It’s time for parent-teacher conferences, and normally, it’s fun and interesting to see what kids dream of becoming once they get older. Unfortunately, Tohru and her friends don’t seem to have much in the way of aspirations. Arisa, for example, just wants to work… which she’s already doing. Granted, working at a conbini helped her run into the man of her dreams, but c’mon, there’s more to life than that. When pressed, she casually suggests perhaps becoming a model. Needless to say, Arisa doesn’t have any real goals. Saki is even worse; it’s hard to tell if she’s taking this exercise seriously at all. I know it’s supposed to be funny, because ha ha, we’re supporting characters so it’s our job to inject levity into a show that is full of feels, uwu~! Hell, Saki’s kind of a gimmick character. But once you start comparing them to the Somas, you can’t help but be annoyed with their flippant attitude. With Kyo, for example, it’s difficult to entertain the idea of a future career when you’re constantly reminded that you’ll literally be imprisoned as soon as you graduate. All he can really think about at the moment is Tohru. Naturally, Kazuma doesn’t put any pressure on Kyo; he just wants the boy to realize that the future isn’t necessarily set in stone. But this is exactly why Arisa and Saki kinda piss me off this episode. In contrast, they actually have the freedom to dictate their own lives, and they’re completely taking it for granted.
Yuki’s situation is a whole ‘nother can of worms. His mother obviously doesn’t even want to bother with the whole thing. And unlike every other parent or guardian we see in this episode, when she does show up, she completely tries to dictate her son’s future. After all, Yuki doesn’t really mean much to her. She doesn’t see him as his own person. Obviously, this once again triggers Yuki’s feelings of inferiority. A lot of teachers could just sit back and not get involved in family affairs, but Mayuko comes to Yuki’s defense. This only incurs Yuki’s mother’s wrath, but hey, someone has to come to this kid’s defense. And this is where the ball starts rolling. I mean, it should go without saying, but kids need to be nurtured. They’re not supposed to be able to solve their problems without needing support. If they can, great! But that’s not usually how it goes. So of course, Yuki can’t speak up and confront his mother own his own. He needs support. So Mayuko is there for him, but she’s not the only one. Outta nowhere, Ayame shows up, and his ridiculousness is something that his mother can’t handle. Last but not least, Tohru has always been in Yuki’s corner. She plays the supportive mother that he’s never had. Gotta feel bad for Mayuko, though. She had to sit there and watch this family drama play out in front of her.
Finally, I guess I should say a couple things about Tohru. She decided a future for herself a long time ago: she wants to start working to become less of a burden on everyone around her. Selflessness is encoded in her DNA. Moreover, it’s doubly difficult for her to think of the future, because she’s so preoccupied with present concerns. After all, her primary goal right now is to break the Soma curse. You’re not gonna daydream about a career when you have something that large and serious looming over your head. She knows that if she doesn’t do something, everyone will be trapped with Akito. So when she sees Yuki finding the courage to face his mother, it’s as if she’s found a small glimmer of hope. If her meddling here can produce results, then maybe she actually has in breaking the curse. Unlike her friends, she is more serious about her future, and that is precisely why she just wants to work. Still, it makes me sad that she isn’t a tiny bit selfish and thus try to reach for something more. She doesn’t have to get a Ph.D or become a bigwig CEO. But c’mon, you’re still a kid, and kids should be allowed to dream. What’s the point of being a kid if you’re just trying to become a depressing adult as quick as possible? More importantly, kids are allowed to be selfish, so I just wish people like Tohru would put themselves first every now and then.
As a side note, Saki apparently thinks Kazuma is a hottie. Shrug, anime characters all look the same to me.