Okay, this has been way overdue but I am glad I waited because the other day I was re-watching episode one after getting the second episode in HQ and I noticed something very, very interesting. Now of course this might as well be just the fruit of my CBS shipping heart but who cares. This is how I do things. I approach media with the couples that I dig and my ship in this drama is of course CBS.
Not to brag as well but notice how even my subconscious is great at detecting non-yuri? I am an avid shipper of Mayuki and if you are shocked by that, shame on you, but you must have noticed that I have not mentioned Mayuki in context of this show even before it aired! We knew nothing then but as if my conscious was looking out for me, I never even entertained the idea of Mayuki in this show, or as we should know it Mai/Kaoru!
Instead my mind was all on CBS AKA Mai/Maki. I have deluded myself more than I should already about this ship but then it was just my inner shipper going out of control basing my happies on just what could be instead of what has been.
Well, forget delusions! After the two episodes my delusions are seemingly on their way to becoming reality! Seriously, my jaw dropped the more Mai/Maki scenes we got and more of this when we get to episode 2 but for now, let’s stick with the first episode.
Before I go into it let me tell you that interesting something that I noticed. So we know Maki and Kaoru are the two leads. What is that something that every leading character has? A relationship. In some cases where it is a duo lead story like this, the two mains are usually put into the relationship and even when it looks like they aren’t, they eventually end up together because it was all for the drama. That is usually in romance stories.
Now, one might argue that Crow’s Blood is no romance story but all who have seen both episodes know what is going on with Kaoru and that Dude! Seriously by the end of the second episode Kaoru is ready to have that Dude’s babies! More on Kaoru’s side of things later.
So, they have obviously given Kaoru a love interest and no matter how you look at it, Kaoru/Maki is not happening! So Kaoru has her emotional corner covered that leaves the other lead Maki. What about Maki? Where is her emotional anchor? Are they going to leave her hanging while they take care of Kaoru so well? Is it because she is kinda zombie and thus unable to be in one? Bullshit! We have seen enough evidence to know that Maki has feelings. She is like Arcueid in Tsukihime/Melty Blood, or Alucard in Hellsing or the Wolfman or any other lead in the monster-led story. She is the Beast and so she must have her Beauty. In other story structures, the Beauty would have been Kaoru but we know now that is not the case in Crow’s Blood. In fact it couldn’t be farther from that.
Yes, Maki is going around kissing girls left and right (by the end of episode one – zero, but by two – four!!!) but of course there is no romantic meaning behind that, otherwise that last kiss in the second episode would make things super awkward!
And so there I was, re-watching the first episode and then going on to the second and then my brain exploded in wonderful chocolatey fireworks! I found the Beauty to Maki’s Beast. I found Maki’s emotional anchor. I found her relationship thread in a character that shocked me beyond belief…
Yes, I had had delusions of this before the series started but of course that was all in my mind and never did I think that there would actually be something to it until the shows began! My mind was completely blown! When that thought occurred to me it grew like a cancer. It could not let go of me to the point of actually, actually, having a dream of this ship! I might not convince you as I might need more evidence with the following episodes and actual results, which might not really happen but let’s take it step by step and begin with this first episode…
Now, I do not watch romance anime but I remember reading about the use of classroom seating as a trope. There is the main character always sitting by the window but we are not interested in that, rather, we are interested in the couple always sitting front and back of each other.
Usually the ‘Top’ sits in the back seat which I guess means that Haruhi is the top in that relationship (of which there is no doubt). Oh by the way, yes, I watched Suzumiya Haruhi. One of my names on the internet is in fact Suzumiya Yuki derived from my ship in that fandom of Haruhi and Nagato Yuki! Hell, I have written fics about that ship (even though it is dead now >.<) and so that is the only one I could use as an example with screencaps. Just in case anyone was wondering!
Maki, definitely the Top, gets to sit behind Mai. This is not a setting to take lightly. They could have easily put Maki behind Kaoru, to make her even more uncomfortable than she already is with Maki and Maki is the type to stare out windows (which she does actually even from where she is sitting) but the writers chose to seat her behind Mai. Coincidence? I think not!
Also as a side note, i wish to point you dear Readers to the amount of interest Mai is showing in Maki by following her with her eyes. Sure the others are doing it too and I might be reading more into this but Mai’s interest seems somewhat different from the rest. It is not simply passing curiosity and we will get back to this a bit later but for now, think of it.
Next up is the rooftop scene. Yes, in case anyone wasn’t aware, Crow’s Blood posts are going to be heavily centred on Mai/Maki I am sure there are plenty other blogs discussing the plot and all that. Plot means very little to me when I watch something so…um…yeah.
