「相克の使命」 (Futatsu no Shimei)
No harem – or reverse harem in this case, I guess – is ever complete without a yandere! The one to join Tamaki’s list of possible suitors is quite the pretty one, much like the rest of his fellow comrades. He does possess an unpredictable and possibly violent aura though, which would make him a classic yandere: proclaiming their love whilst holding a chainsaw behind their backs. While certifiably crazy, the stereotype does tend to make a rather… vibrant addition to any medium their injected in, so I’m intrigued in seeing how the newcomer will spice up Tamaki’s life.
Her life really began to shift gears this episode however, with the revelation she hasn’t fully “awoken” as the Tamayori Princess and Aria’s crew seemingly getting serious, her life can’t be rainbows and flowers forever (the occasional demons aside, of course); thankfully Tamaki favors training to make herself stronger and trying her best instead of wallowing in self-pity. It’s a good trait to have and although I’m not sure how this will help, the progressive nature of her personality effectively endears her more to me as a character. It’s optimism that doesn’t stray into “sickeningly naive” territory and the sign of a will that doesn’t snap like a twig. From what Hiiro no Kakera has shown me so far, Tamaki is a dynamic heroine that may seem reckless at times, but possesses a desire to act rather than be sequestered behind her harem all the time. She does know when to stand back though, so she saves herself from becoming the thoughtless heroine that puts people around her in danger all the time because of her tendency to jump headfirst into the fray.
It’s Tamaki’s interactions with the guys that really sealed the deal for me in terms of her as a character, however. Due to the nature of otome games it’s difficult at times to create a colorful heroine that will retain their colors all throughout the game – with Hiiro no Kakera it’s doubly difficult since it’s a fantasy genre and already at the outset, it’s labeled its heroine as a “princess”, as someone who needs to be protected. In a game it’s easier to overlook the flaws, but in an anime, where the character is given spoken lines and is required to interact on screen with her male leads? Not so easy. Tamaki is vibrant but not overly so, and so far, she has been shown to actually speak her mind and communicate with her guardians whenever the need arises. In turn her guardians don’t treat her like a porcelain doll and they, too, involve her in serious matters and treat her like an equal. They acknowledge her desire to grow, and it’s that sort of equality I’m really growing to appreciate. Takuma tells her once to “depend on [them]” and another time that “he’ll help her as often as needed”, which made me giddy not only because it’s a huge leap forward in the romantic department, it’s acknowledgement they – he, Tamaki, and the rest of the guardians – are all in this together, as comrades and friends. Takuma is not giving Tamaki free reign to be a damsel and let him do everything for her; rather he’s offering his assistance. It’s a subtle, yet definite difference that not only makes the show much more entertaining to watch, but makes the whole romantic aspect of it more sensible and easy to understand. It’s a two-way street.
Takuma sure was speeding up that romantic train though, and I don’t know if it’s an accident that all the telling, important lines came from him – it could be a coincidence, but I won’t deny the shipper in me went into over-analyze mode. The show seems to be trying to shed some of the rosy light on Mahiro too though, which I’m not at all opposed to. He’s probably the second most featured guy after Takuma so it’s not insensible on the producers’ part to focus the romantic aspect on those two instead of trying to converge everyone’s routes together. Now that’s a mix and match I do not ever want to see.