Or maybe bike away would be more accurate.
Oh, Kasuga, so confused, so desiring of punishment. Perhaps this is what Nakamura means when she tells Saeki that Kasuga is the biggest deviant in town — the implication being that he is also a bigger deviant than Nakamura. Kasuga is so self loathing that he has to have that relationship where Saeki is the pure angel and he has his sins cleansed by her . . . except when he does get just that, Kasuga can’t understand why Saeki is forgiving him at all, so he rejects her forgiveness entirely. It is, after all, wasted on a worm like him. Kasuga would rather writhe in shame and self-hatred than accept responsibility for his actions and move forward. All this due to an action that while obviously wrong, isn’t exactly a crime of the highest order (though Saeki’s characterization of it as “normal” seems rather dubious to me!). So even getting every chance in the world to make things right, Kasuga can’t help but choose the most painful route.
But I suppose you could argue all this makes Kasuga more human than deviant; however, what if WE ALL ARE THE DEVIANTS?!?!?!
So now Kasuga is on the verge of leaving town with Nakamura. The idea of busting out and living on the lam is surely a romantic one — appealing to someone who seems to desire an explosive conclusion — but I doubt Nakamura and Kasuga’s escape will be so glorious. Dramatic, probably, but not glorious. (Though I would laugh it were entirely anticlimactic.) Saeki is still trying to tug Kasuga back into the light, and she’ll probably find Kasuga and Nakamura sooner or later. What is more interesting with her, though, is that her efforts to reach out to Kasuga seem much more desperate now. She thinks something is going on with Nakamura, and Nakamura’s explanation of her relationship is probably just super confusing to Saeki. “So . . . you are dating Kasuga . . . ?” Maybe she truly forgives Kasuga for stealing her gym clothes, but it seems odd that she would so easily forgive something that hit her so hard (though I think it’s implied that her emotion in the classroom is more about her realization that Kasuga did it rather than seeing the gym clothes again).
I really liked the scene of Saeki’s second shot of getting to Kasuga. It’s a nice mirror of the scene where Kasuga visits Saeki to deliver school assignments and such. And it really is a mirror — where Saeki emerged from her covers and opened up to Kasuga, Kasuga retreats under his covers and refuses to see Saeki. He’s too focused on wondering why he deserves Saeki’s forgiveness and beating himself up over everything that has happened in the series. (A kid being super self-absorbed? I know I’m shocked.) No matter how much Kasuga wants to retreat from the world, though, there’s something waiting to drag him back into it. I guess Kasuga thought his mom would clean his paint-stained clothing without much of a fuss, but that hope went up in smoke pretty quickly. Kasuga is basically learning that when you try to be different, the world angrily demands to know why you are doing this.
All this leads to Kasuga deciding to run away with Nakamura — but his partnership is less Bonnie and Clyde than . . . I actually can’t think of a proper analogue to this. I did laugh, however, when Nakamura says that she is not staying with Kasuga; rather, he is staying with her, like “a shitty little doll.” It’s ever more hilarious that Nakamura would seem to be what Kasuga craves deep down — someone who will make him face the suffering he wishes to be inflicted upon himself. I imagine more than a few of you have heard of the concept of the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl.” For the uninitiated, this is basically an eccentric woman whose love and lust for life brightens up her male counterpart and teaches him to embrace the world. It’s basically wish fulfillment.
A commenter last week likened Nakamura to a Manic Pixie Nightmare Girl, which I thought was a pretty good observation. Instead of building Kasuga up and teaching Kasuga to embrace the world, Nakamura exists to tear Kasuga down and birth him anew; it’s wish fulfillment in a slightly more warped way, though I would argue that Nakamura has at least been given enough agency to have her own motivations, even if they are as simple as “I just want to see the world fucking burn.” Or perhaps it’s mocking of such wish fulfillment. I probably could not say either way until the actual end of the series. I’d probably lean more toward the latter, though, if only because I don’t see this series having a particularly neat, happy ending. I wonder why that would be the case?