In this scene we get to see Mai and everyone else for that matter, finally speak to the new creepy transfer student. Here too of course I noticed something that knocked me side-ways! But first thing that caught my attention was the little bit at the beginning that did not hit me at all until I got to episode two. Mai even here, defended Maki without knowing it nor intending to.
This happens when blubber mouth Hikari comes over to join the group and brings with her rumors, which according to Mai, seems to be a trait of hers. The rumours are of course about the new transfer student Maki. Mai dismisses the rumours defending Maki by saying that she is just an introvert (JFYI – introverts are not shy people).
Of course the others don’t let the conversation die because let’s be honest, Maki is super creepy so seeing Mai here – obviously the brains of this operation dismissing that glaring trait of Maki’s is kind of telling, isn’t it?
This then gets Mai teased by Hikari who wonders if that means Mai will be rooming with Maki on the up-coming field-trip. In Mai’s answer to this I wish to point out something akin to a trope actually, where she refuses with certain, that it would never happen! That she would never be mates with Maki. usually when this happens, in say anime, when a character denies adamantly about something, that something usually ends up happening, most times the next transition shows them doing that exact thing they swore would never do.
So where am I going with this? Well, if that trip really ends up happening, which I think it will since there is a scene in the trailer with the girls on a bus, how much are you willing to bet, dearest Reader, that Mai will end up being paired with Maki? The second episode will shade more light on this but for now let’s keep it at the cliché side of possibilities.
Now of course Mai deflects this towards Kaoru by saying that she would be the one to room with Maki and says the two seem like they would hit it off as besties. Yeah, we just saw Yukirin teasing Mayuyu!! What is the world coming to?!!
The next point of reflection is when Maki comes onto the scene. Just after the teasing (I guess too now we know who that smile was directed at. Even though it was in teasing Yukirin couldn’t help adding in that Mayuyu-only affection, could she?) Kaoru, Mai’s chop-stick holder slips off the table and fall to the ground. She turns to pick it up but someone is there bending over to help her. In this instance I wish to point out two things.
First we once again see the curiosity Mai has towards this new mysterious transfer student. The camera focused on her face during this for a reason. Not on the items being picked up, not on the person doing the picking up, and even if they still wanted to use that stupid sound queue at the reveal (like no one knew who that was) they still could have just focused on Maki’s dark silhouette instead of just Mai’s face.
Next we go over to Maki. This was the first and one of the few ‘good’ deeds that Maki has done in these two episodes. Anything else she has done labels her as a villain and apart from her father, when she was still alive anyway, you won’t believe it but the even the other good deeds she did were also towards the same person. But we are jumping ahead of ourselves here.
Third, we have read Mai’s character bio. She is, to put it plainly, a bitch character! Despite having tried to protect her, when Maki got there Mai had just got done making fun of her, saying that she would never be buddies with Maki. If you have seen the two episodes you know what has happened when someone gets on Maki’s bad side. Hell, Kaoru was just saved by the bell too, so to speak (this is in episode 2). And so to see her do this nice thing, to a character like Mai, who should be the first victim otherwise, being the leader of this pack and all, give me pause. Even when Mai tries to tell her to fuck off (who gave you permission to sit next to me!) Maki doesn’t put Mai on her hit-list.
Having watched the episode a few times, I have now come to the conclusion that even though it might have started even before this moment, even though there might be a history between these two that can explain this mystery…it was in this moment that I first noticed Maki’s, let’s call it interest, in Mai. Even as Maki says that she believed she will get along with them, all of them, her eyes were glued on Mai’s. Reading too much into things? Maybe but hold on a second…
Fourth, and this is what I noticed earliest in the first watch, and I am not sure if it was intentional or just a decision on dialogue distribution, the latter being an ass-pull, did you all notice that when Kaoru, the protag, asked Maki about the reason for her transfer she said simply – I don’t know. Totally playing oblivious and even looking off into the distance. But then Mai asks her the same thing indirectly, actually she did not ask, but Maki went ahead and told her the reason why she transferred (being that it had to do with her father’s work)?!!
Did nobody find that interesting?
And oh Lord, it was probably nothing but Kaoru’s face when Maki chose to talk to Mai instead of her…LOL I don’t know who she was more jealous of. She was probably fighting real hard to project the inner Mayuyu. More on this later towards the end of the scene. Nothing is safe from Mayuki!
Anyway, the left hook comes to Kaoru in the next moment when Mai asks Maki what her father’s job is. No feigning ignorance this time as she answers Mai that her father is someone trying to be God.
And no, I am not forgetting about all the eye-sex going on between Mai and Maki in this scene! Seriously, I think they have made more eye-contact in this scene alone than all their previous years together in the 48G! I kid you not! With episode two, things get to >9000!
