Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Marimite 4th 11: The Real Touko

This episode is hard to summarize but a lot of stuff happens, mainly around Touko, and it all ends up with her realizing, uh, something.... Oh and yeah, Noriko is awesome!
EPISODE 11: The Heart's Keyhole
More Screencaps from Maria-sama ga Miteru 4th 11

We begin this episode with a heart-rending scene between Touko and her mom. Apparently, Touko's mom has been worried sick over Touko having run away from home in Christmas and is still not over that existential malaise. Our beloved tsundere is wearing a sad little face, clearly regretting her actions. Later, Touko runs into her dad on her way out of her mom's room. She apologizes and this is clearly not the first time she's done this as her father points out and forgives her yet again. From this short scene, we figure out that despite Touko's little antics, she is well loved by the Matsudairas. But this, in fact, is Touko's problem, as we will soon find out.
In Lillian, Touko drops by at the Drama Club to make a shocking announcement: she is leaving the club. Her senpai is not too keen on it and in an act of desperation even offers the younger girl her rosary. According to this senpai, if Touko is her little sister, then the older girls in the club would stop bullying her. Not that Touko does not appreciate the gesture but everybody knows she's got her heart set on Yumi. Even the senpai knows this but she also points out that ever since Touko met Yumi, she (Touko) has been hurting herself on purpose. No one knows this more than Touko.
Later, after class, Touko finds Kashiwagi, waiting for her outside the gate. After his talk with Sachiko the other day, he has come to find out what's going on between Yumi and Touko. Our beloved tsundere keeps mum about the subject for a while until Kashiwagi hits a nerve. He brings up how Touko purposely came to the Ogasawaras over the summer instead of going to Canada, not because she wanted to sabotage Yumi's time with Sachiko but to protect the older girl from Sachiko's snobby cousins. Then Kashiwagi says something that has Touko's feathers all riled up but she manages to calm down enough to ask why Kashiwagi is making it his business to smoothen things between Touko and Yumi. Kashiwagi, however, being what he is, acts flippant about it.
In school the next day, Touko sees the ad for the Valentine's Day event with the Yamayurikai. Beside it are several flyers for students to take. Seeing this, Touko remembers that that her first meeting with Yumi was on Valentine's Day. It appears that Yumi has made a huge impact on her back then. Now, back to the present, Touko hesitates over the flyers but finally gives in and takes one. Later, she meets up with Noriko, who is in a hurry as there is a special TV program about Buddhist statues that she wants to see. Touko tries to ask her about the Valentine's Day even and instead of explaining everything, Noriko just hands her a flyer and leaves.
Much later, Touko unexpectedly runs into Yumi in the hallway. Yumi seems to have gotten over her "Touko" syndrome and acts all normal and friendly around her. She even goes so far as to invite Touko to walk home with her. Touko can't say no without seeming rude. However, when Yumi says something about Touko's family problems and her feelings about this, Touko explodes, shocking Yumi to speechlessness. Touko accuses Yumi of offering her the rosary as a gesture of pity, but this isn't true and Yumi tries to explain it, only that Touko refuses to listen. Realizing that there's no talking to Touko at this time, Yumi tells her to count to 100 before moving from that spot. With anger in her eyes, Touko starts counting while Yumi slowly walks away. When Touko got to 100, she opens her eyes to find that she is now alone.
Touko returns to school and drops by Sachiko's classroom to have a talk with her. They meet up later in the back of the school where Touko immediately launches into a fierce diatribe about how Sachiko told Yumi that Touko is not a real daughter of the Matsudairas. Sachiko, however, does not even know what she's talking about as this is the first time she's heard about Touko's family situation. When Touko discovers this, she realizes that Yumi can't possibly know about this as well. And this means that all the misunderstanding has been caused by Touko herself and Yumi is blameless. After she realizes this, Touko immediately apologizes but it's not really Sachiko she should be apologizing to.
When a disappointed Sachiko leaves, Touko breaks down and cries. Remembering what Yumi told her that day after school, she starts counting and wishes fervently that it would not be like last time when she opens her eyes to find that she is alone. Sure enough, before Touko can even finish up to 100, a gentle hand touches her head. She looks up to find that it is Noriko, who apparently purposely missed her Buddhist show because she is worried about Touko. With tears of gratitude, Touko clutches her hand and thanks her for coming back.

This is soooo cute. I love Noriko. She's so awesome this episode. Her thoughtfulness reminds a lot of Youko and this is clearly what Konno Oyuki intended, if the episode with Eriko and Nana was any indication. In that episode, the former Roses picked out girls likely to be Yoshino's little sister and Youko ended up choosing Noriko while Eriko picks out Nana, prompting Sei to comment that they do pick those people who most resembled them.

Anyhoo, wow, next episode is the finale already. How time flies. It felt like an entire season of nothing, but then again, it won't be Maria-sama ga Miteru if it were otherwise. So I guess we should all be looking forward to the great Touko and Yumi make-up next.
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