“I don’t care if I have to do errands all day or work for free. Please just let me be by your side.” – Kotoha!
What is this?! Did I suddenly jump into the Quantum Zone of some sort? Twice! Twice Kotoha displayed her need to be with Rena this episode! And no, I did not make that line up! Kotoha went and said those words to Rena! Right in front of their employee too, because we need a witness! And it might just be me but it seems he is not the only one in support of the Rena/Kotoha relationship. But more on this would be spoilers so let’ not go there, yet.
Since Kotoha seems speechless I will say it…BITCH-FUCKIN-PLEASE!
Those magical silent moments…
How can you say no to that Rena?!
Sad Kotoha is sad…
Try saying NO to this face Rena!
Boss: Should I leave?
Me: Yes, yes you should
How happy she looked!
Rena-san, why you shy-shy?
You know, I did not see it until now, and I am going to go back to those first four episodes and prove myself, but each episode, at least as of now, has a Rena/Kotoha moment. And that moment is always tuned up every other episode. This won’t make sense until I have written about episode six but I just want to mention this now since it was this episode that made me take notice of it. But before I get to that moment, let’s talk about the story so far.
As we might remember, episode 4 ended at a very high note with Kotoha finding out the secret her sister was hiding. Let’s be honest here, nobody saw that coming! If this episode did not touch upon it and just leave it up in the air, many, if not all of us would just dismiss it as an illusion. Sadly it was all so real! Kotoha’s sister has a real bad case of Imouto-complex that is so bad, it drove her to violently abuse Rena for getting Kotoha hurt.
Kotoha had believed what her sister had told her in the hospital. She had believed that Rena had not felt any compassion for her enough to come and visit. She had believed that Rena was not sorry for almost getting her to lose her life. Kotoha had spent a whole year in that hospital and not once had Rena called her or even visited her. Kotoha was not mad at Rena for not apologizing or getting her in danger at all. And as she herself tells Rena, she did not blame her in the least because Kotoha had insisted to come along that night with Rena. It was her own fault that she got hurt. Rena had tried to keep her safe and way but Kotoha had insisted.
No, I think we can all agree that what hurt Kotoha the most was the prospect of not having meant much at all to Rena that she would not even spare a moment of her time to visit her in the hospital, let alone give her a call. Sure they had not been together that long but she thought, and we knew, that the two had started up a connection between them. They weren’t so close that Kotoha cried about Rena not visiting her (which by the way I liked because it showed realism) or threw a tantrum about it. Still, she had been hurt inside and she admits that her sister’s words had gotten to her when she meets Rena again after a year.
So, Kotoha had been hospitalized for a year and when she got released, she went to live with her sister again, seemingly, no longer working at Rena’s place. As we saw last episode, she had stumbled upon certain maddening files on her sister’s laptop about Rena and it seems she had left things in the air for the rest of the night until the next day. She borrows her sister’s laptop again for some work but when she searched for the videos, only those of her in the hospital are left. But she doesn’t give up. Using some magic tricks she restores the videos and then begins to watch them.
I’m not sure exactly what to make of Kotoha’s expressions here, let alone he feelings as she watched the videos. What was she even thinking about as she watched them? Was she more shocked by what was being done to Rena or by who was doing that to Rena? It must not have been easy finding out that her sister had this side of her that Kotoha did not know, or did she? Oops, spoilers.
The videos of course were like a perverted version of DV (Domestic Violence). Apparently Rena had come multiple times to visit Kotoha but something happened and instead Kotoha’s Sister got all the visits. In those visits they would make Rena apologize to Kotoha all the while beating her like savages. If she wanted so bad for Rena to apologize to Kotoha, why not make her kneel in front of Kotoha herself and beg for forgiveness?! Yes, those monsters made her kneel, nay, it was more than that, they made her prostrate!!! All the while beating her senseless and even going so far as step on her head! Rena could have of course easily taken them out but they were Kotoha’s family so she had let them do that shit to her. It was painful seeing the videos but even more so seeing Kotoha try to watch them to drive the point home in her mind and always not being able to finish watching either video.
That is why when we see Rena first in this episode, her face is all purple and it had been a year meaning that those were not wounds from that night. She didn’t even get beat up that much that time like Kotoha. Actually during her first mission we see her on when she goes to the police to compare her detective notes to another, when she is done the guy brings with him a woman who hands Rena a flyer for helping those who are being exposed to DV. It would have been a funny scene, if this was a funny series. But it is not.
Back to Kotoha, as she is watching the last video her sister shocks her when she calls Kotoha’s name announcing that she is back from her shopping trip. But other than an initial startle, Kotoha is not that afraid. In fact she doesn’t even try to cover for herself and out right starts the conversation demanding what the hell she had just seen! Her sister replies with answers that do nothing but tell us of just how crazy she is – speaking of things like teaching Rena the value for life or something. Yeah, she was doing a very good job of that! Not denying it, she is the most hated character on this how for me. And here I thought it would be that other woman working at the same company as Rena but she is turning out to be no so bad.
