Yuri Is My Job!
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Yuri Is My Job! ?
Community score: 4.3
There's no doubt that this episode is mainly focused on exploring Sumika and Kanoko and what drives them. However, to truly understand what causes the episode's major crisis, it's important to dive into a third character first: Hime. Hime has built a personality designed to appeal to everyone she meets in order to prepare the path for her idealized (and likely impossible to obtain) life. She is basically manipulating everyone around her. That's not to say Hime is a sociopath—she has empathy and cares deeply for those she is close to. The issue is that she is only actually close enough to two people to be personally invested in them: Kanoko and Mitsuki.
That said, Hime's relationships with Kanoko and Mitsuki are quite different. Kanoko is a follower. She will generally do whatever makes Hime happy. She has no greater drive or goal in life other than to be with Hime. Mitsuki, on the other hand, is both stubborn and driven. Despite how much she cares for Hime, she won't let her own wants and responsibilities be steamrolled by Hime's whims.
Because of this, Hime is unable to manipulate the situation to become the Blume—in fact, all her attempts to do so make Mitsuki the clear front-runner (as the customers see them as a pair with Mitsuki as the more responsible one). For the first time in a long while, Hime is unable to get a crowd to do what she wants. However, instead of disappointment, she finds a different kind of happiness.
Mitsuki, the girl who was always vilified because she was unable to be anything but blunt and straightforward, is now both popular and able to act like a person wholly unlike who she is on the inside. Hime is proud of both her friend's growth and her own role in helping Mitsuki get the recognition she has so often been deprived of. Or to put it another way, she is realizing she can find happiness outside of being the center of attention. This is a positive coming-of-age moment for Hime. However, to Kanoko, it is a threat to all she holds dear.
Kanoko is pathologically dependent on Hime for her own happiness. She has built her own identity around the simple idea that she is Hime's only real friend—the only one who knows the true Hime and would never betray her. This was fine when it was the truth but now that Mitsuki has re-entered the equation, she is losing control of her established reality—panicking as she tries to force things to go back to how they were before. The problem is, “the way things were” was based on a misunderstanding between Mitsuki and Hime. Now that it has been cleared up, there is no way to put the genie back into the bottle.
While that was bad enough for Kanoko, Hime's growth in new ways pushes her beyond her limits—especially as the catalyst is Mitsuki. After all, if Mitsuki can cause positive changes when Kanoko was unable to, what is her purpose? Where does she fit in Hime's life if Mitsuki takes the place of Hime's side? At first, she decides that preventing Mitsuki and Hime from becoming even more special—i.e., becoming a “Blume Schwestern” pair—is the way to protect her relationship with Hime. So she gets Sumika to help her shift around the votes so that Sumika wins the election. However, that doesn't work quite as intended and so she wants to go nuclear—to utterly destroy the special relationship between Hime and Mitsuki by erasing the concept of Schwestern from the café. And it is with this action that she turns a cautious ally into a full-on enemy.
While rather mysterious in the previous few episodes, this episode makes Sumika's motivations clear: she is out to protect the café. In the time before even Mitsuki joined the café, there were two other workers. Those two entered into a romantic relationship and—in Sumika's opinion—dramatically harmed the café. The fallout left her and Mai as the only remaining cast members. In order to prevent something similar from happening again, she is driven to resolve backstage conflicts before they outwardly affect the café—especially those of a romantic nature.
Of course, it's best to do this in a way that leaves everyone content. If she has to step up and be someone's friend or confidant, then so be it. This is why she agrees to help Kanoko. As long as she can make it so Kanoko won't act on her obvious jealousy, Sumika is more than willing to play along—especially since it works well in terms of the ongoing election story taking place in the café.
However, when Kanoko asks Sumkia to eliminate the concept of Schwestern from the café, Sumika sees that as an attack on the very core of the café and what makes it unique. In a way, Kanoko has announced that to satiate her own personal insecurities, she is willing to destroy not only customer enjoyment but her coworkers' livelihoods. So Sumika responds in kind: blackmailing Kanoko by threatening to drag her kicking and screaming out of the proverbial closet in front of the object of her affection. With this, we have the start of a cold war in the café. Now the only question is, how long before the war turns hot and everything comes crashing down?
• Poor oblivious Hime. She's so happy that her friend suddenly has something outside of her that she cares about but has no idea what's really going on.
• While I'm confident we've never seen the woman with wavy, purplish-pink hair before in the flashback, we have met a character with straight silver hair before…
• So many scenes with Mitsuki in this episode are her cutely struggling not to break character and give Hime what she wants.
• Just how oblivious is Mai to the things happening in her own café? I know she's doing all the clerical work but a manager's job is also about making sure everyone is getting along productively.
Yuri Is My Job! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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