「この気持ちは誰のもの」 (Kono Kimochi wa Dare no Mono)
“These Feelings Belong To Someone”
Is it better to forget painful feelings or to treasure them?
While Nagiasu seems to favor the latter argument, I think there is at least some merit to thinking outside the box in this case. I’m not saying that it’s not important to treasure one’s feelings (especially not in your youth; nostalgia does a lot to make one miss the old days no matter what they were like), but rather that calling Kaname and Chisaki selfish for thinking Manaka fine without her ability to love is almost like the pot calling the kettle black. It’s obviously not safe to claim that having Manaka forget her feelings is “for the best” or her well being, but it’s equally selfish for others, like Hikari, to desperately want her to be able to love. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that Hikari cares very much for Manaka no matter what she chooses to do with her feelings, but there’s definitely a little self-interest in his motivation for getting those feelings back. Whether or not he admits it to himself, the fact stands that Hikari stands a lot better of a chance getting Manaka to look his way when she’s actually capable of the act of love, and if not to that extent, it would at least give him peace of mind to find out where her feelings lie once and for all.
This being the case, I don’t think there’s really as clear cut a solution for Manaka’s well being as the series is trying to paint. I do think that the ability to love is important, but is Manaka only unable to love romantically, or in every way? If it’s only the former, I can’t help but pessimistically feel that Chisaki and Kaname’s point has some validity; we tend to overvalue love as an incredibly important part of our societies, but romantic love is not all there is, nor necessarily the most fulfilling in every case. Some people thrive in other kinds of attachments, such as familial or friendship, and the fact that some of us live vast parts of our lives without romantic partners shows that it’s not quite as critical as it would seem. In fact, I find it a lot more disturbing if Manaka has lost all forms of attachment to anyone, romantic and all else, than if only romantic. I think at this point it could be argued either way (she seems to really enjoy Akira’s company, but there was that moment of empty eyed creepiness last episode as well…), and it seems to be a moot point, though certainly fascinating to dwell on.
On another topic, it’s great to see some of the relationships start moving forward, particularly Tsumugu and Chisaki’s. It’s possible something could go wrong in the last three episodes, but I’m going to guess that if any ship moves forward, it’s likely to be this one; age difference or no, Tsumugu and Chisaki have grown too close and synchronized to deny there’s something special there, and we’ll see how Chisaki reacts to Tsumugu’s accidental confession soon. I’m also happy to note that as a result of this relationship drama, we get some questions answered about Miuna’s Ena. It would seems she’s not as special as I’d thought, and that while Manaka’s Ena seems to have given itself to her, it wasn’t necessarily because she was a singular “chosen one.” Instead, it seems like the feelings imbued in Manaka’s Ena are saving those she held dear before losing those feelings, and that as a result, she’s acting as something like a catalyst to moving these stagnated relationships forward.