This is the final (not counting the flat chapter) chapter of School Rumble volume 12. It’s building up to a massive climax in volume 13. Or at least, it was supposed to be. Damn I got the Japanese volume 13 today and it was mildly disappointing. But that’s another post.

Summary! Btw at the end of writing, I had not read volume 13 yet. I always write the post first and then the intro and unfortunately I am too lazy to edit it now. SO YA!!

#152 – Charlie and Louise

Nakamura is having dinner with the Suou family. The parents treat him well and thank him for taking care of their daughter. They think he is Asou.

Nakamura comments that he’s envious that she and Asou’s romance are progressing so well. Mikoto asks how he knows so much. Nakamura says his ojousama tells him everything about her friends happily and in great detail. Mikoto is slightly touched.

Nakamura adds that Eri says Mikoto loves to seduce men with her beauty and then act as though she doesn’t care about relationships, to let them fantasise.

Harima and Eri stop by at a shrine for a rest. They sit on opposite sides of the hall with Eri wrapped up in their only blanket for warmth. Harima is furiously fantasising about Tenma’s cuteness winning over the matchmakee. And so he figets about nervously.

Eri mistakes his fidgeting for shivering from the cold. She contemplates sharing the one blanket with him because he’s suffering for her sake but decides that it’s too embarrassing. She blushes to herself as she’s caught between embarrassment and her sense of duty.

Harima mistakes Eri’s fidgeting as a sign that she’s afraid he’ll assault her. He grumbles to himself about how the ojou thinks she’s so pretty and all the guys love her and decides that she’s irritating and the type of girl he hates most.

Eri plans her strategy. First she’ll make some small talk, and then get closer, finally offering to share the blanket. She’s oblivious to the raging Harima. She begins the chitchat by asking him how long he has worked for Suou. Harima replies that it was since last year.

Eri remarks that he looks really young and inquires whether he is in university. She also asks if he has a girlfriend. Harima says he doesn’t and Eri smiles happily.

Harima is by now very shocked, since Eri isn’t behaving her normal spiteful way. He wonders if she’s trying to frame him.

Eri asks what Harima wants to do in the future. Unable to tell the truth, Harima glazes over by saying he’s currently involved in a big project, something involving technical design.

Eri then asks if there’s anything around him that is interfering with his work. Harima curtly replies there is one right now, but he won’t give up and with his own hands, he’ll overcome the enemy.

Eri marvels at how strong-willed Harima is and wonders to herself what is the difference between them. She asks herself what she can do to become stronger and to resist what the world has given her.

Harima admits that it’s tough on him too but he just smiles in the face of adversity and does his best to overcome them. Eri goes all fangirlish and squeals, “You’re awesome!” and in one swift movement, slides up next to Harima and throws the blanket over him.

Harima realises that he and Eri are now sitting together, side by side sharing the same blanket, almost in a coupley fashion. Eri puts on her pretty face and says, “You’ll catch a cold otherwise…”

Harima is totally confused and cannot believe how different Eri is from her normal self. Eri asks if he does not want her to do this, but Harima mumbles that it is alright.

Eri confesses that she was been feeling very dejected but since he appeared, she has found renewed hope and motivation. She asks Harima to do her a favour – go with her to the match-making session.

Harima’s shocked by the request. Eri hurriedly clarifies that it’s only for the sake of making the other side give up on her and while she should do it herself, she really wants his help.

Harima agrees. Eri thanks him and falls asleep on his shoulder. Harima looks at her and thinks, “Damn these rich people. They finish what they want to say and just fall asleep without any care for others. But for just one moment, I really thought she was a nice girl.”

Eri mumbles in her sleep, “Hige, you suck…” and Harima promptly draws some moustache on her with black marker.

Asou was actually headed to meet Suou’s family for dinner! In other words, Asou is close enough to meet Mikoto’s parents. Which means they are attached. But poor guy, being turned away at the door after going to such great lengths dressing up for the occasion. Even Nakamura remarks that the Asou x Mikoto romance is progressing so well, he’s envious.

