Top of my watching list this week, as we head closer and closer to the ending. The ongoing battle for Rin’s heart between Asa and Kaede escalates to a higher level.
I’m pretty sad to see that SHUFFLE! is probably heading over for an Asa ending given the developments in this episode, with Rin showing much more obvious signs that he’s going to spend his future together, with all that talk about heading into the same university with a fun-filled campus life. His concern over Asa is also pretty much obvious, as he skips school and spends the night looking after Asa.
However, on both sides of the battle, both Kaede’s and Asa’s conditions are pretty much worsening. Kaede is visibly struggling to keep a hold of herself, but her true emotions are still escaping. Given that looking after Rin was Kaede’s main purpose in her life, Rin’s increasing neglect of her is causing her self-control to break down. She’s also hampered by the fact that she’s unwilling to confess her true feelings towards Rin due to her inability to forgive herself for blaming Rin for her mother’s death.
While for Asa, even as she forces herself to look healthy, her condition is getting much more worse, evidenced later in the episode. Being hospitalized, she takes a break from the limelight a bit, as Kaede’s ongoing conflict is focused here, but her presence is still felt, in the way that Rin is planning to go ahead with her. In a way, I can understand Asa’s feelings given that she was sickly all the time, and spent her healthy time doing things that she wanted to do as much as possible.
Going back to Kaede, the second half bears more witness to her mental breakdown, most notably her eyebags indiciating that she’s not sleeping much. She tries to keep a semblence of life previously but fails in the end, jumping in to Rin’s bed naked (providing this week’s R-15 shots) and begging Rin to be by her side, but not quite confessing her love towards Rin. This clearly provides the wake-up call to Rin, as he finally realises his indecisiveness has caused a lot of pain to the other girls as well.
Still, the surprise here was Primula’s confession as she questions Kaede’s motives and tries to get her to confess her love for Rin, to which Kaede still doesn’t want to. Rin spends the whole night out thinking and frankly, I’d thought that he was going to be in an accident, especially when the rain came :P.
However, and fortunately, that doesn’t materialise and Rin comes home to pull a big shocker on Kaede as he wants to leave the house, further destabilizing Kaede’s already unstable state of mind. Since the producers “neglected” to put in a preview for the next episode, which is actually quite rare this days, I have high hopes for SHUFFLE! 21. With Kaede’s world breaking down and Asa’s physical fraility, who will win in the end?