Hina tells Natsuo about how she met Shuu, the cheating husband she dated. Turns out Shuu was her teacher when she was in high school — a disturbing parallel. But luckily, Hina didn’t get involved with him while she was still a student (her involvement happened later). Natsuo hears all this, then presents Hina with his completed novel and confesses his love to her.
In typical Hina fashion, she goes over the top to teach Natsuo a lesson about the inappropriateness of students falling for teachers — although this time, without doing anything sexual or immature or idiotic. I won’t spoil it... but basically, the end result is Hina putting her foot down. They’re siblings now, and student-and-teacher, and nothing at all is going to happen between them because that would be messed up; Natsuo shouldn’t be trying to pursue her.
Reaction as a fan: I’m glad? But where the hell did Hina’s maturity come from?! She hasn’t had it this whole time. This feels so out of character. Or maybe I was just misreading her until now, the same way Natsuo was when he judged her harshly for being part of an affair? I guess I'll get behind it. GO HINA.
Reaction as a writer: This seems to be more of Hina’s redemption arc, because this episode enables us to forgive her somewhat for her previous manipulation of Natsuo and any leading him on. But it feels... kind of early, yet, for the doors to be closing on the relationship drama between the two of them. There are still five more episodes, after all. There’s no way I believe this is the end, even though this episode frames it like it is.
Hina has drawn a line, but I’m worried the only place to go now to create story drama and movement is... over that line, with Natsuo’s crossing it. If it gets crossed, it might even still be partly Hina’s fault, despite the redemption she gained in this episode. I could see it happening. I mean, Hina has already made things worse by deciding to MASTURBATE WITH HER DOOR OPEN so Natsuo could witness it. She is an idiot; SHUT YOUR DAMN DOOR.
On that masturbation scene, though. I have to give it credit, as awkward as it was to watch it pan out. It’s not often ANY fiction explores female sexuality/pleasure. In anime, even less so. This was therefore bold and appreciated, even if I know it was only included as piquing fodder for the entertainment of the viewers. Yes, ladies get themselves off, too! I am genuinely appreciative of the fact that such an idea was thrown out there in a fashion that ISN’T Nina and her damn table corner in Code Geass.
Hina catches Natsuo and Rui kissing, and becomes mortified by it; she knows they’re all supposed to be siblings, now. She spends the entire episode being righteously outraged at Natsuo’s poor choices considering the myriad circumstances surrounding all of them. She is 100% mature and awesome about putting Natsuo in his place - again.
...Until the end of the episode, where she ruins everything by confessing to having actually been jealous, because she’s been in love with Natsuo the whole time after all. Surprise.
Reaction as a fan: FUCK THIS. Here I was, finally getting pumped about this new, more mature, amazing Hina, being so happy about her calling Natsuo out and putting him in his place, drawing hard lines and then STICKING TO THEM... but then she just went and blew it! All her righteousness was a lie. She was being hypocritical the whole time. She actually wants to bang Natsuo. I would throw my television if I didn’t currently need it to watch Fruits Basket.
Reaction as a writer: I thought I knew where the show was going when this episode started, and I saw Hina being upset for what seemed like all the right reasons. I thought I sensed the plot taking a turn from the ridiculous harem aspect into further exploring the fallout of Natsuo’s teenaged idiocy, into exploring consequences. Into, in other words, MORE REDEMPTION (which is sorely needed all around). I thought we’d see Natsuo slowly let go of his teacher crush at last, and maybe try to start patching things up with Rui, who he still seems to have decent chemistry with, whether it’s sibling-like or awkward-attraction-like. But NOOO. Here we are, making the student and the teacher a thing after all!
Is there a good reason for this?! I am going to watch one more episode simply to see how they intend to proceed with this GOD AWFUL mess — but holy crap, this isn’t my cup of tea. Can’t we please just pair Natsuo up with Rui after he’s done disrespecting her and using her as a stand-in for Hina and call it good? No? Are you sure? (I’m sobbing.)