So finally we are on one of the most brilliant scenes in this anime. (If also the most contentious ) Kumiko and Reina’s date where they get to know each other and stuff.
You know, I’m actually a bit hesitant in commenting about this episode.
I think the appeal of the festival is the atmosphere – how it is built, the way the two leads bantered, the freaking BGM. Still, I don’t want to skip it since there are a lot of nuance and scenes that I just want to pick apart.
I don’t have much time as well to write this week so for now I would just like to talk about the way they dressed for the event and the Yuki-onna motif that will be attached to Reina.
And I’ll get to the rest later.
One thing is immediately clear, Reina went full out on this.
You can see it reflected on the way she dressed.
A one piece dress with heels? Specially since Reina knew that they are going on a freaking mountain hike unlike Kumiko? Reina dressed to impress. And then there is her punctuality to consider. I wonder if a certain someone is just a tad excited for this. ^^
To be honest if I don’t have access to Kumiko’s thoughts, I would say that Reina is showing more interest to Kumiko than vice-versa. After all, Reina more often than not will be the one initiating their intimate encounters. While Kumiko is certainly responsive, she’s not very overt on her actions.
While, there is certainly some influence of their personality in it. Reina is very very aggressive in pursuing what she wants while Kumiko has probably no idea what she wants in the first place and even then, I think Kumiko might be a bit retiring and passive in her pursuit.
Still, even with that caveat, I understand why many have said that the festival might be a bit jarring in what appears to be its sudden role reversal from Kumiko and Reina’s role in the beginning.
Kumiko the admirer and Reina – the fascinating thing in the distance.
This episode certainly turned that dynamic it from its head.
Now, its Reina who is the admirer and Kumiko – the one that is oblivious to it.
In Reina’s case, all is well, I’ve already expounded quite a bit of that in previous posts. Of how Reina’s interest in Kumiko has been building a bit in the background.
On Kumiko though, it feels a bit weird.
After all, it seems like from Kumiko’s action that her crush just disappeared into thin air.
Just like that.
For example. Look at t he way that Kumiko dressed. She was sporting an oversized t-shirt and shorts. We are even shown that Kumiko’s shoes is a bit worn. Heck, Kumiko came to the venue late.
Thinking deeper though.
I realized that Reina set the meeting point at the foot of the mountain so Kumiko would have probably dressed for comfort . And ten minutes late isn’t exactly a deal-breaker considering how remote the place is and how heavy the euphonium might be.
Then, there is also the unknown to consider. Reina didn’t tell what this outing is for except probably bring your Euphonium to the foot of the mountain. And we know Kumiko; she’s a pessimistic person. Kumiko thinks in worst case scenarios. She might be even wondering if this outing is going to be unpleasant in some way.
After all, why would Reina invite Kumiko?
I guarantee you that the true reason, Reina being interested in Kumiko has not crossed Kumiko’s mind one bit.
And its not like Kumiko’s attraction to Reina magically disappeared.
If Reina’s development comes from getting increasingly interested, Kumiko’s came in getting more courage and retaining her composure AKA not acting like a crazy person when Reina is in the vicinity. Being comfortable though, hasn’t changed Kumiko’s opinion of Reina.
And Kumiko’s thoughts are even more damning.
Kousaka-san’s snow white dress and the cool blue air filled my thoughts with the image of a snow maiden.
This must be what its like to lose your life, drawn to a beautiful thing despite your fear.
This show lol. Seriously, Kumiko, you got it bad.
And since its already mentioned, I would like to say that the Yuki-onna fits Reina really well. Not only as in appearance but her role in the story. Of course in this set-up, Kumiko is automatically cast as our very willing victim. ^^
Reina with her one piece white dress evoke a yuki-onna who is usually described as a “hauntingly beautiful naked woman with skin as white as snow, so white that her body blends into the snow with only her hair, eyes, and face visible. When not appearing nude, Yuki-Onna are said to wear white kimonos or other white clothing.”
Kumiko, on the other hand, with her baggy T-shirt and shorts has a mundane appeal making her association with the men who usually falls victim to the Yuki-onna stronger.
It really sets up their aesthetic designs quite well with one another. Reina as the feminine and Kumiko as the masculine; Reina with the supernatural and Kumiko with the mundane.
Beside this, as I’ve said before, Reina does play the Yuki-onna role in the plot as well.
Remember, the Yuki-onna is famous for waylaying travelers in the snow and killing them. But, like the Fey of western mythology, they can also fall in love with their victims (and even marry and have kids in some version!). When that happens instead of killing them, they extract a promise (usually not to reveal their true nature). The consequence of breaking said promise are usually dire as in “I will kill you” dire way.
Now, I’m sure the above summary of the myth is like a literal callback to a certain scene in episode 11 that I don’t need to expound on it. Instead, I would just like to point out the more metaphorical role that Reina took.
Like the Yuki-onna is famous for killing those who met her. Reina has been slowly metaphorically “killing” Kumiko over the course of the story. So much so that the Kumiko that we see at the end is a different person from the Kumiko that we see at the beginning. And if you carefully watch the changes, you’ll notice that its linked to Reina in some fashion. Heck, at the end of the festival, characters are gonna comment that Kumiko has changed and Kumiko will attribute it to at that night with Reina.
This is not a bad thing though. It is something positive and something that Kumiko personally wants. After all, didn’t Kumiko go to Kitauji to find a “new” her?
But, not everything on the Yuki-onna tale as transposed to Reina is positive.
There is one thing worrying about the myth for me. To those who managed to survive her encounter, there is always a “promise” or a “vow” extracted as a consequence. And in most of the stories, it usually extracts a promise that a mortal cannot help but break and thus the tale ends unhappily.
In here, Kumiko promises to stay with Reina till the end.
A simple scroll at fanfiction.net makes me think that a lot of authors have the same idea.
That simple statement is going to tested in the future methinks. Because if this is a fantasy story, Reina with her wish and innate need to be special is holding the role of a supernatural. Just simply being there (and keeping up) with Reina might turn out to be a insurmountable task.
…. In any case, I seemed to have wandered into unknown territory. So, I’ll end this post here.