Kotoha and her sister have an argument about Rena and the sister’s actions. Kotoha is so mad that she runs away and to Rena’s apartment. It sure wouldn’t have been the best time I wanted them to meet again after a year but it is good enough. It was night already so Rena was surprised to see Kotoha there on her doorstep as if she expected anyone else but her. There is this moment where Kotoha moves forward (probably to get out of the hallway and into the apartment) to bow and apologize to Rena. I thought for a second there that she was going to make the first actual contact with a HAGU! Even Rena looked like she took a step back but alas, Kotoha just bowed and apologized!
Speaking of which, I need to confirm something else when I r-watch those first four episodes. I need to find at what exact moment did Kotoha start calling Rena ‘Rena-san’ instead of Sasaki-senpai/Senpai! She calls her that here before she apologizes and it’s not a private thing. By that I mean that she doesn’t call Rena ‘Rena-san’ when they are just the two of them and ‘Senpai’ when with others. Even in front of their Boss she still called her Rena-san! When did she start calling her this?! Especially if we take into consideration the fact that they should be a bit farther apart in their closeness at this moment in time after the year of silence!
Speaking of names and titles, when she was being abused by Kotoha’s sister and her men, Rena was forced to refer to Kotoha as ‘Kotoha-san’. You would have thought that she would call her that later on, evne if as just a bit of habit. But Rena never uses titles with Kotoha at all and you could see that Kotoha was a bit happy to here that. Then again maybe it would have had more impact for Rena to call her Kotoha-san and then we would have seen a clearer reaction from Kotoha. Then we would have gotten a scene where Rena would get back to calling her just Kotoha and they would have this fluff scene where they smile stupidly at each other. Oh well, one stupid smile is better than no smile at all and that is what we got this episode.
The overall number of Rena/Kotoha moments this episode to me was three! The first one of course being the moment they see each other face to face after a whole year when Kotoha runs to Rena’s apartment in the middle of the night! Kotoha of course tells of Ren what she had found out and what Rena had gone through because of her, because of her sister. Meanwhile her phone is ringing non-stop and her screen is filled with missed calls from Neesan! And of course the first thing that popped into my head seeing that list of missed calls was that KumiRei scene when Kumiko finds all those missed calls from Reina.
Anyway after the talk Rena tells Kotoha to return home as her family will be worried. Just as any other sane person, Kotoha did not want to return to her sister right away and asks Rena to let her to stay here with her once again like before. Rena doesn’t say anything except look at Kotoha. Kotoha seems to take it as a ‘NO’ but asks if she could just stay the night. Rena lets her and Kotoha sleeps on the couch.
First of all I wish to express how these little details make me appreciate these two’s relationship a lot! Rena let Kotoha sleep on the couch with nothing but a light cover. It looks like such an uncomfortable way to sleep. She didn’t go out of her way to make Kotoha comfortable nor did Kotoha seem to expect something more. I really love this about their relationship. It was as if Kotoha did not mind whatever conditions would come along with it but as long as she got to stay with Rena, everything was worth it.
Then there is this moment when she first wakes up and examines the cover that was on her. On one hand I don’t want to believe that Kotoha had to sleep on the couch without a thing to protect her and Rena had to bring something to cover her with as she slept but on the other hand it would make for a nice moment. But this is not the moment I was referring to. The moment is the very action of Kotoha asking Rena to let her live with her again. The way she asked this sound way better in Japanese and it shows the first step of character growth from Kotoha. She is not the same girl that would have run away like before because of danger. You would think that after almost getting killed she would be more afraid to be associated with Rena but here she was, looking not to be so far away from Rena but rather to live with her again. This is the same woman that was ready to hightail it in episode one after that incident. And she wasn’t even hurt at all then.
It was her first attempt at making Rena let her move in again. She got denied but that did not deter Kotoha. She tries again at the office right in front of their boss and this time she puts more substance behind her desire to be with Rena. What she says is the opening quote where she is willing to do anything if it will mean Rena letting her stay by her side. Once again what she says sounds way better and has more meaning in Japanese. She adds that she wants to be strong and independent and that this was the first step in her making her own decisions and choosing her own path. The questions is that – what does all this had to do with Rena? Well, she does say that she wants to be strong like her but come on! When I heard her add that ‘first cliché line I have heard in the series so far, I thought of a certain butler’s words…
“That’s how it starts; the fever, the looks, the feeling of admiration, that turns straight women…gay”
Anyway, I was just so moved that Kotoha was brave enough to say these words not only to Rena, but in front of someone else. Their Boss says that he thought of her as taking a long leave and that Kotoha could return anytime he wanted. It was now up to her superior (Rena) to have the final say. The two stare at each other in silence, with Kotoha giving Rena the look and you just know Rena is gonna say yes! I mean come on, who can resist that!? Especially when those perfectly crafted lips of one Kawaguchi Haruna are involved?!
