If My-HIME has done something right apart from the gorgeous music and beautiful character designs, is how it presents the theme of love and a refreshing view to what is ‘true love’. Akane’s and Kazu’s romance, Shizuru’s and Natsuki’s love, and Tokiha Mai’s relationship with her brother, Mikoto and Yuuichi are what I’ll keep in my heart after years have passed.
Love is acceptance
This couple is so down to earth and cute, yet shines amongst the tension of battles and the teenage worries. There is no ecchi lame jokes, no fashionable tsundere display of affection, just a beautiful stable relationship. Being side characters might have helped towards this depiction of a simple and pure romance. Both are quite shy and caring individuals who cherish one another. Seeing them together, even just these few minutes, is heartwarming.
Akane is a HIme – has special powers to put it simply- and has kept this side of hers secret. During the festival she decided that she wanted and needed to be honest with Kazuya, even if she is afraid of his reaction. Look what we have here: a mahou shoujo that doesn’t have a magic boyfriend, a mahou shoujo who considers that her powers might be seen as something monstrous and also a reason for break up. This doesn’t happen often. And then we have Kazuya who is such a gentleman. He gets surprised but not horrified from this ‘other’ Akane who can fight and be tough and who can protect him. He doesn’t run away from a girl who holds more power than him. Instead he embraces the differences and Akane as a whole. Kazuya says: “You think I would hate you over something so trivial?” and with composure he places his arms around her and over her heart, letting their bodies touch and relay the message of acceptance and intimacy. He seals his words with a kiss on her lips and Akane cries from joy.
Love is trust and endurance
Shiznat, as the fandom calls the Shizuru x Natsuki pairing, is actually the reason I decided to watch the show. The ojou-sama, who is ever so calm and a teacup is her trademark, is fascinated by the stubborn and wild kouhai that keeps everyone at arm’s length. Shizuru becomes school president just for her sake -as we learn from Natsuki’s prelude novel- and seeks to provide Natsuki with whatever she needs. She calmly waits for a time that Natsuki might return her feelings, although she knows how her feelings are judged in society and doesn’t expect much from her other than her happiness. When their destiny as HIme messes with their life, the cat gets out of the bag and Natsuki doesn’t react at first with understanding. Shizuru’s feelings get out of control yet she holds no grudge against her. She finishes off Natsuki’s enemies and when their showdown takes place she just expresses her sorrow and her unwillingness to harm her.
Natsuki is so revenge-oriented that she lost sight of her surroundings and other people’s feelings. So, she obviously gets shocked when she sees ‘the real Shizuru’ unmasking herself. Fortunately, amongst the storm she gets the chance to reflect about herself and the people around her and realizes that loving someone is such an important thing for everyone. She comes to appreciate the behind-the-scenes support Shizuru has given her, the fact that Shizuru with her soft manners and her teasing opened up her heart and renewed her ability to trust. For Shizuru to wait and wait, to not express her knowledge of Natsuki’s whereabouts not to trouble her more, to conceal her desires to put as priority Natsuki’s wishes- that must have been painful. That’s why before they fall in the battlefield, Natsuki kisses Shizuru and declares she loves her, even though it’s not the exact way Shizuru would have wanted. After everything is resolved, Natsuki lets Shizuru get more physical with her knowing fully well what her gestures meant and seems that she lets herself find out slowly her way to love. She wants to return the trust that nurtured her. In the novel it’s implied that they find happiness together.
Love means above all to care
Mai, the main protagonist, is the one who is developed the most. Sisterly love, friendship and romantic love are set as questions she has to answer and a reality she has to confront.
She has put all her effort in keeping her younger brother healthy and in doing so she has forgotten to take into account his feelings. In the process, she also has neglected herself and her needs. She convinced herself that the many jobs she kept was her hobby but that only was used to cover her feelings of guilty for Takumi’s health and make her sacrifices more bearable. Nao points out that she despises her brother deep down for the whole situation and although Mai denies it, there must lie a truth in Nao’s words. She has made her life to revolve around her little brother, so when she overhears how he isn’t happy about what she gives up for his shake and how he wants to start standing on his own feet, she feels empty. Mai soon understands that to care about someone and sacrifice yourself for someone aren’t synonyms.
Then we have Mikoto, that little wild cat that doesn’t know much about life, and her raising away from society made her clueless. This young girl ended up developing what is implied as more than friendly feelings for Mai. From what she hears from others she understands that love is wanting to be with someone because you like to be with them and that makes you happy. The problem is that Mai is troubled with what to do with her life, she can’t handle Mikoto’s genkiness or fighting spirit and keeps seeing her as a child that needs care and attention rather than a friend. There’s a ‘breaking’ point for Mikoto who leaves Mai and asks her the important question of what is true love.
At the same time, Mai has to get her feelings for Yuuichi clear. They started out very clumsily and they came to fall for each other but when Mai realizes she loves him, things have happened and he stands by the side of another girl. Later, Yuuichi gets over his own issues of guilty, but Mai is scared to love anymore, since that meant getting him involved in her mortal battles. The whole series ends on a good note and they appear to be an item.
Through all these struggles, Mai grows up and reveals to the viewers of the series specials her own little enlightment : there’s no true or false love, but just honest feelings of caring for the other. Like Jorge Bucay, a psychotherapist, has said in his books, you can love less or more but claiming you love someone like a friend or a brother is what kids go around saying because they can’t say they don’t find someone attractive. That may sound very abstract or pretentious, but if you give it a thought it isn’t. If you care, you care. That’s all there is to it 🙂 .