Kare Kano – 14-16
Ep14 and the first half of ep15 remind me why I do not consider Kare Kano a top favorite of mine despite enjoying the first half so thoroughly. I mean, 1.5 episodes of recap? That is insane. Gainax really was something else around this time. At least it apparently guilted them into featuring minimal recap for a few episodes afterward. Eps 16-18 have no recap to speak of! Amazing!
So after all that wonderful recapping, ep15 picks up with Miyazawa hanging out with Hideaki and her sisters while her dad grumbles about a pervert like Hideaki being around his beautiful little girls. I’m trying to remember if something is done with Hideaki’s story later the in the series, but I am drawing a blank. This seems like a weird place to develop his character, though. Not really sure what to feel after hearing his story, actually. It is yet another in a string of people with family issues who revolve around the Miyazawa clan, but where there is development regarding Arima and Tsubasa, but Hideaki’s story kind of hangs there like, “Yeah, my family sucks, but oh well!” It is kind of strange.
The rest of the episode focuses on the growing complexity of Miyazawa’s feelings toward Arima. While Arima is away, Miyazawa seriously examines how she views him — she wonders if she has seen just one side of Arima this whole time. He is always so closed off, so guarded, so cool and calm that she cannot help but wonder that there is this huge part of Arima she has never seen before. This is something, I think, many people do not consider until they have not seen a person for a while, and they do not have much to keep them company but their thoughts. A person gets to analyzing every little thing about another person. “When he said this, did he really mean this? When he did this, did he really want to do this?” And so on, and so forth.
What Miyazawa draws from this is an uncertainty that she knows Arima as well as she believes she does, and an admittance to herself that when Arima is not around, she feels very weak. Her weakness, to me, is not so much that she is dependent on Arima, but more that Miyazawa is still growing into her “true” personality. It is related to all the things she has been feeling on the side the past few episodes — most notably about her friends finding their places in life, while she believes she has been studying for no real purpose. For most of Miyazawa’s life she has been living with this personality based purely on bravado; suddenly switching to another mindset that she has only in the comfort of her home is something that takes time to settle in, and Miyazawa is still in the process of settling in.
The toughest part of this process of settling in for Miyazawa is the realization that life is not simple. When she lived for nothing but grades and adulation, that is all she needed to think about. She never took into account the feelings of other people, or the complexity of the future, or anything like that. Miyazawa simply soaked in all the praise she received for helping people with homework and for looking like the smartest person in the world. But now she knows so many people who face many difficulties in life every day. She knows people who face the future with gusto. And she knows people whom she cannot completely read. And it scares her. Miyazawa feels small in the face of all this complexity. She feels afraid without someone to lean upon. I would feel kind of small, too, in her situation.
Ep16 is just a really sweet episode telling the story of how Miyazawa’s parents, Hiroyuki and Miyako, met, developed a relationship and then married each other. Perhaps not surprisingly, Hiroyuki continues the theme of broken/non-traditional families: After the deaths of Hiroyuki’s parents, Hiroyuki lives with his grandfather. They have a good relationship, although Hiroyuki later believes that he was selfish in his conduct with his grandpa and regrets not giving back more when he was given so much in his life. The ending is such a perfect piece of Miyazawa logic; it is pretty easy to see from whom Yukino inherited the clear vision of her love.
It is tough to say when kids really start thinking about how much their parents (or the people who raise them) love them. I mean, I have done a lot of dumb shit in my time, but I can look into the eyes of my parents and see how much they love me because I have grown into a relatively decent person. At the very least, isn’t that what every parent wants? For their children to grow up to be good people? All parents want their children to be as successful as possible, but it is that goodness that — I hope — parents want to see in their kids. It is what Hiroyuki and Miyako call “a love that flows” at the end of this episode.
Love really is something that flows. For humans, procreation isn’t simply an instinctive drive to keep the species going. Children are created through an act of love, raised through the continuation of that love and sent out in the world to find a love of their own. In an ideal world, love is something passed down through the generations. Love has a rich history in each family. Children are loved by their parents, who are loved by the grandparents and so on down the line. This is not always the case, of course, but one of Kare Kano‘s strongest messages is that when people put in the effort to love and understand one another, problems can be healed.