Doki doki…doki doki …doki doki. Yes that’s the sound of your heart when you approach your kataomoi. Now before we go on to describe what a “crush” is, we should provide an explanation for kataomoi. For lack of better words, kataomoi is simply unrequited love. While that can and does sound somewhat disheartening, do not despair. The unrequited love could potentially just be a result of the individual with the kataomoi not letting his or her interest know about their feelings.
Anyways, how does this relate to a crush? If you look at this situation from an alternative perspective, you will see that crush is actually just an extremely soft euphemism for kataomoi, or, unrequited love. While we take for granted what a “crush” really means these days, the basis on which the term is formed on brings us back to the cold hard truth of “unrequited love”. However, that does not mean the individual is beyond any hope in terms of the love department. As mentioned before, it could just be the individual has yet to express his or her sentiments.
Sabishii: Other than Ohana’s “romance” with Ko-chan, the other token romance tale in Hanasaku Iroha is that of Minchi and Tohru. Setting aside the obvious age difference, it is clear that their relationship is quite a peculiar one. While Minchi essentially got her current cooking job at Kissuiso due to the efforts of Tohru, that does not really relate to she should feel indebted to him to that extent. Also, when it comes to anime romances, usually the person with the crush tends to be portrayed in an awkward, non-human way. With Minchi, whenever she’s around Tohru, she displays all the traits a human would such as the “unnatural stiffness”, the jealousy when Tohru talks positively about Ohana, or even how she ramps up her “tsun” whenever her friends talk to her.
Moreover, the difference between how Minchi’s relationship with Tohru is not a love interest, but rather a crush, is how she immaturely displays her emotions. Whether it is her close friends or other individuals, Minchi gets overly jealous when other people talk about Tohru or fanatically defends him whenever others talk negatively about him. If it were a love interest, Minchi would be less fervently protective about Tohru, which clearly crosses the border and lands her right in the middle of “crush” territory.
Snippett: It’s interesting how you pointed out that Minchi’s feelings fall only on the “crush” category. I find her mixed feelings of deep admiration and somewhat obsessive emotions on Tohru stronger than Ohana’s on Ko.
Speaking about Ohana, she’s the type of character who needs a “push” in order to realize what’s going on. I doubt that she’s ever going to realize her feelings on her best friend, if Ko didn’t spill out his love for her. The issue of kataomoi really fleshed out how this anime invested time in showing character growth. Ohana and Ko’s feelings weren’t mutual at the beginning. Ko sees Ohana as a girl friend potential but Ohana only sees Ko as a precious friend. When Ko confessed to her, Ohana didn’t know how to react on the situation however it’s apparent that she’s bothered by Ko’s words. The usual teenage “crush” symptoms started to manifest on Ohana such as the feeling of awkwardness, deep emotional attachment, and jealousy when she saw Ko’s co-worker. It’s quite obvious that Ko was the first one who’s really experiencing kataomoi because Ohana’s making him wait. However, on the later parts, Ohana started to realize what she’s been doing to Ko. As she professed, now she’s distressing a one-sided crush on her best friend and unsure if such feelings is going to flourish.
Sabishii: Ah yes, I see where you are going with the “boy sees girl as a potential girlfriend, but girl sees boy as precious friend” kind of discussion. Also, you touched upon how Ohana needed a “push” to see the reality of the situation around her. While this only seems to apply to Ohana, if you bend your perspective, it’s the total reverse for Minchi. Reverse as in, how Minchi see Tohru as boyfriend material, but Tohru only views Minchi as his apprentice. However, Ohana and Minchi aren’t “literally” in polar opposite situations. For example, Minchi really needed a “push” to entice her to spill her pent up feelings to Tohru. Obviously, the format of the “push” is not particularly the same, because Ohana get’s her push into romance due to Ko-chan’ s half-assed lame confession. Okay, perhaps that was rather harsh, but it certainly did lack creativity. Anyways, aside from the digression, Minchi’s “push” is more unique. With Minchi’s “push”, it was a reaction to her sudden revelation that she was losing Tohru to Ohana’s charm.
Also, Minchi tries to show her affection for Tohru through subtle “slight-of-hand” gestures such as personally preparing his omerice in a recent episode or taking more opportunities to be with him. While that’s certainly cute and everything, it lack the “aggressive”-ness that we’ve come to known Minchi for. In retrospect to how she’s with her friends, you’d expect Minchi to be pouncing on Tohru or choking him for not realizing her love.
Snippett: That’s exactly what annoyed me about Minchi. She’s being a tsun tsun to her friends but being overly submissive to (jerk) Tohru. However, overtime I learned how to appreciate her annoying side, to the point that she unleashed my sadistic self–as you always tell me.
On the other hand, based on the recent episode, I’m enjoying how Ohana is being a bit more proactive by asking Ko to go out with her on the Bonbori Festival. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but hopefully they’ll fest it up and seal their status. What I find amusing though when it comes to anime “crush”, specifically in Hanasaku Iroha, is it how it emphasizes simple emotions such as anxiety, giggles, sighs, and anticipation—something that is not as valued in western teen shows. This series also has sensible characters that you can reflect on, so watching this show is like answering those personality quizzes. I’m so hazukashi to admit, but based on my past experiences, I’m definitely a dense Ohana.
Sabshii: Dense Ohana? Haha I’d just say you’re a dense person in general! Anyways, in Hanasaku Iroha, I think the staff did a great job in portraying these kataomois. What I mean by that is how we’re shown the girls’ kataomois as a progression of events.
While I certainly think Minchi’s kataomoi has some flaws, but I certainly felt it was plausible. This was mainly because of my motivation or “push”, as we’ve been referring to it, was also sparked by jealousy and fear of losing my kataomoi to my acquaintance.
However, unlike Minchi, I was even softer and kinder around with my friends to show off a general positive vibe to my kataomoi, which as a tsundere like Minchi is very hard. Obviously sex orientation will factor into how I act to a kataomoi in comparison to how Minchi would. Though having said that, it certainly does not give Minchi the excuse to ramp up her tsun and let her feelings rampage wildly over her peers. This, I think, would probably be the most critical difference between me and “my” Minchi.
Snippett: Duh?! Anyway, so to put these all together, kataomoi is often a bouillabaisse of emotions that words simply can’t describe when feelings are not both equally mutual. Crushes, angsts, youth… ah the beauty of teenage love…. Oh geez, we already spent too much time talking about kataomoi. I think it’s better to stop now before we fully spill out our personal and embarrassing kataomoi stories.
SabishiiMiruku is my dearest imouto-chan—don’t ask why. If you want to check him out, he writes for Rabbit Poets and socializes on twitter. For some reason, my last week was despairing. Thanks to Sabishii for motivating me and giving me an idea on what to post. ~Snippett
SnippetTee or what whom I fondly call “Snippy” is my dear aneki. While she is quite demanding sometimes, but really, she’s the most interesting oneechan in the world. Ever. She likes to rant on Twitter and can be found at her blog or on G+. ~SabishiiMiruku