This is a major major turning point of the Flag. For the first time, Eri is openly pushing forward and trying to get what she wants, thanks to inspiration from Harima. While she doesn’t know it’s him, Eri seems to have fallen for the “employee”. Her normally guarded, masked facade is totally dropped and she initiates close physical contact. It’s obviously not because Harima was shivering but more of her inner desire to be with him. The cold was just an excuse and she has not reached the point where she can totally do something against her outer mask without an excuse.

She likes the employee because he has the qualities she lacks – courage, frankness and determination to follow his heart. It helps that he shows no interest in her so isn’t “one of the dirty loser boys”. She’s used to tonnes of guys all dying to go out/bed her, so Harima’s lack of interest in spite of their current physical closeness, to her, is a sign that he is honourable, upright and trustworthy.

Eri is very impressed by Harima’s drive to overcome the challenges in his life and that is the catalyst for her decision to get closer to him. She realises that is the way she wants to live and straightaway, she takes control of her own life by getting closer to the guy she likes, instead of waiting for him. In other words, she’s an aggressive Dere Dere.
Harima’s impression of Eri seems to have gotten better. But the Flag is still far far away.

7 Responses to “MangaAnalysis: School Rumble #152 - Harima & Eri, Alone in a Dark Room”  

  1. 1 Lupus

    Need more Flags. FLAG!

  2. 2 Swampstorm

    I don’t think Eri is pursuing an interest in Employee A - she was caught up by the moment. She’ll be much more embarrassed about what she did when she stops and reflects back on what happened. ;)

    The determination that Eri has gained is directed at stopping the omiai. Now that she realizes the importance of trying to achieve her own dreams rather than achieving the dreams of others, she’ll have the strength to communicate what she really wants to her parents.

    The real flag gains here are with Harima. He’s hit on something unexpected in Eri’s character that doesn’t match up with his usual notions of her, and you see him struggle with it. If I remember correctly, he repeats that phrase “for just a moment” a number of times, almost as if to reassure himself of his original opinion of her. You might see some more of this later.

    What’s up with the cover of V.13, anyways? They’re breaking with tradition, now… :(

  3. 3 tj_han

    Swamp! I beg to differ. Eri does seem romantically interested in Employee. Perhaps it was her moment of weakness, and the ambience, but I’m sure she was (or is) romantically attracted. I have read volume 13 and I still stick by my conclusion. Even if she had determination to quit the omiai (which she didn’t until 13) it’s a separate matter.

    Otherwise, the points you make are excellent as usual. I tend to ignore Harima when I read and think about SR, and this is quite the bad habit. The “Just for a moment” thing does indeed show he’s trying to reassure himself of the impression he has fixed for the ojou.

    As for the cover, I am hugely disappointed with the lack of Akira. I need to scream or something. I’ll be posting my initial thoughts on volume 13 later though, ‘ll talk more about it on another post.

  4. 4 Swampstorm

    Oh, I completely agree that Eri is interested in Employee A - if anything, it reinforces the fact that Eri’s interest in Harima is based on his qualities, rather than her competitive nature.

    My point was that the effect of Employee A’s speech wasn’t to encourage Eri to conciously pursue an interest in him (ie. she isn’t pulling close to him with the intent of seducing him, as Harima wonders) - she’s thinking about the omiai, rather than the employee. There are two points that I considered:

    1) On reflection, Eri thinks that her actions were overly forward and shows embarrassment over them.
    2) As Akira and Mikoto later point out, Eri is fairly timid when it comes to actual relationships, however much she likes to appear to be experienced in front of others.

    From what I saw, she was temporarily able to overcome her usual inhibitions because she wasn’t so focused on the situation at hand. This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen her do this, either - during the dance with Harima, she gets caught up with the emotion of the moment, but becomes embarrassed when she later reflects on it. That being said, Eri’s personal sense of propriety keeps her from actively pursuing any romantic interest; most of the time, she expects the guy to take initiative (there’s a direct quote to suggest this somewhere between ch.170-175, but you can infer this from her actions and attitudes, as well).

