「X次元へようこそ」 (X Jigen he Youkoso)
“Welcome to the X-Dimension”
As a character dissection, Kuzu never fails leaving lots to discuss, and this week is no exception. For me this episode marked a sort of tonal shift in Kuzu, where we go from simply feeling around the blackened room to actively seeking an exit. Here of course I’m referring to Hanabi, who has arguably seen the largest change since the season start. Originally Hanabi was a confused girl beset with an unrequited love certain to never materialize. She still is confused, but Hanabi now realizes what she wants and is tentatively feeling around for a method to obtaining it. Identifying her desire for love (i.e. having others love her) and a fear of emptiness is critical for Hanabi because it lets her sort out her emotions and ideally gain a handle over them. Hanabi’s main problem, however, is choosing Akane as her success model.
I’m not particularly surprised Hanabi has latched onto Akane given the rapidly escalating grudge between the two, but it is quite sad seeing Hanabi actually try emulating Akane. What Hanabi fails understanding is that Akane is not some wellspring of self-respect or self-worth. Akane’s entire existence centers on the validation of others. So long as Akane is wanted, she has self-worth, but without the attention she falls away into nothingness. It’s why Akane’s modus operandi—and Sanae’s advice—is potentially catastrophic for a girl like Hanabi. Seducing others into love is a valid strategy, but it will not engender the lasting, permanent affection which Hanabi actually desires. This is easily observed from Hanabi’s sexual encounters. As evidenced last week, Hanabi here continues remaining under the impression that love (i.e. her image of it) will result from sex without ever considering sex can occur in the absence of true love. Mugi for example proves the point because the passion Hanabi feels with him arises out of her fantasy, not affection for him, while Sanae and Akane’s boy toy only reinforce the difference further. Until Hanabi can recognize that love is not something which is simply decided on or results from specific actions, she will continue tearing at herself when her desires remain unfulfilled.
While Hanabi’s personal change is surprising, the true eye lifter for me this week was Sanae. I originally had some empathy for Sanae given her situation, but her actions this week question all that. Sanae will likely generate some significant disgust now, particularly how open she is to manipulating Hanabi further towards the abyss. She is forthright in her desire to take as much as she can while she can, and increasingly uncaring towards the consequences. That heavy petting in the library is a good indicator, but with Sanae now putting doubts in Mugi’s head, it’s evident she desires being Hanabi’s sole form of release. Sanae will be one to watch going forward, because more than Akane, this girl has the potential to do lasting damage to Hanabi given their friendship, especially if Sanae can get to Mugi.
Where we go next for the moment, however, is to the last unexplored relationship of Kuzu: Moca and Mugi. With Moca joining the ranks of sad and broken in accepting a date from the uninterested Mugi, it will be interesting seeing just how their relationship ends up folding together with the rest of the dilapidated bunch. Given what Mugi is now thinking of Hanabi thanks to Sanae, you can be sure the impact will be greater than initially anticipated.