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Maria-sama Ga Miteru 4th season episode 11

March 14, 2009

Late at night, Touko kneels besides her mother’s bed, tightly holding onto the crying woman’s hand who softly whimpers asking after her missing baby.

When her father comes home, he’s surprised to see Touko is still up and says she shouldn’t push herself so hard, to stop carrying such a heavy burden and start anew with a blank canvas.
Touko says she never really gave anything back to them for their kindness, but her father reassures her that they have all received plenty from Touko in return.

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The next day in school, Touko goes to the theater club to apologize for her prolonged absence. Glad to see her, the club’s president spurs her on to not abandon theater but to step up on the stage, where she belongs.

Saying she’s always been watching her, the club president asks Touko to become her petite sœur.
When Touko hesitates, the club president ponders if it’s because of Yumi, after which she goes on to say Touko should forget about Yumi for she will never be able to be Yumi’s petite sœur without changing herself.

Distraught, Touko is shocked when the club president embraces her tightly, saying she’ll protect Touko from now on. The ensuing silence is broken by Touko’s soft whisper of apology.

Heading home, Touko finds Suguru waiting for her at the school gate and he takes her along for a ride, saying they need to talk about what happened during the winter holiday, he even questions why she never joined Yumi and Sachiko back at their villa last summer
Starting to believe Touko may think ill of Yumi, Suguru looses his temper and starts accelerating, racing through the streets until an utterly terrified Touko begs for him to stop.

Back to his senses, Suguru stops the car and tells Touko that she has the right to seize her own happiness instead of running away from it
Questioning if he thinks she should have accepted Yumi’s rosary, Touko is startled when Suguru reveals he didn’t know Yumi had asked her to become her petite sœur and he tells her again to stop running away from her own feelings.

Before they depart, Touko asks why Suguru is so curious to know what happened, Suguru merely replies that Touko should think hard about it.

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Meeting Noriko in class, Touko clumsily tries to start a conversation about the Valentine’s Day event and how it must be hard for Noriko to participate. Noriko replies she herself isn’t taking part in the event, but the three second year’s from the Yamayuri are having their cards hunted for and she hands Touko an entry form with a smile, saying Touko can have it.

By chance Touko encounters Yumi near the shoe lockers, uncertain how to act, she is rather stiff and surprised at Yumi’s cheery, normal behavior towards her.

Walking together, Yumi apologizes for having asked something impossible of her and says she should have considered Touko’s feelings more carefully. When Yumi asks if they can’t go back to how they were getting along before that faithful Christmas day, Touko says she can’t understand Yumi at all.
Angry, Touko asks why Yumi is thinking so much of her but is taken aback when she sees the pain in Yumi’s eyes.

Praying before the Maria statue, Yumi reveals she’s always thinking about Touko, about how she feels, why she ran away from home that day, what her parents are like, how her childhood was,…
After a brief silence, Touko explodes with anger and when Yumi tries to calm her down she yells at Yumi to stay away.
Realizing Touko’s not willing to hear reason, Yumi walks away.

Mulling over what happened, Touko heads back and barges into Sachiko’s classroom, demanding to talk to her.

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Lost at what’s going on, Sachiko asks Touko to speak clearly, but Touko yells at Sachiko to stop playing dumb and confess that she blabbered to Yumi about Touko not being her parents real child.
Seeing Sachiko is shocked at this revelation, Touko realizes that Sachiko didn’t know about it at all.
Sachiko scolds Touko for her behavior and walks away, for as Yumi’s grande sœur, Sachiko knows best how Touko has deeply hurt Yumi, the very person who cared most about her.

Distraught, Touko realizes everything is due to her own misunderstanding, that she herself hurt all the people who truly cared about her and is now left all alone.
Overcome with fear and grief, Touko breaks down in tears, crying out for someone, anyone. When Noriko appears wondering what is going on, Touko grabs onto her, sobbing.

The mask shatters and the frail heart breaks.

What a truly sublime episode. Focused entirely on Touko, I was thrilled to see how well they played out her family situation using just the right amount of hints and suggestions.

From the conversation with the club president, the encounter with Suguru, the explosion of anger against Yumi and the realization she herself is the cause of her now complete isolation…the scenes showing us Touko’s evolution into total breakdown were well paced and rendered.

I liked how they showed her mask slowly breaks until she can no longer keep her composure, assuming the worst when Yumi actually tries to get closer to her out of care. The sheer shock when she realizes it’s all because of her own misunderstanding was a beautiful scene.

They perfectly managed to have Touko remain cute, yet also believable as a character with a realistic background and complex personality.

Now what will become of Touko? Will she ever be able to patch things up with Yumi?
Hopefully we’ll see in next week’s episode which will feature the Valentine’s Day card event!

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