Domestic na Kanojo – 12 (Fin) – Turning Pain Into Art

When Hina is caught, she doesn’t hesitate to be the adult and put herself at the mercy of her superiors. Sure, it probably wasn’t a good idea to sleep with a student in front of a window while on a school trip, but she doesn’t want that to affect her stepbrother’s future.

So she leaves the school, accepting a transfer far away, and then moves out of her apartment, all without telling Natsuo—who would have obviously tried to stop her and likely made things worse. That’s the second good move Hina made: not letting him have a say in the equation.

After reading a note in which Hina pours her heart out onto the page, Natsuo goes into a state of deep anguish, holing up in his room and not leaving. When Fumiya reads the note, he castigates Natsuo for basically wasting all of the pain and trouble Hina went through for his sake.

On a bathhouse trip with Kobayashi, the former yakuza and cafe owner tells him from experience that you can’t turn back time, and moving forward and continuing to live while shouldering his pain is the only way. But Natsuo manages to find an outlet for all that pain he’s shouldering: writing.

He stops his weekly short stories and instead starts pouring his heart onto the page, as Hina did with her farewell letter. At first it’s such a compulsive thing he doesn’t eat or sleep, but after his talk with Kobayashi he starts accepting Rui’s kindness in the form of cocoa, late night snacks, and other food to keep his health up.

On New Year’s Day, Natsuo finishes his novel, though he also lost track of the days. Rui takes him out where he meets with his friends from the lit club who were silently supporting him as he worked his shit out. Then they go to Kiriya-sensei’s house to deliver the first draft.

Some time later Natsuo is invited back to Kiriya’s on a Sunday, wondering what’s up. Kiriya has him meet Tsutaya, an editorial staff member with Shinkosha, and they go to a ceemony celebrating Natsuo’s first-place amateur award for his novel, which Kiriya secretly submitted.

Just as Hina had hoped, her quick action secured Natsuo’s future and ability to achieve his dream of becoming a novelist, even if it also broke both their hearts, those wounds heal, while a public school sex scandal…notsomuch!

When he gets home, Natsuo is shocked to find Hina waiting there for him…or at least he thinks it’s Hina. Turns out it’s Rui in a wig. She runs to her room to cry, because now she knows how Natsuo’s loving embrace felt to Hina. After congratulating him for his award, Rui has a proposition.

She’s done pretending to hate Natsuo, and she’s done “holding back” for Hina’s sake. When she and Natsuo made love for the first time, she didn’t think much of it, but she seems reasonably sure a second time will feel different to her, now that she has feelings for him and all.

Natsuo looks a bit overwhelmed, but if Hina truly is gone from his life forever, it’s a good idea to move on. Probably not with Rui…but I like Rui so, ah, well there it is. As Picasso said, “Art is born of your dad marrying the mother of the first girl you slept with and your longtime teacher crush.” Or something like that.

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Domestic na Kanojo – 11 – There’s Always Someone Better

After lying and keeping secrets for so long, Natsuo finally tells Rui everything, from his long time love of Hina to his determination to be with her in the future. But just because it’s the truth doesn’t make the words sting any less. After sharing one last kiss and an evening of private sobbing, Rui is also determined to move on from Natsuo.

Of course, since it’s impossible for Rui to not handle such things in an odd way, she announces to Natsuo the next morning that she’s decided to “start disliking him.” I can’t say I blame her, as Natsuo has grown more selfish and insufferable with each passing week, but in her case it’s a defense mechanism. She’ll still treat him like family, but otherwise, she’s done.

At least Natsuo gets to talk to Rui; Rui freezes out Hina both on LINE and at school, where Natsuo and Hina misguidedly meet up once again to discuss it. The episode suddenly makes a hard right turn from the love triangle to…the “Natsuo Striving to be an Author” plot, when Rui wins an award instead of him (or Miu, for that matter).

This shakes Natsuo to his core, despite the fact, if he’s honest, he’s spent far more time lately being a horndog with Hina than he has crafting brilliant narratives. Still, he believes the solution is to go to Akari’s house announced and beg him to make him his apprentice. It’s not any more pleasant than Natsuo begging for sex.

