What's on Mitsuki's Mind?
Here we go, a question. In episode 3, which is the first time we see the present day storyline, we recognise that Mitsuki and Takayuki are now together and they are enjoying their relationship. It is also the first time that Mitsuki has ever gone to Takayuki's place of work to see what he does for a living. Remember, it's the scene in the resteraunt, the very first, where she waves at him from one of the seated areas.
As she's walking with him to the pub where they're to meet Shinji, she makes comments about him looking like he's having fun, which he brushes off but she pursues it. Hitting a brick wall, she merely glances away and looks concerned. Something's troubling her and it could to be something to do with his work.
Now, the conversation with Shinji is hilarious as he makes a few comments about Takayuki's work and all the while he is, we get a shot of Mitsuki to monitor her reaction. It seems somewhat strange to just watch Mitsuki eating, but there is possibly a reason for this. Shinji makes numerous comments about the attractiveness of the waitresses at the Sky Temple, to which Takayuki (again) brushes aside. Shinji's reply is "You're acting like you don't know!" and just watch Mitsuki's reaction, it's hilarious, she immediately zeroes in on it. Topic changes to her work and the meal goes on.
That night after saying goodbye to Shinji, Mitsuki, looking somewhat embarassed, cuddles up to Takayuki and asks if it is ok to stay over at his, obviously expecting more than to be just tucked in. It's particularly interesting that Mitsuki has an early start at work the following day and it would traditionally be a day where she'd stay at home, instead of Takayuki's. I believe this was done to demonstrate Mitsuki wanting to see more of Takayuki for a very particular reason.
Anyway, one lack of a shower later and they're in bed. Mitsuki wants to spend more and more time with Takayuki, wanting to see him for the aquarium's opening and then proposing to move in with him. He makes excuses and the following morning, he asks her to move in with him. She blunders some excuse and leaves, leaving him hanging, and when she does she passes comment on the flat being exactly the same as it was three years prior. She then calls him at work to have him meet her at the station and they go to a resteraunt. Here, she asks Takayuki for confirmation of his love for her. She's obviously worried he doesn't really, but he gives her an affirmation. Now, she doesn't care about his place being so similar to how it was three years ago and decides to move in. Immediately cheered up, they instantly leave and she attaches herself to his arm for the walk back to the station. Now, there's a confrontation with Akane here but it is clear that Mitsuki has no qualms about moving in with Takayuki - it is only after that she then defers in episode 4.
In episode 4, they begin the search for a new apartment and then are getting along famously until Haruka awakens.
So, what's troubling Mitsuki in episode 3? The fear that their relationship is stagnating? The lack of significant progress? That Takayuki doesn't really love her? That he's having 'too much' fun at work? Why does she visit his work? Insecurity?
It's interesting to try and grasp at Mitsuki's state of mind in this episode, as it is essentially a long time after Haruka had any real bearing on their relationship and it is an interesting look at how their relationship progresses normally in its most natural state. Are her insecurities overwhelming her doubts? Has she really picked up that Takayuki doesn't really love her already and is only dispensing token gestures of affection? She seems pretty easily placated!
There's certainly one big question on her mind: "Does he really love me?" The shaky foundation of their relationship (see episode 5) hasn't escaped her mind, so she's looking for a sign to show that they've really progressed and moved on, and is asserting herself hoping to bury her doubts. She's wondering, "If Haruka's really in the past and long-forgotten, then what's the problem? Why are we stuck on this plateau?"
At first, Takayuki's apartment doesn't seem much like a step forward given all that's happened there over the years. But if Takayuki really does love her (as he asserts), and really has moved on, then (she reasons) it should be a non-issue for her as well. She can't be worried about the relationship not moving forward and then be the one to stop it when he makes a step. Visiting his work is also way of asserting herself as she seeks to confirm his feelings for her (the theory being, I've known you all this time, so why should your work be off-limits?).
Anyway, I may have over-simplified the explanation (I'll re-watch the episodes once the R1 DVD arrives, so I might revise/expound/clarify), but that's at least the basic way I interpreted those episodes.
