still look so sad (well, we know why).
— In response, the guy just nonchalantly states that happiness isn’t for him. Bruh.
— Welp, outta nowhere, Mayuko starts loudly bawling. In public. In front of everyone. Like with most scenarios that play out in Fruits Basket, I kinda get it and I don’t? I would never get this emotional with someone I haven’t seen for two years. But at the same time, I’m not Mayuko. If I have been suppressing my true feelings for the past two years… and if I am still holding a torch for someone whom I was never in a relationship with… then I guess I might react the same way?
— In any case, Hatori is touched that Mayuko would care so much about him. And seeing someone like her — someone who is normally so reserved — suddenly start crying, it makes him feel as though he should be able to be honest with his own feelings as well. ‘Cause hey, sometimes the good doctor needs to cry and cry freely like that boy at the Sohma estate.
— He also clarifies to Mayuko that he doesn’t have a girlfriend. And with that out of the way, he goes and invites her out to lunch. So… that’s nice, I guess. They can both move forward and move forward together. In fact, Mayuko goes and spoils the rest of their story for us by revealing that the two of them will end up becoming a couple one day. Just not now, though. Not while Akito is still batshit insane.
— I personally think short hair on girls can be very cute, but you can’t really tell with Mayuko because she’s facing away from us. The front might be tragic for all I know.
— It’s kinda funny how these women keep ending up with these abused and battered Sohma men. Hatori doesn’t think he deserves to be happy. Kureno thinks it’s completely normal to never step outside and see the world. And, well, we already know Yuki and Kyo’s sob stories.
— I dunno, I just feel kinda weird about the whole thing. Basically, Hatori met Kana at wrong time. Or maybe they should’ve kept their relationship a secret for a little longer (like Ayame and that seamstress he works with). If either of those things had happened, then there’d be no happy ending for Mayuko.