How would you rate episode 10 of
I’ve reached the point in this show where I vastly prefer Horimiya without either Hori or Miyamura. The opening scenes this week amply demonstrate one of the reasons why: Hori has become so toxic and controlling that, whether she means to or not, Miyamura has begun acting like a victim rather than an equal partner in their relationship. Her unwarranted, and not a little homophobic, jealousy this episode makes Miyamura feel like he can’t hang around his male friends, and that’s absolutely one of the warning signs of an abusive relationship. I have a sneaking suspicion that someone in charge of the anime may think this is somehow cute or funny, or perhaps simply didn’t realize how Hori would come off when the story was stripped of its “unimportant” storylines (many of which are just about them hanging out) or compressed others, such as Miyamura’s family trip to Hokkaido. But what’s going on with them at this point feels, to me at least, like the opposite of romantic, and it’s making it so that I have to convince myself to watch each episode rather than looking forward to it. (Seriously, if I’m looking forward to Hortensia Saga more, there’s something wrong.)
Luckily, their part in this week’s episode is largely limited to that opening bit. They pop up in the middle, but it’s more to comment on how Yuki has been missing school rather than to indulge in more inappropriate antics. Yuki, as the title of the episode suggests, is the main protagonist for this week as she grapples with her feelings for Toru as well as her habit of stepping aside rather than speaking up for what she wants. That’s what really drives her this time – she’s been enjoying her fake (or maybe “fake”) relationship with Toru while being plagued by the guilt of knowing that they aren’t actually dating, especially because Sakura also likes him. Yuki sees herself as being less of a good match for Toru than Sakura, part of her general habit of seeing herself as “less than” in everything. We’re not entirely sure why she has this issue (although girls are certainly taught to back down more often than not, especially if the ones telling them this adhere to an outdated notion of femininity), but we see it on a different level this time than we have in the past. That’s because the weather is getting colder as winter approaches, and Yuki writes her name with the character for “snow.”
As someone who enjoys winter, I don’t immediately jump to a negative association with the word, but that’s clearly not the case for Yuki. Rather than thinking of beautiful flakes or a blanket of white, her mind goes to muddy, melting spring snow that everyone wishes would just go away. That’s the snow she associates with herself and her name, and while that certainly could ring a few alarm bells, in the context of the show and this episode, it’s more a statement of how she’s afraid that Toru won’t ever like her back because she’s not all that fond of herself. She’s a version of Miyamura in that way, it’s just that instead of long hair and piercings she hides behind a mask of perkiness. If she smiles and laughs enough, no one will notice how unhappy she is, right?
Toru seems to finally see through that act this week, and there’s a strong sense that maybe he’s the first person to ever see through it. Partially that’s because Yuki opens up to him in a way we haven’t heard her do before, revealing to him her associations with snow and how she’s internalized the idea that snow “won’t” go away when people want it to. Toru flips that on its head for her, telling her with more emotion than we normally see from him that it’s no one’s decision but the snow’s when it goes away. And while Yuki jibes him about not being very good at science, I like to think that she gets what he’s saying, even if just a little. Unlike Hori and Miyamura at this point, Toru and Yuki stand to lift each other up, and if Toru turned Sakura down (which he seemed to do by not correcting her assumption about him dating Yuki), that’s because Yuki has also helped him to get over Hori and to feel desirable himself.
Seeing Toru and Yuki is sweet, and it also really draws a clear line between their relationship, nascent as it is, and Hori and Miyamura’s. Hopefully we’ll see more of them than the main couple in the final episodes of the series, because at this point, I’d rather listen to Sengoku wax eloquent about Remi’s window opening skills than see Hori and Miyamura continue their downward slide.
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