「御せぬ君たち」 (Osenu Kimitachi)
“Ones Who Can’t Be Controlled”
The spotlight has officially shifted from cuteness overload to absolute exhaustion.
I should have known that the calm peaceful shot of Haru resting on the windowsill was an ominous premonition of what was to come. It was just too good to be true.
This week’s episode dove head first into a chaotic and disruptive storm. There was no way Subaru could have known his quiet home would be ravaged by twins (Hayato and Narumi), a toddler (Misora), a teenage girl (Nagisa) and his neighbour Hiroto. I for one was not mentally prepared for and did not welcome the intrusion. I had assumed last week’s flashbacks would lead to an episode showcasing a deeper bond between Haru and Subaru, something that would really strengthen their relationship.
Instead, we get a glimpse into what the Yasaka household must look like after school and work hours. For reasons I still don’t understand, Hiroto thought it would be a great idea to bring his four siblings over to Subaru’s to see the cat since he had to pick them up after school. Demanding, loud, and obnoxious, these children have no sense of space or boundaries, whether they’re interacting with our favourite anime cat or with our hermit. As the episode progressed, I could slowly feel my own energy drain.
One thing I should note, however, are the ways in which Haru and Subaru grow in response to this stressful situation. Their reactions provide insight into who they might become, whether they remain together or grow apart. In the kitchen, Nagisa asks Subaru what book he would recommend. This is the first time he’s ever had to recommend a book so his immediate reaction is one of nerves and anxiety. However, recollecting the moment Nana’s brother Yūgo recommended a book to him, he returns confidently with an old favourite he enjoyed when he was in high school.
Something similar happens to Haru when she misunderstands Misora’s hug as an attack. She pulls out her claws ready to defend herself against the tiny human but quickly realizes through a memory of her own that she needs to keep the ‘little ones’ safe. According to Haru, attacking a little human is against her principles. What’s impressive to say the least is how she’s able to tame herself without the need for human guidance. I’m sure some of us pet owners can agree this isn’t always the case when adopting strays.
As for the rest of the episode, I’m sure some viewers thought it charming to see Haru sit patiently between the twins while playing hide-and-seek, or found it sweet when they blessed their meal before digging in, but I couldn’t help but feel bothered. I guess I’ve already built up a story in my mind and this particular episode wasn’t part of it. I’m not usually so rigid when it comes to a developing story arc but in this case, there’s something so timid and fragile about their relationship that I’m almost scared to let the outside world mess it up.
To be fair, perhaps the creators wanted to elicit this feeling. I felt as tired and used up as Haru and Subaru did. With every awkward and overwhelming moment, I could feel my breath catch in my throat. I heard myself asking: “When are they leaving? I just want them to have space to breathe and hang out together!” As though someone had heard me right then and there, that’s exactly what happened. At sundown, the Yasakas said their goodbyes, the tumultuous evening came to an end, and I got a little sneak peek into exactly what I was looking for.
Haru nuzzles into Subaru’s neck and possibly, for the first time ever, they finally understand one another. They fall asleep side by side, their budding world blooming stronger than ever after the storm.