I think this pair is coming back together
Manaka is awake! And group dynamics are going to change, as they always do.
Is She the Same?
Manaka runs around!
I don’t know if I was the only one with this feeling, but Manaka’s return felt significantly different from Kaname and Hikari’s. The biggest thing is that Manaka gave a feeling of having been gone for some duration. While Hikari and Kaname both woke up in what was, essentially, the next day, Manaka seemed to implicitly understand how much time had elapsed. Her pointing out things that changed, almost exclusively “there’s Saltflake Snow HERE too!”, and her general demeanor were both of someone who had returned home after some time away. Like she expected things to change while she was gone, not that things had changed under her. Also, she never had that sense of disorientation and irritation that both Hikari and Kaname had when they awakened. Maybe some of that is down to Manaka being Manaka, but she certainly had times in the past where she was irritable, and there was none of it here.
Chisaki becomes the onee-san
I think what I’m getting to is that Manaka, more than anything in Oshioshi, has changed. And she really felt like someone different, like the personal growth that she was going through before the ofunehiki has continued for five years. She was far more confident, far less worried about making other people happy, far more individualistic than she’d been. And while Hikari looked at her the whole time as “Manaka is back”, I kept thinking “this is not the Manaka he knew before.” Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, or seeing things that aren’t there, but there just really seemed to be something different about her, more than just not having ena.
Chisaki looks back as she walks away
Despite the talk of “Now everyone is back together,” the return of Manaka seemed to herald a breaking apart more than anything, particularly for two people who always seemed to be feeling outside the group: Miuna and Chisaki. I think Manaka’s return really made Chisaki feel like she’d transitioned to an onee-san, realizing the differences between her life now and her life then. Becoming a nurse, taking care of Tsumugu’s (and effectively her own) grandfather, living with Tsumugu as an equal, having that lifestyle of a housewife. She now realizes that she really can’t go back to those days of hanging out with the middle school kids. And I also get the feeling that she might not really want to. Mentioning to Tsumugu that she likes coffee gelatin more than crème puffs, leaving the group early, she seems to be realizing that she’s grown up. Even her choice of words when assuring Tsumugu that she won’t be lonely tells me that she’s put herself outside the group: “I have to take care of Manaka.” Will this free her up mentally to become more of a pair with Tsumugu, now?
Possibly the new group?
Meanwhile, the breaking apart that Miuna felt on Manaka’s physical return may be reversing itself as things play out. She and Sayu definitely seem to be more directly involved in the group of 5 after Chisaki seems to separate herself. That’s after some initial hesitation, and not wanting to really be around Manaka and Hikari on their first day out. But I think age and interests will win out, and she’ll definitely stay part of the group.
Gods are Always Nearby
That’s the lesson that Tsumugu learns, with a long-distance callback joke. I kind of wonder why Chisaki wasn’t cursed as well, since she’s the one who thought that bribing Uroko with porn mags would work. My question is more about the thing that Tsumugu stepped on. Was it a scale? Was it part of Manaka’s ena? And how did it get there for him to step on? Does Tsumugu getting cursed mean that he could also gain an ena, or maybe that he already has? That would be kind of an imposition, but an interesting development. In any case, I think Chisaki’s right that Uroko doesn’t really give out answers, but maybe they’ll get some information from him anyway.
This seemed to be awfully threatening
Again, Manaka’s back, but I’m not sure if it’s the same Manaka that we knew from before. But what I’m sure of is that her return has had some interesting repercussions in the interpersonal relationships of the group. I’m still on the Miuna x Hikari ship, especially since Manaka seems to have no idea what she was going to tell Hikari after the ofunehiki, and may not be interested in him anymore. Chisaki also seems to have disembarked the Hikari ship, realizing that she likes his qualities, but she’s just not the person she was anymore. I wonder if Kaname picked up on her separation, or maybe he’s just naturally realigning with the group of kids his own age again, since he didn’t seem to be angsty at all about not going back to their house. I’m also left to wonder if there was something more significant to Akira’s spilling soup on himself, because that seemed to be focused on a lot more than it ultimately warranted.
More significance than it seemed?