His sensei turns him down in this case, because becoming his apprentice is not the way to go about becoming a good author; it takes actual struggle and hard work, not just connections. Natsuo takes this to mean writing one short story per week. Then, in another bit of whiplash, the episode makes another hard turn to School Beach Trip territory.

This means not only Rui and Miu and Momo in swimsuits, but Hina as well, and as she plays volleyball with the students, she looks more like a teacher than a student. Rui takes her aside to remark on the inappropriateness of her swimsuit, but Hina is so happy she’s not ignoring her anymore, that it leads to the two making up.

Rui isn’t interested in Hina breaking up with Natsuo if she still has real feelings for him; instead, she’s prepared to concede him to her and pursue other options. Honestly it’s probably a good move by Rui…if she can stick the landing. But Rui’s assurances don’t dissuade Hina from deciding to break up with Natsuo anyway, since it’s just not a tenable relationship.

It’s disappointing to see Hina’s position so callously overruled by Natsuo thanks to a cheap ring and a promise that he’ll make an honest woman of her for sure, even proposing marriage. Their two positions couldn’t be further apart, but there’s no compromise, Natsuo simply gets what he wants, again. 

While he may talk about caring about the future, it’s Hina who was looking out for both of them by suggesting they end things while they still can. Instead, they make out in front of an open window during a fireworks display, then have sex and apparently spend the night together.

These are not good decisions, as Hina learns on the first day back at school, when she’s summoned by the principal, who presents her a photo of her, and Natsuo, kissing by the open window, during the fireworks display.

She and Natsuo were so caught up in being together that they got sloppy, never stopping to think how others (who weren’t Rui) mind think and feel about them together. In the school’s case, it’s likely a fireable offense, and certainly a black mark on its reputation. Suffice it to say Hina is well and truly fucked.

Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai – 12 (Not Fin) – It’s Not You, it’s the Royal We

First, I have to applaud TKnS for shedding its comfortable Japanese high school milieu for something completely different that expands the story’s boundaries a whole hemisphere’s width and lends it a sense of occasion.

Second, I applaud Mitsuyoshi for getting over his aviophobia to make the trip to Larsenburg, for he feared something far more than flying: not knowing why Teresa left, and not telling her how he truly felt about her. (Kaoru also cheers his friend on, but keeps his distance)

Larsenberg is gorgeous, as one would expect of a fictitious Germanic-sounding miniature kingdom. You can’t help but notice how different it is from the Japan he left, right down to the fact it’s now wintertime.

Mitsuyoshi arrives at the address his gramps stipulated as the place where he’d find Reiko, AKA Rachel, but has trouble gaining access, because it’s a goddamn palace, complete with a Royal Guard that won’t answer his questions…or speak at all.

Meanwhile, Teresa, Alec, and Charles are busy with the duties of a royal couple and their bodyguard…only with a little bit of palace drama mixed in. Alec reveals her lifelong love for Charles when Teresa walks into find her hugging his recently-worn jacket.

Teresa also picks up on Alec’s tell, a grabbing of the arm that signifies lying. Alec denies and denies, not because she doesn’t believe Teresa knows about her feelings (she does), but because she knows nothing good could come of her expressing her feelings for Charles; he’s supposed to marry Teresa, not her.

Before Teresa and Alec can continue their discussion, Mitsuyoshi pops in. He had the good fortune of being spotted outside the palace by Rachel, who invites him in and tells him how she used to work at his gramps’ cafe when she was in college, before moving to Larsenburg to serve the royal family.

Rachel and Charles present Mitsuyoshi to a very shocked Teresa. He apologizes for surprising her, but she knows she’s the one who needs to apologize and properly tell him what the dealio is. Their reunion came far later in the episode than I expected, and it’s almost painfully brief and cordial.

