Despite ecchi elements surely turning some people off, Citrus reminds us that love is a complicated thing and so is figuring out how to handle your attractions/affection for someone.
A Selfish Love: Shou, Mei, Yuzu
For a long time, it seemed Shou made a selfish move. He dropped everything and decided to go see the world. Release himself from all expectation and live off the riches of the family. However, that isn’t the case. More so, it seemed, after sacrificing his happiness, slowly killing his passion for teaching with strict rules and procedures, he sought freedom. A freedom he wanted Mei to experience with him so that she wouldn’t have to learn it when she reaches his age.
Unfortunately though, at least at the time, she saw sacrificing one’s happiness for what seemed to be the greater good as honorable. After all, that was how she was raised. So with her seeing her dad happier, yes, but not in a suit, very chill, and a man who is very unfamiliar, with no desire to return to the academy, it hurts. It hurts to the point she takes out her pain on Yuzu.
How? Well, in the way she always has. Mei, since she lacks the tools to express herself outside of crying, which she seems barely comfortable with doing around others, pushes for intimacy. Not the valuable kind of a hug, asking someone to listen, or anything like that. Instead, she pursues the idea of sex as a distraction from a bigger problem. Hence why she pushes Yuzu down, as she seeks to comfort her, and is grabbing on one of her breast and having her hand down her pants. She’s dysfunctional.
A Selfless Love: Yuzu, Mei, Shou, Harumin
Which is why Yuzu smacks the mess out of Mei. Thus sending her to a bit of a dark place for this denial of sex, the main way Mei, for reasons still unknown, copes, is the 2nd big rejection of her day. And this leads to us, the viewer, seeing how to perhaps properly handle devastation. For with Mei and Yuzu’s hot and cold relationship messing with Yuzu’s head, she stops Harumin trying to initiate banter and reveals she is in pain. Which, in return, leads to Harumin consoling her friend for, like Yuzu, though Harumin can be playful and silly, she is much more mature than she seems.
In fact, she is not only mature but helps Yuzu get how she can help Mei. It isn’t by trying to be the sister she honestly doesn’t want to be, but someone who can show her affection, call her out when the moment requires, yet be patient and consistent. Since, in my mind, the heart of the issue is Mei wants consistency and between living with Yuzu, and the girl herself, Mei’s life isn’t what it used to be.
So, to help Mei be better and do better, she starts off with the basics. Recognition of the work she does and asking her to take the first steps of healing her relationship with her father. Which works! Those two hit the restart button to their conversation 5 years ago but with more perspective and life experience. Thus allowing a new chapter to begin where Shou isn’t her teacher anymore but her father.
I Want To Know What Love Is, I Want You To Show Me: Yuzu, Mei
With Yuzu doing what she has done, helping Mei to mend her relationship with her father, once again there is an initiation of intimacy. However, unlike many times before, there is no rush and it isn’t to mask or deal with some trauma that doesn’t want to be addressed. It is purely to show affection and both realize there is something different here now.
But, just as they make a turn for the better, it seems a friend from Yuzu’s past, Matsui, will possibly mess all we have been working towards. Bummer.
I’m not even going to pretend I fully understand the whole “Best Girl” phrase, but if it means what I think it does, give Harumin the title. For really, since the beginning, she has been down for Yuzu no matter the topic. Be it sneaking in school, helping her understand the dynamics and how to get around rules, and even being willing to experiment with lesbianism with her – if she wanted to. But, the more comical bits aside, she is also there for Yuzu in a way like no other. She is there for when Yuzu isn’t willing, or mentally able, to be her usual jovial self and tries to make things better. Whether it is the small act of just holding her close and letting her know things will be okay, or letting her use her bike or ride her to someplace.
It is this effort that really helps Yuzu realize what Mei needs and it makes you hope that Harumin isn’t just giving Yuzu what she would want, but does have someone who does this for her.
With us being halfway through the season, you have to admit there has been a nice bit of character growth. We have gotten past the superficial and have learned not just who Mei, and Yuzu to a point, were when we first met them, but also some idea of their past. Thus, leading us to understand how they have become the way they are. Yuzu is carefree because her mom is and with her dad dying, there is this sort of, YOLO vibe. With Mei, being that her mom and dad are divorced, how strict her family is, and how much she admired the intelligence and sophistication of her father, hence her personality.
Of which has sort of unraveled, in terms of Mei, since now she seems more capable of being carefree – without necessarily being reckless. Then for Yuzu, with her father’s death, and with Harumin complimenting her, as a character we have seen her mature if not reveal her mature side. Making her seem less of a stereotype and more of someone who represents not to judge a book by its cover.
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