「オレへの手紙」 (Ore no Tegami)

“Letter to Me”

In every sense of the term, I think it’s better this way.

It’s funny how even when he’s the center of attention, Suna is neverreallythe center of attention. This is his moment – after twenty episodes of buildup, the long-awaited exploration of what’s in Suna’s heart. But the first episode of this two-parter explored the question mostly through Takeo as the point-of-view character, and this one mostly through Yukika. Not only is Suna forever on the periphery of Takeo’s story, he’s forever on the periphery of his own.

The amazing thing is that despite all that, he still manages to be easily the most interesting character in Ore Monogatari!!. It’s the allure of the mystery I suppose – that which we don’t know is inherently more interesting than that which we do. There’s also another fact of life in play here that I suspect the mangaka is fully aware of – people in love generally find both the notion of being in love and each other fascinating, but to everyone else that’s not the case. If you like them it can be cute and amusing (as is the case here), and if not, it’s insufferable. And cute and amusing isn’t quite enough to carry a long-running series – something else was needed to bring a lot more intrigue to the party.

All of that ties into the fact that the episodes which focus on the fringes of the main story are generally the best, and that the bittersweet moments have more emotional weight than the sweet ones. This was a pretty thoughtful and nuanced episode all the way around, and it inspired some conflicting reactions in me. All in all I was happy that Kawahara-sensei chose to end it the way she did, because if Suna and Yukika had ended up together it would have felt like a betrayal of the message this series seems to have been trying to convey for 22 episodes.

DoI like Yukika? Again, it’s complicated, and I’m conflicted. I think one would have to be a pretty cold person not to feel some empathy for her – she’s desperately in love with someone and completely lacks the self-belief to pursue it, and that fact has effectively ruled her entire life since she was six years old. But unrequited love and self-doubt are things almost everyone has felt, and most of us don’t become stalkers in response. At some point we need to take responsibility for our lives, and if we choose not to act on our true feelings we need to be prepared to live with the emotional consequences.

Still, I do think Yukika is basically harmless and ultimately a kind person. The bigger problem for me is this – Suna is under no obligation to feel for her what she does for him. Everyone means well – Yukika of course has every reason to finally come clean, and Takeo and Rinko are trying to give Suna something they think he needs. But in the end it’s none of their business, and it feels to me as if the whole thing is kind of unfair to him – he’s being pressured here whether that’s the intent or not. And Suna is simply too kind to come right out and say that, whether he feels it or not.

Again, I think it’s better this way – both as a drama, and for the characters themselves. Yukika certainly shouldn’t end up feeling worse because she’s unburdened herself and I’m glad she got some closure, but it’s clear that while Suna was genuinely grateful that she cared so deeply for him for so long, he simply didn’t feel anything for her romantically. Maybe she got a friend out of it in Rinko, but at the very least she no longer has to go through her life wondering what might have been if she’d spoken up – her “PRIME TIME” doesn’t have to have been left behind in first grade. And Suna doesn’t have to wonder who it was that kept giving him chocolate in silence for all those years.

As to just whatisgoing on in Suna’s heart, that remains largely a mystery – and again, I think it’s better that way. That has to be the reveal that comes at the very end of Ore Monogatari, whenever that is. What I think we did learn for certain is this: not even Suna really knows the answer. Maybe he’s just one of those people fated to go through love not loving someone else romantically. Certainly, as Yukika says he loves Takeo as a friend, and that’s as genuine and deep a relationship as most people will ever be lucky enough to have. But whatever that thing that has to happen to make us fall in love is, it hasn’t happened for Suna yet. Maybe it will, maybe not – and if it doesn’t it doesn’t mean he has to be miserable or incomplete, and indeed he’s anything but. And that (among other things) makes him the most compelling person in this series, and one of the most compelling in anime this year.



  1. This was a very clever episode, because as focused as it was on Suna, we still don’t learn anything new about him. I prefer him to be single throughout this series, not in a bad way, but as Enzo said, that is part of what makes him compelling. Also, not everyone’s ‘happy ending’ ends in a relationship. Being single is good and being in a relationship is also good as long as you’re happy, neither status is better than the other, which I learned from a Christian talk.

  2. It’s a tad strange that none of the other characters acknowledge the possibility that Suna doesn’t want to be in a romantic relationship, at least for now, even after he’s strongly hinted as much several times, including at the end of this episode. I guess a blunt discussion of asexuality/aromanticism would be too much to expect from a romantic comedy manga, but you’d think it might occur to them that some people don’t experience romantic feelings, or feel no need for a romantic partner right now (especially when “right now” is age 15-16).

