Sukitte Ii na yo 07 – Hiding Away

It would be very easy to suggest that the problems Mei is currently facing were the fault of Megumi, but in reality the situation is more complicated. The appearance of Megumi has certainly had an effect on the group dynamics within the series. Her appearance and status as a well known and popular amateur model give her the sort of presence that Mei lacks, and she is also relatively open about aiming for Yamato (at least she is open to Yamato himself). The group of friends that Mei has slowly been acquiring has therefore been invaded in a sense, and with the appearance of Megumi, the activities that they want to do have changed. Before there is the assumption that this group may not do things that Mei dislikes, and instead focuses on other activities, but Megumi has changed all of this. She is a straightforward and very strong willed character, someone that pushes forward and in a way gets exactly what they want through the strength of their character. Her appearance has therefore changed the way this small group of friends works, with characters like Asami and Kenji all to happy to be associated with her.

Megumi is a curious character though, and due to the sort of story that Sukitte Ii ya no is, it would be all too easy to label her as the antagonist and generally dislike her. However, the current situation remains complicated, with Mei and Yamato equally guilty of causing their sudden separation and the problems that Mei is currently faced with. Megumi has already tried to push Yamato into going out with her, suggesting that they look perfect together and because of their looks they should associate with each other. These sorts of comments are relatively mean and also rather shallow, suggesting that Megumi only ever sees the surface of those around her. As a model she is aware of her own appeal, and also fully aware of how to increase her popularity. Her attitude towards Yamato, while straightforward also suggests that a boyfriend to her is akin to a handbag, or an accessory, they are objects rather than individuals. Yamato is clearly handsome and has already been openly scouted for modeling, but such comments suggest that Megumi views him as a way to increase her popularity.

Such an attitude is clearly shallow and Yamato quickly turns her down, even berating her for such comments. However, it is almost as if Yamato regrets telling her off and willingly accepts her apology and even agrees to fill in as a temporary model on her request. You get the sense when watching Sukitte Ii ya no that Yamato is too kind for his own good, something that has already been demonstrated through Asami and Aiko. He has demonstrated a habit of treating everything with a pinch of salt, or helping everyone regardless of who they are and what affect his help may have. This fits into his chameleon like appearance and attitude towards social interaction that has already been brought up in a previous episode. Such an attitude is incredibly damaging especially when it comes to more intimate or close relationships. His willingness to help Megumi is genuine and relies in part on Mei giving her consent, but you still get the impression that Yamato takes such help lightly and doesn’t necessarily think of the consequences of his actions.

Yamato may be worried about certain situations, but his willingness to either laugh off, or treat a given situation or feeling with a grain of salt ultimately hurts those around him. We have already seen in previous episodes how his kindness to Asami and Aiko has arguably caused more harm than good, with Asami being bullied and Aiko scarring herself in order to gain an appearance that is ‘suitable’ for Yamato. His kindness, especially towards Aiko and now Megumi has caused a lot of pain and trouble. Furthermore, his kindness towards Megumi, along with his willingness to help her clearly causes Mei pain and suffering, but Yamato almost doesn’t realise or recognise this. By accepting her invitation to go back to her flat, Yamato is kind, but also rather dense. He already knows that Megumi has her eyes on him, and even rejected her, but appears willing to accept such invitations merely to be kind. Through all this we are beginning to see how dangerous and damaging Yamato’s ‘kindness’ can be.

On the other hand, Mei is equally as guilty of causing the current situation through her inability to truly communicate her feelings to others. She freely agrees to Yamato modelling because it is obvious in some respects that seeing him happy would make her happy. Such a sentiment may be nice, but it is also very dangerous and potentially results in self-destruction. While Yamato may be unconditionally kind to everyone around him, Mei puts others happiness before her own. She seems willing to believe that Yamato modelling and being successful is a good thing, which it undoubtedly is, but in doing so she ignores her own feelings and thoughts. She continually gives her consent to Yamato’s modelling career, and the more popular he becomes the further she pushes herself into a corner. This is rather dangerous for a character like Mei, someone who originally rejected social interaction and attempted to hide herself away from society. She may have changed over the course of the series by getting to know Asami, Aiko and Yamato, but there are still traces of the girl we saw in episode one.

Mei can help others like Asami, Kenji and even Aiko, but she neglects her own emotional and psychological wellbeing. There are parallels here between Mei and Yamato, but, whole Yamato’s kindness may be dangerous to those who receive it, Mei’s kindness is dangerous to herself. Mei lacks the social experience to truly know what she has to do, and also, because of her past trauma has become wholly reliant on herself. She doesn’t say anything to anyone, and instead keeps everything bottled up, perhaps under the mistaken assumption that everything will work out in the end. The attitude of doing everything for yourself and shouldering the burden, while commendable, can also be incredibly damaging. Megumi on the other hand is a supremely confident and beautiful character, one that knows her worth (or at least, her worth as a model), and is willing to do anything to get her own way. The way she approaches Yamato, is quite straightforward, although it seems less of a confession of love and more of contract that she proposes. The problems that are encountered during this episode are not the fault of any individual, but are the culmination of numerous characters. Megumi, Yamato and Mei are equally at fault, with Mei ultimately shouldering the greatest burden, although it has to be said that much of the burden was her own doing.

Mei is a fascinating character, and one that is surprisingly independent when compared to other Shoujo female protagonists. She is willing to do things for herself, and isn’t just sitting waiting for her Prince to come along and whisk her off of her feat. However, such an attitude has partly lead to her current situation, it is precisely because she tires to do everything herself that Mei has been backed into a corner. She is strong willed, but also a little too passive in her relationship with Yamato, agreeing to everything and staying in the background. It has to be said that much of this is down to her inexperience with social interaction, but there is also the element of stubbornness. Asami and Aiko finally showed her how stupid she was being and give her the opportunity to release all the pent up stress, anger and pain that has been building up over the past couple of episodes. By forcing Yamato to kiss her Mei is not only being proactive, but is clearly demonstrating to Yamato and others around him that they are going out and she loves him. Her actions are those of someone who has finally realised that people aren’t telepathic, and that if she wants to do something she just has to go and do it.

About illogicalzen
An Illogical anime fan in a very Zen-like way.

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