「Winter of Love」
It’s said when a door closes a window opens, but citrus of course has a different idea on the phrase. Pink haired competition ignominiously defeated and relegated to third wheel status? Don’t worry, we’ve got a pint sized solution for that. And thus the cycle of romantic conflict goes. Obviously poor little Yuzu is not going to catch a break anytime soon—the drama demands it—but when she’s wrecking her chances this hard it’s difficult finding excuses as the rubber hits the road.
While anyone could have guessed Mei’s sudden reveal last time was always going to fail in some form or another, I imagine few thought it would be at the hands of Yuzu. Sudden Mama sleepwalking appearance maybe (or even a cheeky Matsuri nighttime cameo), but rejection by Yuzu? And at the best part? Now that’s just dirty. In all fairness, however, Yuzu’s actions make some sense considering the situation. Up until now Mei has been playing hard to get, inexplicably coming onto Yuzu before giving our blondie a near zero Kelvin cold shoulder. For Yuzu Mei never seemed in love with her, and to go from random kissing to a willingness for sexy times completely out of line with expectations. Yuzu in effect saw Mei’s proposition as transactional, a payment for everything Yuzu has done to help (ex. daddy issues, Momo, family environment) up until that point. Mei’s approach was certainly honest, but Yuzu saw it as coerced and did not want to take what she would rather be given. Make no mistake Yuzu wants to go all the way, but she (in her mind) wants it to be reciprocal, with a Mei who loves her equally in return. In this regard Mei has no one to blame but herself. If Mei had opened up earlier, if she had understood the importance of her earlier comments about sisterly boundaries, it’s likely Yuzu wouldn’t have hesitated and we’d be enjoying a true romp through the jungle. Instead it’s back to square one, and with all the drama it entails.
Part of what ensures this misunderstanding will only get worse before it gets better is the appearance of our second competitor Sara. It’s a running theme at this point that whenever citrus wants to move the relationship needle forward a love triangle appears, and Sara is this arc’s force of choice. While arguably tiresome dealing with the same format again at this late of stage, at least our new pint sized pipsqueak is better than the previous pink haired incarnation, and comes complete with an adorable giant of a sister. Yes, Nina is now officially best sister, and no, it has nothing to do with proportions. Well, maybe slightly. What this duo’s appearance does ensure though is that Mei will have to face her other debilitating issue: Openly expressing her love. Yuzu’s rejection may have hurt Mei deeply (it’s the first time she opened herself up willingly after all), but she still hasn’t properly understood Yuzu’s own confusion and reasons for it. Sara is the tool for this purpose, a competitor who will force Mei to confront the problem because Yuzu is definitely not going to give up and will ensure—again—her feelings are expressed. One way or another there’s only one outcome from this arc, the question is simply how much drama it will take before the answer makes itself known.
Considering one big little sister has already overheard the opening salvo, I think I know which way I’m betting.