Fifth, we get to see more of that inner Mai that we heard about – the sheep in a Lion’s clothing that was in her character description. For me it started with those looks, the way she was looking at Maki. Then the way she tried to defend Maki from being talked about negatively, even though she soon joined in (Hey, she has to keep her cover as bad girl).
This happens again here when Maki starts bleeding from her nose just as she begins to eat her lunch. Notice that Mai let her sit there next to her anyway. Her reaction to seeing the black blood is of course not nice but one shouldn’t be looking at the scene on face value. Kaoru seemed like the hero by staying calm and helping Maki, like it was a usual thing to see someone bleeding black blood, but was she really! Is Kaoru really such an angel of a character? I think not but again, that time will come.
My attention was on Mai and even though I was rubbed the wrong way (I already said that the phrase she said – Kimoi- is one of my most hated words in the Japanese vocab) I saw something else too and this something actually was brought clear to my attention by Maki. Even though Mai called Maki disgusting, or more the act of bleeding than Maki herself, she did say Maki should go to the infirmary or something. Her inner sheep came out and Maki recognized it, instead of the fake venom in her words.
Though this might be too soon, I need it to make a point so let me refer to the second episode. We find out that one of the things that Maki hates is being seen as broken, a monster, anything inhumane. A certain couple died when they called her a monster in episode two but where was that reaction here from Mai’s outburst? Instead what Maki heard was Mai’s worrying and advice to go to the infirmary, to which she answered that she did not know where it was, having only transferred. This prompts Kaoru to volunteer to take her.
And Finally, to close off the roof top scene, we get that moment where, as Maki is being helped up by Kaoru, she turns slowly, looks up at Mai and smiles at her. Why? Why Mai? Shouldn’t that smile be shown to Kaoru in appreciation of her care? Nooo! Hell, I don’t even think Maki spared Kaoru a glance. She didn’t even say thanks to Kaoru, not for the tissue nor for the helping hand or even volunteering to take her to the Nurse’s Office! Nope! Her attention was all on Mai, even going so far as to give a smile, even though it came off as creepy.
And riddle me this? Why did the director decide to focus on Mai’s reaction after that smile?
All this evidence tells me one thing and that is that there is something brewing between these two. It may simply be Maki’s parallel arc as protag to Kaoru’s in regards to relationships or maybe there is a history there, secrets all waiting to be spilled and if there are, Maki definitely knows them already which might explain her strange intrigue with Mai.
Think that is some substantial evidence? Well, we are not done yet.
Next up is the infamous ‘Seduction’ scene in the changing rooms. Let’s put the obvious fact that both Mai and Maki have the same interest and skill which is running out on the plate first. By the way, I heard some people making fun of Yukirin and Sakura-tan being the best athletes in Crow’s Blood when they are in the sucky camp in real life and I wish to correct this misconception. Yukirin doesn’t suck at sports, she is just not into sports. Actually she is above average when it comes to running. If you watched the first sports meet she was actually pretty fast, then. Just felt like mentioning that.
Anyway back to the changing rooms, the scene begins with the girls of course still talking about Maki. Mai’s frustration comes through when she hears they are still talking about the new girl. Why is she so ticked off? She is supposed to be having fun picking on the weirdo but she is not.
Even more so a sign in her caring for Maki, when the girls ask Kaoru how Maki is doing (remember they went to the infirmary) and Kaoru says that she thinks Maki is fine, Mai rebuts it saying there is no way she is fine after what they had seen, and she is right. Even though she follows it up with a jab at Maki having brought a virus with her from America, all I had was an ‘aww’ smile on my face because Mai was worried about the new girl.
And then during this, Maki decides to walk in and the room falls silent. Once again the director orders the cameraman to focus on Mai as she watches Maki who is starting to undress to change into her gym clothes. The others take glances too but not only does the camera just smooth over them then settle on Mai – Mai who is still watching Maki, but even as Kaoru tries to kill the sour mood by changing the subject to the lecherous teacher and thus getting the others’ attention away from Maki, Mai doesn’t join them She doesn’t look away. Instead she continues to watch Maki and eventually she speaks out to Maki.
She carelessly asks Maki if she is actually thinking of going out running. All I could hear was her worry in asking this. She is worried because she thinks Maki is not well enough to be running out in her condition. Maki says that she loves it when she runs. Once again Maki tells something of herself to Mai. Remember, someone was about to be pushed off a building for digging into Maki’s life and someone did get pushed off a building for making assumptions and playing with the fate of Maki’s life. And later in episode 2 we shall see that apparently Maki doesn’t like talking about herself and yet with Mai, she is almost just throwing out pieces of it like it was nothing.
Things could have ended there but Nami (Miion) had to shoot her mouth off by saying Mai was the holder of the fastest running record in the school and that there was no chance Maki could beat her. We learn later through Aoi’s (Annin) research on Maki that Maki was a major athlete when she was alive and Maki reinforcing that earlier when she said she loves to run, it was obvious that the challenge would pique her interest. If anything, all she took from this was that Mai had something in common with her.
