After much dithering and buildup Kuzu has finally reached its climax, and as expected things certainly did not disappoint. Although anything could have transpired this week, I’d argue it was known previously that something would screw up the confessions, and that Akane was the most likely culprit. Lo and behold when said hypothesis turned out true as Akane utilized her personality to the most and strung Mugi along just enough for his lust and desire to do the rest. For all his talk and commitment towards change with Hanabi, Mugi still harboured strong feelings for Akane, feelings he hoped would die when she rejected him. Mugi in a sense was desperately hoping Akane would reject him because of these feelings, knowing to a subconscious degree any intimacy she showed could be construed by him as actual interest. Thus it’s no surprise to me that Mugi literally ended up with Akane and spilled his entire raison d’etre to her. Akane effectively gave Mugi’s mind enough rope for him to rationalize the whole thing away while maintaining her “innocence” throughout. For all of Mugi’s experience, he had nothing on Akane, and as he will discover, no serious ability to induce any love towards him within her.
On the other side of things was Hanabi’s confession, and this one pretty well went more or less as expected. As mentioned last time I honestly had a suspicion Narumi might attempt playing dumb, but he really surprised me by not only accepting Hanabi’s confession, but rejecting her gently and without any fanfare. This guy did everything right, beyond a simple thank you—confirming his brotherly relationship to Hanabi—he never said anything and just let Hanabi vent her built up, condensed emotions. Compared to Narumi’s prior encounter with Akane this was incredibly surprising, arguably producing Kuzu’s best scene so far. For the show’s most confused and conflicted character, Narumi’s rejection frees Hanabi from her fantasy and gives her a real chance to experience actual love with Mugi. Given Mugi has also started seeing Hanabi for herself and not as an Akane stand-in, both characters have a good opportunity to find the intimacy they have been seeking with little success so far. Although Mugi’s encounter with Akane seemingly throws a wrench into the whole idea, I’d argue Mugi’s little romp through the motel sheets is temporary. Mugi may have given in to his desires, but once the impassioned high wears off the stark reality of Akane will come back and he will—I believe—make the right choice. Still won’t remove the massive club Akane now has to beat Hanabi with, but I doubt Mugi will suddenly abandon Hanabi for a fantasy he knows is impossible to obtain.
With Kuzu having now got the confessions out of the way, the drama-fuelled fallout fun now begins. Besides the obvious play Akane will make to further torment Hanabi, we also have Mugi who as mentioned has a choice to make, and Sanae who now must confront her own desires. Sanae in particular could prove—besides Akane—the most problematic, given her interest in Hanabi and willingness to take what she wants no matter the consequences. With Sanae’s arguably superfluous cousin introduction though we look set for some additional exploration into Sanae’s mind soon, and probably some sort of accompanying conclusion reached between Hanabi and her. For all that Kuzu has successfully wrapped up, plenty remains for some serious pain and suffering. This ride has a ways to go yet boys and girls.
Sanae’s hat has the added benefit of both displaying the show’s title and succinctly describing her personality. Compared with the likes of Hanabi or Mugi, Sanae’s actions well define scum.