Now that’s certainly one way to conclude an arc. While everyone and their food pushing grandmother always knew how the struggle between Matsuri and Mei would end (or wished it to end), citrus decided to play around with inevitability by showing just how crazy wholesome love relationships can truly be. From blackmail to confessions we got the whole shebang this week—and in more than one way.
While Matsuri’s problems have been broadly discussed the past few weeks, it’s interesting to see just how disgusting she can actually be. Blackmailing Mei for example was a logical extension of the pink hair’s mission (have to split the best pair somehow), but I always thought it would involve showing Yuzu the kiss pic at some point, not by literally whoring Mei out to the highest bidder. It’s incredibly revolting, but Matsuri’s actions do have the benefit of showing how naïve and ignorant she is. One of the most important lessons one can learn about love is that desire cannot be negotiated or enforced. “True” love is spontaneous, it emerges out of and lasts due personal interest; simply coercing the other into it only breeds annoyance and resentment. This is the thing Matsuri misunderstood about Mei the most, sure the president wants and enjoys intimacy, but only from those who actually see her as a person and not an object; need look no further than Momo to see the difference. Mei’s first
assault kiss with Yuzu may have induced Yuzu’s feelings, but it was Mei’s personal tribulations and close relationship with Yuzu that solidified those feelings. Matsuri lost because she both failed to recognize this reason for Yuzu’s attachment and tried to come between them just when they were already committed (at least unwittingly) to each other. She may have postponed the inevitable for a while (i.e. not dropping the Mei prostitution right at that moment), but so long as Matsuri was approaching her relationship with Yuzu as one of simply pushing the right buttons, she was always destined to play third wheel.
What Matsuri’s little act and the resulting fallout did do, however, was finally compel Mei to open up to Yuzu. This moment was a necessity at some point, leading Yuzu around by the nose would only get us so far before the irritation set in and the repetitiveness grew boring. While a subtle verbal confession by any standard (although the hand definitely suggests otherwise), Mei’s opening up releases Yuzu from her purgatory and moves us to the second stage of this pure love relationship (and not that stage you dirty little buggers). With Mei reciprocally in love with Yuzu, how will the resulting relationship now work? Will both girls keep it quiet and under the table, or will they attempt pursuing a more public affair? This decision will be the central focus of citrus’ last quarter because you can be sure Mei won’t want to reveal anything of her doings with Yuzu, and Yuzu, thanks to her sleeve-born emotions, is going to be slowly eaten up inside. Compared to simply falling in love it’s not the easiest problem in the world, and when combined with the issue of being family (if only honorary) it becomes a tightrope with truly lethal implications. Make no mistake boys and girls, Yuzu and Mei will end up properly together in the end (need that satisfying happy ending), but the journey to it is going to be a little bumpy.
Citrus may have checked another box off on its run through the romance basics, but we’ve got quite a few more to go.