Rena stands up and starts to leave, in the process making Kotoha produce one of those puppy faces that hit me right in plexus! But thankfully Rena tells Kotoha to do as she pleases and all is right in the world again! That moment when Kotoha expresses her desire to stay with Rena was just so…hanyan! The two are back to working together and all that is left now is their living situation. Did this mean that Rena agreed to not only working together again but to live together as well? I guess future episodes will tell. Either way, it is during this scene that we get Kotoha’s first goofy smile. But it is not the goofiest, that award goes to the one that she gives a bit later on in their little office when Rena lets her tag along on her next mission. Seriously, she was so happy she evne skipped bit! Even the other fellow office worker had their attention robbed by the happiness floating in the air from Kotoha.
It is during this mission that the third and final Rena/Kotoha moment takes place. The two are tailing a detective and are planning to plant a GPS tracker on his truck once he stops at a shop. Kotoha volunteers to take on the task because the man already knew Rena and he would have suspected foul play. Judging by what happened, that was the greatest thing she had done, offering her help. You see when she goes to plant the tracker, she has trouble making it stick at the bottom of the truck. The man catches her but with her quick thinking she had dropped her lipstick and said to him that it was what she had been looking for. He says he will move his car and Kotoha is safe when the detective drives off.
If that had happened to Rena, she would have been fucked, well, not really, the mission would have because she could take out that guy easily. Then again being Rena had more experience, she would not have fucked up at all but as we all know accidents do happen! Kotoha returns to the car (looking less scared than I thought she would be) and Rena compliments her on her quick thinking. This makes Kotoha really happy, which is understandable because as she tells us, it is the first time that Rena has complimented her.
Who does that?! Who keeps tabs on when and how many times they are complimented? Well, Kotoha apparently. Meanwhile Rena is teaching Kotoha some tricks every time she can when they are on the job. She should be trying to keep Kotoha way from her world if she was serious on keeping her safe, well, that is what others would be doing, but instead she is bringing her in deeper. Meanwhile Kotoha’s sister is so against Kotoha seeing Rena that she is going mad about it. She even apparently called the offices multiple times stating her objections. You would think Kotoha was underage or something. Yep, we got ourselves one obsessive and crazy sister on our hands.
While I would like to jump for joy with all the Rena/Kotoha happenings of this episode, the ending goes and happens! You see there is this detective in the police department who is the generic goodie two shoes that always wins the girl by the end. I don’t like him at all so I am giving him the name ‘Dick’. Dick has a daughter who he looks after himself with the help of his mother from time to time because his wife died. He of course has an interest in Rena. The instant I saw him I felt a great dislike for him. This doesn’t board well. On one hand I am inclined to have the benefit of the doubt seeing as this series seems to focus on Rena and Kotoha’s relationship. I mean come on, the intro for this episode stated…
“The gears of their fate have begun turning once again”
Like, isn’t this Hibike the animation all over again? Despite the original story being straighter than the Irish Spire, the anime went and happened and all that started with the promotional material that had Kumiko and Reina as the focus. People still did not believe it and still can’t even after the series ended, that we could get a KumiRei story. And so with that I am ready to give the benefit of the doubt that Dick will have a chance with Rena, especially when he is just appearing into the mix now, which is like the middle of the series! And really, if they wanted a love interest for Rena, it could have been Boss man or the other guy working in the office across from Anti Detectives. But there was no romance there.
So yeah, that ending totally took some fun out of my viewing no more than 1% of the fun so it is tolerable. I just hope things don’t get worse from here on. Seriously, I would much rather Rena ended up with the other mentioned guys than him! If they get them together I’m gonna! Nah, it won’t happen! Rena has just found herself someone she can go back home to in Kotoha, she doesn’t need an already married man with a kid. Well, maybe he could die and Rena and Kotoha could adapt his daughter?
I am sorry dear Readers that was very inhumane of me.
Anyway, that is all about this episode. Kotoha has put her foot down in regards to the two. Now it is up to Rena to show that needs and wants Kotoha around just as much as Kotoha does her. I have a feeling it will take a long time until then because Rena is still broken. Good thing that Kotoha is the medicine and she is starting to cure Rena a little. We already know Rena cares for Kotoha but she has to show it to Kotoha and to us to make it real. Kotoha will bring this out of her. She will make Rena come out of her shell and she has already started doing it but it will take time (the whole series) for Rena to finally be at peace with her self and I will be there for each and every inch of the way.
PS: I still await the day a girl gets to kiss those dangerous lips of Haruna’s! Seriously, how exotic they look!