    That said, I didn’t sense any pressure from Takeo and Yamato on Suna – they were pressuring Yukika to be forthright with him and get it all out, which she clearly needed to do for her own well-being. Kudos to this episode for letting me sympathize with someone who started out as a comedic character. She clearly has a kind heart, and she handled rejection very graciously. (Interesting stylistic choice to mute out the actual rejection.)

    Whether or not he has additional reasons for not dating, I think Suna was being completely honest when he said the thought of dating makes him tired, back in episode 2. It’s pretty telling that while he has the social intelligence to make dozens of friends if he chose to, after all these years his only friend is the guy he was pushed into spending time with, as a kid, because they were next-door neighbors and their mothers were friends. Even there, it’s Takeo who takes the initiative to spend time with Suna, and when Suna is with Takeo and Yamato, the difference in their energy levels shows.

    By the way, the Crunchyroll subtitles missed Takeo’s first line to Yukika when they talked on the stairs. Does anyone know what he said?

    1. I agree. Rinko and Takeo weren’t directly pressuring Suna, if anything it was Yukika they were pressuring to take the leap and come out of her shell.

      While true that they’d like to see their friends paired off and be as lovey dovey as they are, they never really push Suna that far aside from off hand jabs at how they hope Suna finds someone.

      Suna is nice, but I don’t think he’d be a pushover to do things he doesn’t want to. The fact he’s rejected X number of women should already make that clear. Even if he does tend to give in to Takeo, I’d like to think that their bond is strong enough that if Suna really didn’t want to go through with it, he would’ve been honest about it with Takeo when it was brought up last episode.

      As for Suna not being interested in anyone, I’d like to think Takeo at least is slowly getting the hint.

      I’m actually more surprised at all the hate Yukika’s been getting. I wonder if it’s the stigma attached with the stalker tag, or if very few people can relate/empathize with someone being both madly in love and burdened with crippling fear and insecurity/lack of confidence. The comments on various discussions I’ve come across seem to suggest that Yukika is a lesser person just because she has crippling shyness/extremely introverted. People are accepting of Suna’s asexual nature but are perfectly fine with viewing Yukika as “not good enough” or “damaged goods” because of her flaws.

  3. This series is really at its best when things are a little bit bittersweet. Based on these mini-arcs, first with Ai, then with Saijou, Nanako+Afro, and now Yukika, and everything in-between, I feel like Ore Monogatari is really about different aspects of relationships (“it’s complicated”). In a way, although Takeo might have gotten the sweetest deal in the form of his relationship with Yamato, he’s gradually learning and maturing from watching the various struggles of love around him.

    As for Suna, I am also glad he remained single. Heck, all shoujo mangas should have a single character not worried about pairing-up, just to show that there are many other things in life aside from romance.

  4. As someone who relates to Suna in many ways, and finds the whole dating / romantic entanglement such a hassle*, I’m glad this Yukika arc is (hopefully) done with. If/when Suna finds his soulmate, it definitely won’t be Yukika, who I found too weak, to the point of pathetic and annoying (the stalking, the idolising urgh!). She’s a good person (and likes reading), but not interesting overall at all. Thankfully she got her closure, and hopefully will be more assertive, confident and, well, find more productive things to do with her time than stalking.

    (*) Yes, I’ve been surprised at myself for continuing to watch and like this show. Despite being a shoujo, it’s sweet but never saccharine. And the main trio is great.

  5. Glad this story revolving around Yukika is over. I like all the charcaters in Ore Monogatari but her, I couldn’t like even though I tried. Whenever she runs away or becomes shy it just pissed me off. Suna needs a girl who is more strong and head on.

  6. Ah what was your answer Suna! I don’t know and I am interested but not interested at the same time. I agree with most of the points you added Enzo!

    Now leaving that aside, ‘Suna, do you like me?” when Takeo said that I think I laughed more than I should XD I loved Suna’s reaction. So many emotions in this episode. I can relate to Suna in terms of body language and people finding it hard to understand what I am thinking since it confuses them so much, so I truly think I am learning few things from this anime and I like it.

    Thank you for your post as always!

  7. But whatever that thing that has to happen to make us fall in love is, it hasn’t happened for Suna yet. Maybe it will, maybe not – and if it doesn’t it doesn’t mean he has to be miserable or incomplete, and indeed he’s anything but.

    First off, this was a really well-done post, Enzo. Thank you! I only wanted to say that I can relate to Suna when it comes to love. I never experienced it nor do I feel the need to search for it. That doesn’t mean I’m sad or miserable. I enjoy watching from the sidelines myself and cheer for those who do fall in love with each other.


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