Kuragehime – 9

That certainly wasn’t the flashiest episode of this series in terms of huge belly-laughs or cosmic events, but it was a winner nonetheless. Discreetly charming and altogether winning, with a couple of great moments that stood out for me.

There are only two eps left and the writers don’t seem to be rushing things to get to a conclusion, which is fine – that would be out of character for the show. The manga is ongoing and if the ending is open-ended on the romantic front, that’s fine with me. The show is certainly doing a good job keeping me guessing on that topic – both Kuranosuke and Shu have relationship flags galore with Tsukimi and my guess seems to be switching back and forth every week.

Tsukimi certainly seems to be infatuated with Shu – she seems more devastated by Inari’s misinformation campaign than anyone else. While Kura is still focused on designing a jellyfish dress with Tsukimi, Inari is tightening the screws on Shu, who relents and takes her to meet his father. The father seems to buy her story, but Kuranosuke and Tsukimi happen along at an opportune moment and he immediately sees through her game. When she flashes her cell phone photo, however, Tsukimi fees in despair. Shu’s father calls in the PM to discuss damage control, although he seems more interested in the fact that Shu finally got laid.

Kura eventually winds up back at Amamizukan, where Tsukimi has gotten hopelessly drunk on one shot of sweet sake – talk about a lightweight! She falls into bed, dreaming of Clara and vast schools of Japanese nettles, and finally of her mother carrying her off to bed. In real-life it’s Kura, dressed straight except for a wig, carrying her to her room. That last scene was incredibly impactful – it didn’t hit me until after the scene started that it might be Kura carrying her to bed. It was a great, simply heartwarming moment – a straightforward display of love on his part and I think an important milestone for the series.

There are several interesting questions surrounding motivation that we’re left do ponder at the close of that episode. Inari, for starters – her motives seem straightforward. But her overzealous protests about her “virgin-killer” reputation and subsequent behavior after his status was revealed shows that her feelings are conflicted. I suspect she may be feeling a trace of guilt over fooling Shu into thinking his innocence was lost. She may also be increasingly obsessed with him as an actual romantic target – a true challenge. As for Kuranosuke, I’m intrigued by the fact that he seems, increasingly, to be wearying of woman’s clothes. He says it’s “a pain”, or they’re too cold, but in reality I think his feelings for Tsukimi are changing his feelings about himself. The fantasy world he created around cross-dressing suddenly has some real competition for his interest.  Being with Tsukimi – as a man – is usurping wearing a dress on his priority list. There’s no question he’s in love with her – and unlike Shu, in love with the real her. But so far Tsukimi has shown no romantic feelings towards Kura whatsoever, only Shu seeming to be in her sights romantically. As I said, they’re keeping me guessing on this one.

So, with two eps left, Inari is holding a couple of major cards. She can tell Shu the truth and let him move forward with his life, and she can back off Amamizukan and end the tension over the redevelopment deal. Or she could play her games to the hilt and drive dramatic tension right to the end. Will Kura confess to Tsukimi – and how would she react? When she and Shu find out the respective truths about the other, will love bloom there? I’m rooting for Kuranosuke myself, though I certainly sympathize with Shu. He seems to be in love with an idea rather than a person, whereas Kura is growing up before our very eyes through his love for Tsukimi.


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