This has what I’m looking for, lots of Kagami Kuro. When last we left off Rin had decided that she had to stick by the increasingly obsessive and neurotic Reiji because he “needs her”. Aoki doesn’t seem to know what to do and we always know what he does when that happens so let’s go talk to Hoin.
Summary: The chapter begins with Shirai getting all prettied up for a marriage interview because apparently she’s been courted between chapters. She doesn’t seem particularly interested in dropping the old maid moniker though and plans to try and botch the interview on purpose. At the school Kagami and Mimi run up to Aoki and ask him what happened to Rin, but when Aoki is unresponsive Kagami threatens to castrate him for ignoring her cuteness. (ATA’ GIRL!) Rin actually shows up just then and seems in surprisingly normal (deception), walking off with Kagami clinging to her arm and asking Mimi to show her her artithmetic homework. You know, the usual stuff. Hoin walks by now and sees a dejected Aoki looking on. (So he’s been ditched the poor guy) Meanwhile Rin is buddying it up with her two friends (Kagami is laying in her lap and looks more like a cat then ever) and Mimi makes the mistake of asking about Reiji. Soon enough Kagami asks Rin if she was dumped by Aoki, but Rin says (with an oddly placed panty shot) that she dumped him, which makes Kagami really happy. Meanwhile Shirai is having her marriage interview and seems to be purposely botching it by talking about her boring lifestyle, but then reflects quite candidly on how she feels she hasn’t done a lot of good or anything for herself in life. Is it time for her to try and open up to people a little more she wonders….
Meanwhile back in school Aoki won’t even play dodgeball with the students and the teachers think it has to do with Shirai’s marriage. They try to cheer him up with some food in the staff room and Hoin offers a massage. (which ends up involving a breast rub instead mostly) When he still doesn’t respond she gives him an earful of lecture about how his depressed attitude is going to affect the children and that no matter what’s going on with him he should put on a happy face for the kids at school. Realizing he’s been obsessing over Kokonoe to much while neglecting his other duties (an effect she seems to have on everyone around her) he get’s back to his dodgeball games with the boys next day and soon bumps into Shirai who ends up asking him how he can be so cheerful and open all the time. (if she could only have seen him the day before) He ends up telling her about how that wasn’t always the case and he was apparently quite timid in middle school. It was the lecturing from a teacher he had in middle school who told him that “If you can react to your weaknesses you can truly become strong” that led him to where he is now, and he asks Shirai not to ease up on him at all so he can continue to grow. He ends up getting really close to her and grabs her hand, causing her too blush when Kagami shows up with a broom and utter fury that he’d go after “her Shirai” just because Rin dumped him. A few good lumps ensue as a now depressed looks out the window at them.
Thoughts: Wow there must be some depression awareness week going on in Japan now or something as everything I’ve seen or read in anime since Sunday has dealt with it. This chapter features no Reiji and lots of Kagami Kuro (who’s been missing for a while) and that’s always a good thing. Here we see Rin’s acting almost like a black widow (I use this term in a manner that means she kills peoples psychological well-being rather then physially kills them), making both Reiji and Aoki obsessed with her and then kind of ditching both on some level. Though I guess this is good growth for her as we no longer see the childhood crush she had on Aoki (meaning she’s growing up a little), the chapter sort of paints her as cold, detached and uncaring of the effect she’s having on some of the characters. Both Reiji and Aoki are devoting everything to her lately and while it seemed last chapter that she was trying to give him a hint, by the end of that chapter and this one she seemed to have decided that she’s okay with it all and even told Aoki to stay out of things. I seriously wonder if she’s not just plain evil in some way. Let’s look at some of the evil things she’s done in the series thus far:
- Tormented Aoki when he was just trying to have an easy time with the class
- Ignored Kagami’s obvious affection for her to go hang out with Aoki
- Ignored Mimi’s desire to finish the baton race with some dignity by upstaging her and making her look like a fool in front of everybody. You’d think she’d have something to say after words rather than just living her to cry in a broken down heap
- Ignores Mimi’s desire to get close to Reiji and makes Mimi think she’s hogging him all for herself
- Bitten Aoki’s ear
- Tried to push Hoin down the stairs
- Basically sat back while Reiji has driven himself to insanity and near exhaustion to dote on her like an almost master/slave type relationship
- Blackmailed Aoki by threatening to use her legal status against him (calling molester) if he tried to resist her will
- Driven Aoki ragged with her antics to the point of him actually falling ill
- Pitted Aoki and Reiji in a twisted affection triangle over her while ducking any responsibility
- Rejected her real fathers attempts to offer her a good home and humiliated him for even trying
- After Aoki has finally started to give her the attention she’s always wanted and is about to fulfill her apparent dream of him taking her away with him, she rejects all of his kindness for Reiji and leaves him in a depression, not even seeming to give a damn about what she’s done.
Now I know she’s not entirely at fault for all of this, but the dark side of hers that Kaworu has talked about has suddenly become increasingly more apparent to me throughout the series as I am reading these latest chapters and I swear there’s a darker more sinister side to all her supposedly innocent actions up till now that we’ve seen so far. Basically it’s that everytime somebody seems to have hit a point where they are feeling utterly confident or happy about something, or trying to help her in someway, she’s coming come along and screwed it all up in a bad way. She takes all the joy for herself and makes everyone around her miserable, I swear it’s there throughout the entire series. I’m almost tempted to believe that if there is a Tominoesque ending to this series that it will be her looking on coldly and detached as everyone elses lives ultimately dissolve into a pile of broken dreams…all because of her in some way or form.
But enough about the speculation on Rin’s potential Black Widow status, there’s also the Shirai sidestory. Apparently some time inbetween this chapter and the last she’s finally progressed to the point in life where people would actually consider her worth marrying, and despite apparently not wanting to succeed in her interview (yes there are still arranged marriages in Japan) she ends up pondering whether it’s time to take another path in life when she considers how dull and lonely she is. She also shows an increasing interest in Aoki, and while it’s mostly just a curiousity about how he conducts himself right now, I can possibly see her becoming more romantically attracted to him later on with her increasingly less abrasive personality.
Other then that there’s lot’s of Kagami Kuro moments which are always awesome and thus we have another solid chapter of Kodomo No Jikan if a disturbingly enlightening one about our nymphet. She’s going to end up like the original Lolita and Aoki like Humbert Humbert, I swear it. Actually before I go, here are just a few more sinister things to look for regarding Rin this chapter.
- The look on Rin’s face when she notices Mimi and Kagami with Aoki before suddenly saying good morning with a suddenly happier expression
- The way she’s looking so confident and happy while petting Kagami like she’s actually just a pet to her (I know there’s implied comedy in it, but just look at the way she’s sitting)
- The upclose eyeless smirk she has when Mimi says she has Reiji all to herself as if she knows Mimi’s interested, but doesn’t care.
- The pose she has just before and when she looks remarkably cold and detached about “dumping” Aoki
- The look of shock she has on her face when Aoki greets her happily the next morning as if she was expecting him to do something else.
- The way she’s looking out the window with an emotionless face as all of her friends are ganging up on Aoki in good old fashioned and Aoki’s just had the slightly romantic moment with Shirai
If Rin somehow get’s inbetween Shirai and Aoki somehow next chapter or the one after in some way I will almost know for certain if Rin has actually been a knowingly sinister force behind all of the unfortunate things that have happened to the characters in this series.
Rating: Eight Out Of Ten