In a sumptuous gilded drawing room the two sit across from one another, Mitsuyoshi expresses his relief that she’s okay and relays Teresa the others’ regards. Then Teresa comes out with it: she’s the future queen of Larsenburg, and thus there is, in her mind, “no way she can live the life she wants”, i.e. either as an ordinary woman in Japan, or as queen, but getting to choose her man.

In the latter case, Teresa drops a second bombshell on Mitsuyoshi: her lifelong betrothal to none other than Charles. We never see if or how he reacts to this verbally after his initial pained look; we only see the aftermath, with neither Alec nor Charles able to approach a sobbing Teresa in her darkened chambers, while Kaoru finaly reveals he followed Mitsuyoshi here, only to watch his friend crying for the first time.

And it’s about here when I was wondering “Wait, really? You’re going to end it like this, show?” But the show didn’t. MAL misled me into thinking this was the last episode, but there’s one more. Thus, there’s hope everyone can walk away with some kind of closure!

Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai – 11 – Decluttering

The sudden departure of Teresa and Alec for vague “family reasons” comes as a shock to all, especially when the reality of their absence sinks in via their now-empty apartment and desks at school. But no one is hit as hard as Mitsuyoshi, who is constantly encountering things that remind her of Teresa, and of the fact he had his chance to say something to her and blew it.

I don’t think Mitsuyoshi is mad at Teresa—nor should he be—so much as he’s angry at himself. He can’t hide his change in behavior post-Teresa from his best friend Kaoru, who quickly comes to suspect Tada liked Teresa and has been shaken by her disappearance. Kaoru wants to help him, but doesn’t have enough info, and it’s too sore a subject to broach lightly.

One friend who has no compunctions about broching sore subjects is Nyanko Big, who despite lacking thumbs is able to get into his closet and rifle through the box he filled with mementos of his time with Teresa.

Mitsuyoshi goes off on his own, and senses a great emptiness from all of the spots he’d previously visited on their last day together. Like the new tenants in the apartment, everything has changed, and there’s nothing for it but to move on. Mitsuyoshi tosses his Teresa Box in the trash.

That practical and emotional “decluttering” continues in the photo club, where he unceremoniously erases Teresa and Alec’s names from the whiteboard. Then they find an extra memory card filled with all of Teresa’s photos. They’re mostly of rocks, but the greatest treasure is the sole video file of their game of photo tag.

That’s the day Teresa and Alec truly became two of the gang, and she also managed to capture Hajime and Hinako’s unspoken love. Those memories of Teresa laughing and smiling just keep rushing through Mitsuyoshi until he can’t take it and flees home to retrieve the box from the trash, only to find it’s already gone.

He sulks in his dark room until Kaoru confronts him, though not before showing him the photo he was looking for, which Hajime submitted for him, and which won an Excellence prize. In it, Teresa is beaming, her hair flowing in the wind, rainbows reflected in her eyes. It’s an absolutely gorgeous image full of love—the photographer’s love for the subject in particular. Kaoru says there’s no way such a photo could have been taken if Mitsuyoshi didn’t feel that way about her.

Mitsuyoshi finally opens up about how angry he’s been since Teresa left, and how stupid he was to stay silent and close love out of his life. All he wants is one last chance to see Teresa and talk to her so he can tell her how he feels—even if she rejects them. Gramps comes in with the un-tossed box, telling Mitsuyoshi that now that it’s “stopped raining in his heart” it’s time to search for the rainbow that comes after; i.e. Teresa.

RABUJOI Is a Liebster Award Nominee

liebsteraward

First of all, many thanks to taigareview at myotakureviews.com, for nominating RABUJOI! Simply having our work read by humans (and possibly anthropomorphic tanukis) is an honor in and of itself. For that work to compel someone to nominate us for an award is both humbling and gratifying.

This is actually RABUJOI’s second nomination; last February we were nominated by otakudaydreams but were unfortunately too busy to write an appropriate response.

This time I took it upon myself as Captain of RABUJOI (a title I just bestowed upon myself) to respond properly, and take the opportunity to answer the questions provided, as well as nominate five more blogs to pay the love forward. So here goes!

