Notes on the 8th Maria-sama ga Miteru Novel, The Loving Times, Part 2 (Itoshiki Saigetsuki, Ato Ben)
“One Hand Entwined”
This story is told in alternating first person, from Sei’s and Shimako’s points of view. There was very little different in the novel from the anime – just a few details here and there.
1)Sei stands under the sakura tree, letting the flowers wash away the world.
When the students call her “Rosa Gigantea” now, she’s not used to it – it’s not her title, it’s her onee-sama’s title. She doesn’t hate the students anymore, like she used to, but she still feels no connection to them.
2) The first time Sei sees Shimako, she’s reminded of Shiori – they don’t look alike, there’s just something similar about them. Sei suffers a profound sense of deja vu, as she feels the same way she did upon seeing Shiori for the first time.
3) Shimako immediately wanted to learn more about Sei. Her face, which looked like a carving, not terribly Japanese, had a look of grief which Shimako’s classmates find sexy.
4) Yoshino was sent by the Yamayurikai to invite Shimako to the Rose Mansion, because she was the only one who knew what Shimako looked like.
5)It irks the daylights out of Sei that Youko understands her better than she understands herself. ^_^
When Youko invokes Shiori’s name, Sei is repelled by Youko and demands that she not speak that name. Sei thinks that it would be a good goal to be able to forget Shiori, but knows she can’t – Shiori is her cross to bear.
Youko says that she thinks that Sei and Shiori would have made bad soeur, but if they had just gone and become soeur, they might have been able to spend the next years accumulating good memories.
Youko admits to being very surprised when Sei asked about Shimako – Sei had the same expression she had had when she had asked about Shiori.
When Youko tells Sei that Shimako reminds her of Sei, Sei comments that if she’s like me, then she has my weak points. Youko responds, “I like your weak points.” Sei shoots back, “I hate your strong points.”
As Youko disengages from this conversation, she comments lightly that she’d better leave or Sei really *will* hit her.
6) Cut from the anime:
After the above conversation, Eriko and Sei walk out of the Rose Mansion together. Eriko wonders if it was all right for her to have remained. Sei says that she thinks it was better that there was a referee.
Sei asks Eriko what she should do. Eriko asks if it would really be that bad if Shimako helped the Yamayurikai out?
7) Another cut scene!
Youko finds Sei wandering the first-year’s hallway, fixing the first-year students collars and ties and generally touching them and making them blush. Youko call her out on this, but Sei just responds Youko’s the one whose always remind Sei about her duties, and upperclassmen are supposed to tell underclassmen about their collars
or ties – she’s just being proactive.
Youko complains – why are you fixing everyone’s ties?
Sei shrugs – It would be unfair not to.
Youko – Being conscious of equality isn’t like you.
Sei – oh look, your tie needs to be fixed, too.
Youko backs off.
8) As they walk out onto the school grounds, Youko points out Shimako. Sei and Shimako lock eyes, and Sei feels “caught.” (In the anime, Sei was by herself at this moment.) She’s feeling self-conscious because Youko can see her reaction to Shimako.
9)Youko confronts Sei to ask why she hasn’t invited Shimako to assist the Yamayurikai with the festival. Sei accuses Youko of becoming an unpleasant person. Sei thinks that Sachiko is a hypocrite, Rei is a fool and Yoshino is a braggart. But she tells Youko that’s she, Youko, is evil.
Youko says that Shimako not joining the Yamayurikai would be a heavy loss – then
comments that there are other ways to make sure it happens, Shimako could always just run for a position in the elections…
10) Sei comes to a realization (satori) that Shimako is really her wish come true – someone who understands her, a replacement for Shiori for whom she can care, but not desire. Shiori was an angel and therefore, they couldn’t ever be together. But Shimako is human and Sei can remain separate from her. And that, she concludes, would be nice.
11) At a Yamayurikai meeting one day, quite suddenly, Sei calls Shimako “Shimako”,
with no honorific. Soon everyone follows suit. For the first time, Sei begins to enjoy the idea of a “Rose Family” and she starts to forget her unhappiness and discomfort.
12) Shimako sees Sei with Goronta and asks her if she likes animals. When Sei says yes, Shimako wonders to herself is humans are included in that.
13) When Sei finally asks (commands, really) Shimako to be her soeur, more
than the request, it’s the look of loneliness in Sei’s eyes that makes Shimako say yes.
After Shimako agrees, Sei tells her that she’s too serious. Shimako tells Sei that she is too insincere.
When Shimako says the word “Onee-sama,” it reverberates inside her. And she apologizes internally to Sachiko and to all the Rosa Gigantea fans, because she needs this person in her life.