Now be honest, who didn’t see this coming? Yuzu expulsion? Mei staying out the house? Dearth of pure love kissing? All deliberately utilized checkpoints on the ever expansive list of drama generation requirements. Last time was just the setup for the denouement (per say) this episode as relationships were confirmed and future conflicts revealed. As frequently mentioned citrus won’t fall far from the tree of romance tropes, and it’s now on full display for all to see.
While the issues concerning citrus’ use of abuse are well known at this point, this week succinctly highlights why it’s a divisive theme. From start to finish Yuzu is shown completely entwined around Mei’s finger, unable to resist the feelings embedded within her and absolutely torn at being unable to do anything about them. Sure the whole situation can be chalked up to teenage inexperience and the complications of puberty, but Mei on some level is encouraging the chaos. She is deliberately confusing Yuzu, pushing her away only to reel her back in just before the limit (as she understands it) is reached. She lets Yuzu use her first name, only to refuse to reciprocate and outright states she cares little for her new sister. It’s textbook hot and cold (i.e. “hard to get”), where pushing Yuzu away is meant to intensify the attention Yuzu gives her and increase Mei’s perception of self-worth. Make no mistake, Mei actually wants the attention Yuzu is giving her (it’s likely the first real attention she’s ever received), but doesn’t want to be seen as desiring it—she wants all the warm fuzzies without any of the social risk. No matter those daddy issues and own relationship problems of Mei’s it’s disgusting thing to do to someone so woefully inexperienced in matters of love, and Mei must bear full responsibility for the paradoxical dissonance and confusion she’s inducing in Yuzu.
The upside to this setup (if it can be called that), however, is that the love is unlikely to remain one-sided for long. Mei’s strategy for example is starting to fray around the edges as Yuzu grows increasingly needy for some form of release. By deliberately withholding attention from the girl she wants it from herself, Mei is ensuring scenes like these only grow more common as time goes by. Such spontaneity cannot be controlled no matter Mei hopes, and much like she drives Yuzu into actively grabbing brief moments of intimacy, so too can Yuzu push Mei into realizing her own desires. Of course such a change is unlikely to take hold anytime soon (that eliminates a good chunk of potential drama, cannot have that), but Yuzu’s kiss has sown the seeds of personal doubt in Mei’s near future. One way or another the student council president will eventually find herself actually attracted to Yuzu, and when that happens you can expect Mei’s stoic, domineering facade to come crashing down fast.
Before we get to the sweet satisfaction of fully realized forbidden love though, first we must get our couple closer together, and what better way than through third party competition? That’s right boys (and girls), a challenger is about to enter the ring and her name is Himeko. If you thought you’ve seen everything just wait, citrus hasn’t even hit full speed yet.