For the purposes of this article, the opinions below are my own, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of RABUJOI’s other authors.


Taigareview’s Questions

1. Why do you like anime?

Because ianime is beautiful, imaginative, immersive, escapist, and fun.

2. Do you have a favorite Seiyuu (Voice Actor/Actress)?

Hanazawa Kana, AKA Hana-Kana. Every new role I hear her in, I appreciate her immense talent a little more.

3. What is your favorite food?

My favorite individual dish is Steak Tartare, but I also love sushi.

4. Japanese Anime or American Animation? and why?

Another tough question as I’m an American who was the perfect age for the Disney Renaissance (Mermaid, Aladdin, Lion King). But that’s also why I pick Japanese Anime: it’s more seriously targeted to adults, and it also sounds cooler owing to the language.

5. What is in your opinion the most important thing in an anime?

Whatever an anime brings to the table in terms of themes, production values, cast, crew, or nostalgia, the most important thing for me is that an anime make me care about it. Make me want to sit down, watch it, and long for the next episode.

6. Have you ever cried over an anime?

Surprisingly often. A lot of Ghibli films get to me, but most recently I’ve teared up a few times while watching Steins;Gate, which I’m currently watching for the first time, and my reviews for which are here.

7. Who are your top 5 (Male and Female) characters?

Oh God…this is tough. I struggle even with Top 10 lists. These are all tentative, and in no particular order.

Male:

Female:

8. Name 5 anime characters you hate the most?

Also tough, but I’ll give it a shot:

9. What do you think of the world today?

I personally can’t complain.

10. What are your hobbies?

In addition to watching and reviewing anime, I enjoy eating (but not cooking; that’s Zane’s purview), running, dancing, and sleeping.

11. Do you believe in magic?

I’m going to say yes…but I’m no scientist.


11 Random Facts About Myself

  1. I am left-handed, like three-fourths of RABUJOI’s authors.
  2. I have 20/15 vision, but I’ve always wanted to own glasses with plain glass lenses to look more intellectual/moe.
  3. Akira still scares me.
  4. If I can help it, I watch the movie before I read the book…if I read the book at all.
  5. I hate reading. Not nearly enough Itano Circuses.
  6. I named my Honda Civic Hana-Kana, after my favorite Seiyu.
  7. I love WWII naval ships.
  8. My handle is a portmanteau of Cloud Strife’s initial limit break (Braver) and Gatorade.
  9. I got into my first and only ebay duel while trying to acquire FFVII, about ten years ago. I ended up bidding $157.00, which by any measure is too much money.
  10. I’m allergic to nothing. See? I told you I can’t complain.
  11. I was due to be born on July 4, but I was a day early. Which is why I’m not named Samantha.

My 5 Nominees

I used to read a lot more from other anime blogs, but since I started writing I’ve had precious little time. Nevertheless, here are five picks. No snubs intended.


Liebster Award Rules:

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award and you choose to accept it, write a blog post about the Liebster Award in which you:

  • Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog
  • Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
  • Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you
  • Provide 11 random facts about yourself
  • Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
  • Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer
  • List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.)
  • Once you have written and published it, you then have to inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it)

And here are my questions for the nominees:

1. What was the first anime you ever watched?

2. Did that first anime get you into anime, or did that require watching more shows?

3. What is your favorite food?

4. Who is your favorite character designer?

5. If so inclined, what character would you have the least trouble cosplaying?

6. What is one sin an anime could commit that would make you turn your back on it?

7. Who are your top 5 (or 10) characters, regardless of gender?

8. Assuming they’d do a good job (not at all a certainty), which anime would you most like to see made into a Hollywood film?

9. Which anime character do you identify most with, if any?

10. What is your favorite beverage—alcoholic or otherwise?

11. Which anime do you wish got a sequel, that never did (or hasn’t yet)?


That’s all! Once again, on behalf of the entire staff, many thanks to taigareview at myotakureviews.com for making us a twice-nominated anime blog!

-Hannah