  5. 5 tj_han

    It’s undeniable that Eri first noticed Harima and got intrigued because she was competitive. First with Tae, then Yakumo. But after all these volumes, she’s finally maturing.

    Eri always get caught up in the moment, only to feel embarrassed. She cares about her image too much and denies her true feelings.

    Yeah, she’s the sort that expects to be chased and is always chased. However, even in real life, such girls normally despise guys who chase them and prefer those who actually don’t express much interest.

    The baito chapter showed her immaturity as a person though. But that’s a discussion I shall save for when I get the post ready.

  6. 6 Swampstorm

    Eri’s initial interest in Harima wasn’t entirely competitive, if at all. Whenever she becomes aware of the presence of real competition, she backs down - be it from Mikoto, Tae, or Yakumo. There’s something else at work here.

    Take a look at the Eri confessions that are shown over the course of SR. In terms of the story timeline, the first two confessions occur in Ep.15 S1, during the flashback scene. Note that these are the first few times that Eri has been confessed to, and she responds to them very sincerely; she hasn’t yet become indifferent to them (an aside here: the man at Mikoto’s place who teases Eri in Ep.15 reappears in Ch.135 with a follow-up; the second time around Eri shows how she’s changed).

    Sano’s confession in Ep.8 shows a change in Eri’s attitudes - this time around, Eri’s response is much more coldhearted. With this in mind, Harima’s confession in Ep.10 stands out as being an unusual response. In theory, Eri’s response to Harima should be consistant with her response to Sano. However, she seems to once again be genuinely affected by his confession. Although she doesn’t get the opportunity to complete her response, she struggle with the idea - it’s the right type of confession, but not from the sort of person whom she was expecting it from.

    The passionate display of emotion that Harima shows in his confession is important - many of Eri’s really geniune emotional responses occur in following this sort of display. Prior to the dance, Harima showed his determination to win the race for Eri. Prior to the blanket sharing, Employee A talks about how he fights for his dreams. I suspect that Harima’s passion and drive are linked to Eri’s romantic ideals.

    In that regard, there are two sections definitely worth looking up:
    1)At end of Ep.17 S1, Eri has a bit of dialogue with Mikoto in response to Karen’s new hairstyle. Eri talks about how wonderful it must be to fall in love, and wishes that she could fall in love as well.
    2)In Ep.10 S1, Mikoto and Akira talk with Fuyuki about the idea of Eri falling in love, and have a good chuckle about it.

    These two events set up Eri as somewhat of an idealist. She’s has some sort of concept her “ideal guy”, but none of the confessions prior to Harima’s have shown the qualities that she’s looking for. In ch.85, she comes across as a little disillusioned in this regard.

    There’s an interesting section that pops up in ch.85 that is glossed over in the anime (Ep.24). It’s a fairly important chapter, since it’s the first moment when Eri conciously acknowledges having an interest in Harima. In the manga version, however, she runs through a little analysis of Harima’s character (this isn’t found in the anime version). The her monologue shows that her main struggle is with the fact that Harima doesn’t seem like the sort of person who should satisfy her ideal, but he somehow does, regardless. This is consistant with Eri’s reaction to Harima’s confession - the passion is spot on, but… it’s Harima.

    On another note, I didn’t mean to imply that Eri enjoys being chased. Rather, I was suggesting that she seems to adhere to traditional ideas concerning guys and girls in relationships - specifically, she expects the guy to make the first move and to take the lead in the relationship. Being chased is a bit of a double-edged sword for Eri - while she likes using the confessions after the fact to bolster her public image (to make it seem like she’s experienced with relationships), they make her feel alienated (as Ep.15 S1 shows).

    Someone who hasn’t held a part-time job is more inexperienced than immature. Had Eri rejected the offer to work on the basis that she didn’t need to, she would have demonstrated a lack of responsibility. The fact that she took up the opportunity when given shows otherwise.

  7. 7 lawangjunior

    well no wonder if eri actually interesting about harima if she do then im support thats because im in eri x harima faction.Unfortunetly this mangga did’t publisher in my place yet.

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