That smirk on Mai’s face at the praise tho >.<
Queue the lap-dance song from Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof as Maki makes her way, half-naked, without a bra, towards Mai, probably getting wet at the prospect of finally facing a challenge in what must have been quite a while, and…
Okay, is it getting hot in here or is it just me?
Maki invades Mai’s personal space but before you roll your eyes thinking of the other times and to the other girls she has done it to, let me tell you now that there is a difference. In other times when Maki got into Aoi, or even Kaoru’s personal space, it was to intimidate and with harmful intentions. In Mai’s case it is different. The difference is more obvious in the next time Maki does it but that is in episode two so sticking to episode one, first of all Mai is playing a role here. She is the leader of this little group in the changing rooms. They are all there, and thus there is no reason for Mai to be or display signs of fear and thus as none of the others know of what Maki is capable of yet, they have no reason to fear her and if there was harmful intentions, they could have come to Mai’s rescue if that were the case. By deduction I don’t think Maki was intimidating Mai here. It was more of a curiosity or even coaxing a challenge for that missed adrenaline rush in a race.
And of course, as I like to think of it, Maki using it as an excuse to seduce Mai with her nice boobs (they have to be nice if she is proud of them enough to flaunt them). Seriously, what was with that hair gesture? That is like, 101 of seduction. A girl placing her bangs behind her ear as she stares into your eyes can only mean one thing!
Ah but what do I know? I am just a shipper?
And let’s not forget that Mai actually did fall to temptations and looked down! She totally looked! Just like Sook-hee couldn’t resist looking down on Hideko in the bath (FYI)!
As for the race, Mai did lose to Maki but instead of following the trope of the Queen bee losing her shit and being out for Maki’s blood, which always ends badly for the QB, Mai simply storms off (giving a piece of her mind to that cotton mouthed Nami) she doesn’t display ill-er feelings towards Maki. In fact the direction of their relationship is shocking but once again, I am jumping ships here.
I can hear some of you going, yes, that is all well and good but what of the other possibilities? Well, the only other two so far are Aoi or deluding one’s self a lot, add on Kaoru on that list. If there is anyone still thinking of the Maki/Kaoru ship sailing let me say my piece as to why I do not think that is happening.
First off no matter what Kaoru seems to say, her actions show us plainly that she is really afraid of Maki. By the end of the second episode the fear might even be in the lines of terror. But staying with the first episode, most looks we got from Kaoru in regards to Maki were all filled with fear. The Classroom scene, the corridor scene where even Maki mentions the fear to Kaoru to the hospital scene.
Next there has been two instances where Maki has extended her hand to people. The second one is in the second episode so it will have to wait but in this first one we have seen that Kaoru not only turned down Maki’s offer but she also turned tail and ran away, leaving Maki standing there alone. We know Maki has feelings and this thing she has going where she turns people into her buddies has to have stemmed from somewhere. So it shouldn’t be hard to know that Maki might have been hurt by that, even though she did not show it and covered it up with a smile.
Kaoru is also already aligned herself against Maki. They are already enemies. Kaoru thinks of herself as the hero and Maki as the villain that she has to keep from her friends. She has already done things that would make their ‘relationship’ impure or in layman’s terms – bullshit. More on this gap between the two in the second episode.
But the most important point against this ships is that photographer Dude, or whatever his profession is. Kaoru is already head over heels in love with him. And even though it seemed one-sided in the beginning, by the end of episode 2, well, let’s just say, not so much.
In other words, Maki/Kaoru happening would make absolutely no sense whatsoever.
But what about Maki/Aoi? Yeah, I don’t know what happened there but despite Aoi apparently being a behind-the –curtains slut, even seeing the PE teacher, sure turned tables real first after she got ‘infected’! And I just went into episode 2 territory now, didn’t I?
Well, for now just know that Maki/Aoi is not a healthy option either. More on this in episode 2.
As for the other ships? Well, the Chisa/Shinobu (Yuihan/Jurina) pairing is quite interesting, and really the only one present apart from the curious Mai/Maki and the deranged Maki/Aoi. These two are super crazy and the fact that they did not get traumatized after the Aoi incident, them two being in the middle of ground-zero, really puts the crazy in them. Also we learn something interesting to support this fact later on in episode two. I will of course be keeping an eye out on the two and unlike some, I quite love their characters here.
And there you have it. That is what went through my mind watching Crow’s Blood episode 1 (and 2). Seriously, I was only dreaming of the prospect CBS being teased and then this went and happened!! Like, how even? I swear if my theory actually pans out I am taking 2016 with me!