I was hoping that there was a good reason behind why Nanami is so interested in the student council play and why she wants to revive it. Well, Bloom Into You finally explained and it got a lot darker than I originally expected.
The potential could go both ways. Personally, I would’ve been perfectly fine with Nanami simply being an anxious and stressed person putting herself on a rather high pedestal. Adding in the fact that she has a dead sister and is obsessed in following her shadow could cause Bloom Into You to shift away from its grounded tone into something more melodramatic. I would, however, be lying if I said it wasn’t compelling. On the flip side, it does make me more intrigued with Nanami’s character. It’s becoming clear that this girl is a very, very flawed individual; a far cry from the perfect senpai image Yuu initially had in her head at the story of the story. Acting as a facsimile of someone else makes that all the more apparent.
It’s unhealthy what Nanami is doing. Unhealthy in the sense she is foregoing her individuality to please people who made an unreasonable request. That and the intense amount of pressure she feels in perpetuating a persona that isn’t truly hers. It certainly speaks to her obsession that she’ll do the student council play with or without anyone’s help, and that even includes Yuu’s. Nanami might put on a determined face and a smile right now but it could very well be a matter of time before she finally snaps.
This seems to be where Yuu becomes so integral to this arc. There’s a very good visual metaphor during the girls’ confrontation where Nanami skips across steps in a river, signifying that she will walk the path she’s picked alone if need be. Yuu hesitates to follow suit and rightfully so as she knows that deep down, Nanami’s life is a rabbit hole. Standing by her side through thick and thin is a point of no return and it’ll be a huge commitment for Yuu. But of course, Yuu does end up following. I buy it considering that she’s helped Nanami so many times at this point and after learning this much about her friend, it’d be hard to simply ignore such turmoil.
I think what worries me most is how Nanami feels about Yuu. The promise she has Yuu make with her to be with her is romantic on paper but there’s something about her exact wording that irks me. Asking Yuu to not fall in love with anyone else and not to ever hate her is an awfully selfish request. Even worse is when Nanami thinks to herself that she doesn’t want Yuu to ever fall in love with her. That alone even gets more problematic when you consider that Yuu finally admits in this episode that she does want to reciprocate Nanami’s feelings and know what love feels like. I kind of get Nanami’s reasoning. That Yuu is willing to help her despite her ability to love back does come across as incredibly selfless. It’s noble and, in Nanami’s eyes, very attractive. And yet, it just feels wrong. It’s as though Nanami is trying to set up how exactly she wants Yuu to be as a person just like how she has an idea of how she should be. This may be something Bloom Into You will want to tackle in the near future.
Before I end this post, there’s a couple of other things I want to bring up. First off, you have Saeki who seems to be shaping up as a sort of foil for Yuu. She seems very arrogant in how she claims she knows everything about Nanami and criticize Yuu for standing in the way of the student council play. One, I think it’s safe to say Yuu knows way more about Nanami than Saeki ever did. Two, is it really a bad thing for Yuu to stand in Nanami’s way? Hindsight admittedly makes that more apparent but I think Nanami could be better off being less fixated on imitating her sister. It seems that whereas Yuu aims to stand by Nanami in the hopes that her presence might produce a positive change, Saeki has subconsciously been stoking the flames others in Nanami’s life already have. All she really does is encourage her friend to keep pursuing her insane ambitions.
Also worth addressing is Koyume. As soon as Nanami revealed she needs a writer, it finally occurred to me to put two and two together and realize that Koyume would be a perfect fit. Assuming she gets the job, I think this is a nice way to tie in a supportive character into the main story. It’d be really interesting if Koyume ends up writing a romance; a nice callback to Yuu’s disillusionment with the books and manga she’s read and a potential mirror for her own real life experiences.
Thanks for reading!