「イノセント・ブルー」 (Inosento buruu)
Every one of the principals of Yesterday o Utatte is annoying in their own way, no question about it. The tough thing is, I think this series’ take on relationships is pretty accurate as it applies to most people. And most of the time that totally works for me. But there have been weeks – and this was one of them – where I wished for a little storybook flourish. I get that this is really hard, and many people never really figure it out. But can’t one of these people just get a kick up the backside already?
We have to start with Shinako, because this was her week to be especially irritating. I really do like her, but enough is enough. She just needs to get her head out of her own you-know-what and move on. To invite Rikuo into her apartment and then, literally on her doorstep, uninvite him – wow. That was genuinely mean, no two ways about it – cruel. You can legitimately fault Rikuo for being too passive with Shinako (and generally) but this one is on her. What the hell is he supposed to think after something like that happens?
At this point I think it would be kindest for Shinako to push Rikuo away permanently. But she doesn’t – she keeps him around as her security blanket. But that doesn’t stop her from avoiding him after the invitation fiasco, because running away is what Shinako does. She’s been running away from Rou, too, avoiding his house after he declared his intentions walking her home. Shinako’s friend is right of course that it’s silly to expect a relationship now to have the emotional intensity of one in her teens. But that’s not really the issue here – if only it were that simple.
Then we have Haru. At this stage I think she’s officially crossed the line into pathetic. Rikuo has been incredibly patient with her, but he too is at the point where it’d be kindest to formally cut the cord. Rikuo has done nothing to lead Haru on, to his credit. But she’s obviously not the “take the hint” type. She knows the hints are there and chooses to ignore them, and because Rikuo is too nice for his own good, he lets her keep doing it. What we saw at the end of this episode is as close as we’ve seen him come to trying to cut Haru off, but I still don’t know if it’s enough.
This is all, in short, a mess. Rikuo’s career is at least moving forward – he’s full-time at the photo studio now, and seemingly ready to give that at a real shot. It would be best for him to hit the reset button on relationships altogether – Shinako is bad for him, and Haru is a non-starter. Focus on the job, chalk the rest up to lessons learned with scar tissue, and wait for lightning to strike again somewhere down the line. I don’t know if he’s capable of doing that – certainly not if Shinako keeps stringing him along. But it’s probably what he should do.
I hate to say it, but I think Shinako is at the heart of a lot of what’s broken with these people. She wants Rikuo and Rou around, but on her terms. Handy when she needs them, and content in the roles she’s comfortable for them and no more. Her indecision and navel-gazing has frozen both of them in their tracks. For a long time I’ve been giving her credit for having the self-awareness (more than the others) to realize she has real problems in this area. But doesn’t the fact that she does and still won’t change make her even more culpable?