Sasameki Koto – 8
There is sometimes a tenuous line between fantasy and reality. Some people dance completely across that line because fantasy is preferable to reality; however, there almost always comes a time when a person needs to be yanked back into reality for his or her sake. But what is the best way to do this?
Aoi Azusa is lost in her fantasy. She likes girls, but her idea of romance is the delicate, secretive type of romance expounded upon in the Maria-sama ga Miteru-esque books written by her favorite author, Orino Masaka (the pseudonym of Ushio’s brother). In Aoi’s mind, romance is best enjoyed when only the two people sharing it know about it — when she describes a fantasy of two lovers meeting on the outskirts of campus, the voices of the other students both close and faraway, it’s easy to see Aoi has quickly developed a crush on Murasame, and is probably casting Murasame headlong into one of her fantasies at that very moment. (Ironically enough, the scene Aoi conjures somewhat mirrors the first scene of the series, where Murasame and Ushio stumble upon Tomoe and Miyako kissing in the classroom.)
One of Sasameki Koto‘s major themes so far is keeping oneself hidden versus opening oneself up for the world to see. Tomoe and Miyako have the confidence needed to let people see who they really are without being ashamed of themselves. (I like the added touch that while Tomoe has no problem with people knowing she is a lesbian, she also refuses to be a circus sideshow for random students to gawk at.) Murasame still needs to climb the hurdle of revealing her innermost feelings to Ushio. But Aoi . . . like Akemiya and self-confidence, Aoi takes a problem Murasame has (not being completely open with her true self) and amplifies it to the hilt.
Aoi looks at the line between fantasy and reality, breaks across it and never looks back. Everyone needs their secrets, of course, but Aoi completely bases her idea of love on a fantasy that requires her to live her life two different ways: One in which she presents a “respectable” face to everyone around her, and another in which she reveals her true self only to the person she loves. Her love is a love not meant to be viewed by the wider world. And that is just the way she seems to like it.
What makes Aoi’s behavior a bit more interesting is that it is somewhat difficult to tell if she truly believes Tomoe’s behavior is outrageous and shocking, or if she is simply playing the part as a way to keep distance between herself and her classmates. (Maybe it is a little of both, although it is kind of funny that Aoi reads her book almost conspicuously. Her reaction to Murasame’s recognition of Orino Masaka probably indicates that she has been waiting for someone to come along who would “understand” her and fit in with her fantasy.) Aoi likes girls, so it is safe to assume she does not believe being a lesbian is wrong in and of itself. But her fantasy cries out as an attraction to taboo behavior, a desire for something that belongs to her and one other.
That is the part that screams “unhealthy” to me — that Aoi may be attracted to the idea that her fantasy is taboo as much as she may be attracted to the person with which she wishes to share her fantasy. Now, there is nothing particularly wrong with pursuing love and pleasure in a way that is outside the norm. But Aoi goes beyond that; she’s practically built her entire life around this idea of hidden, forbidden love. Aoi doesn’t need to be “wild and untamed” like Tomoe, nor does she need to completely throw away her fantasies; however, there should be a balance between the two. There is a time to be open and a time to be secretive, just like there is a time for fantasy and a time for reality.
Not a bad episode this week. I wrote extensively on Aoi mainly because aside from finding her a bit interesting, I also scratched my head a bit at Ushio’s actions this episode. I’m warming up to her still, but she is so incomprehensible sometimes. Glad the episode only teased the tired “stairway mishap misunderstanding” plot device, but Ushio’s real reason for crying is just as silly as that, anyway. Then again, she could just be — gasp! — falling for Murasame a bit more (as the past few episodes have hinted), but she doesn’t really understand it yet, so she’s trying to rationalize those feelings with some other reason. Either way, at least Murasame can kind of sense that Ushio might be swinging her way.