In the context of the rest of the series, you're entirely correct, and given what we know about the backstory leading up to that point and the nature of Takayuki's and Mitsuki's relationship, it makes perfect sense to have them experiencing difficulties. However, the nature of their difficulties, at that point in the narrative, are not clear. Certainly if you consider in the simple fact that Takayuki never had a chance to finish things with Haruka you'd have grounds to believe that alone is the root of their problems, but it demonstrates that this series does not follow a linear narrative and attempting to gain a better understanding of the characters and the motivation for their actions based on merely the first three episodes is next to impossible. You can have theories, but sometimes the truth is entirely different. Mitsuki's depth of insecurity, for example, is only really expounded during the remainder of the series.
Perhaps that's what makes this series so realistic? The fact that in real life it takes a lot more than simply a contingent series of signposted events to decipher a person's character? Each of the main characters' motivations for their actions are revealed over time and it is essentially impossible to discover why they choose to perform in a certain way without getting access to the facts of their experience. The reason I bring this up is because it makes the series harder to watch in a simple sequence rather than to be seen, digested, and rewatched. It's more rewarding for the repeat viewer in this respect because in retaining its realism it makes it harder for people to get to grips with the characters and the nature of their actions. It's two children fighting over who gets to finish the jigsaw puzzle and one of them sitting on the piece with the sun on it so they get to finish - you'll never get the full picture until every piece has been filled in.
I guess if there's a lesson to be taken from Kiminozo and the way its narrative is structured it's that old psychoanalytic mantra - 'there are no accidents'. The motivation for the actions of the characters, while seemingly illogical in some incidents, are always provided either before, at the time, or after the sequence of events in which they occur. For example, Mitsuki's infidelity with Shinji backfires enormously because Takayuki knows that it only occurred because he let her stray too far from him with his ignorance of her, whereas the intention was for Mitsuki to make Takayuki jealous (and he could only be jealous if he thought that the indiscretions were a genuine threat to his relationship - and he knew that they were not) and prove his love for her. Mitsuki's reasons for doing the deed, and subsequently Takayuki's lack of a reaction, are explained differently. We see the idea being planted in Mitsuki's mind by Ishida on the roof of her workplace, and we only recognise why Takayuki let Mitsuki walk out upon his talk with Shinji.
Tests in love are not uncommon and entirely normal between couples. In fact, they're a healthy thing because in order for a relationship to progress sacrifices have to be made and the risk of failure has to be present. Should they fail, the fragility of the relationship is exposed and the placeboic nature of coasting along like flotsam is revealed (i.e. everything's fine because nothing's going wrong). Relationships don't run in neutral - if you're not working on them, they're getting worse. Mitsuki's attempts to assert herself in Takayuki's life are not ultimatums in this respect because all he has to do is bend in her direction, an action which has minimum impact upon his own life, and carry along much as before. If anything, it took Haruka's interjection for the love of the two to be confirmed, and it was. It took Haruka's waking for the two to move to the next step of their relationship. It took a test as difficult and as long lasting for the two to progress as individuals as well as a couple.
This is why Ishida's point about 'living life' is so important throughout the series. It reflects so-called 'fourth-way' thinking in that life without sacrifice or struggle is nothing, and that the future, quite apart from the past, is intimately tied in with the struggle to make something for oneself. The reasons for these 'tests', in love and in life, however, are not always revealed immediately and that to understand the reason for them essentially negates their purpose (because its not a test if you understand the immediate nature of how to succeed - it's merely a task). The love of Mitsuki and Takayuki was tested to breaking point but their enduring quality as a couple remained intact (if perhaps, for all the 'wrong' reasons). Not every relationship survives such tests (and it will probably not be the only one Mitsuki and Takayuki face in their lifetimes) but in doing so it confirms their love of one another. Sometimes the road less travelled is the most important/profitable.
So, what's my point? Nothing really. It's just that attempts to analyse the characters' motivations in Kiminozo by adhereing to established notions of a linear narrative structure is next to impossible, as is the case in real life, and that sometimes it is better, in the context of a relationship, to not understand a person's reasons for doing what they do if it means a confirmation of their love.
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