When we look for a good Girls Love series, the formula is usually pretty simple. We need 2 or more girls in love! What happens though when we remove half of the equation: love? No, we’re not talking about hot and heavy yuri where the girls may or may not know each other. What if all the parts of a romance were there simply without the romance? It’s pretty common for one person to fall for the other much earlier on for the sake of drama, but that’s not the case with Yagate Kimi ni Naru. Nanami who thought she couldn’t feel love finds herself smitten with Yuu who can’t feel any romantic feelings for anyone. This anime forces us to reevaluate romantic relationships as the epitome of meaningful relationships by showing us a devoted couple not bound by the idea that their feelings are mutual. As these two girls struggle to figure out their unique dynamic, they learn more about themselves and just what is important to each other.
5. “I won’t ask you to fall in love with me.”
- Episode: 2
Yuu is still very confused by Nanami’s words and actions having formerly believed, like her, Nanami also couldn’t feel romantic love. The two sit at a coffee shop in order to discuss the student council election but Yuu’s mind is elsewhere. Unsure how to even begin addressing her concerns, Nanami suddenly announces that she won’t ask Yuu to go out with her. Yuu is completely taken aback because she’s sure Nanami’s easy-going attitude around Yuu is due to a misconception. In reality, Nanami has accepted Yuu entirely and doesn’t want her to change. Nanami says that because she didn’t think she could ever feel these special feelings, she wants to treasure them. Yuu is torn on whether she should refuse but realizes if Nanami is ok with it, there’s really no reason to punish them both. They both know what they’re getting into, and they just want to see where it goes and what things they can experience together.
4. “I saw you two yesterday”
- Episode: 4
Maki and Yuu are walking back from a student council meeting when Maki reveals he witnessed Yuu and Nanami kissing. Immediately Yuu freezes and her mind goes to a dark place. She imagines sinister versions of students whispering and condemning Nanami, her perfect image forever tarnished. Yuu is so horrified at the thought she can’t even hear Maki trying to reassure her that he won’t tell anyone. She insists that he can’t tell Nanami about what he saw because Nanami has enough to worry about. She’s usually not very aggressive but she seems almost intimidating. Maki laughs and chalks it up to her being defensive about her girlfriend. Yuu knows that isn’t the case, but her immediate reaction to want to protect someone who loves her shows us that Yuu does care about her. If her actions mirror those of someone in love, are the feelings really necessary?
3. “I want YOU to kiss ME”
- Episode: 9
By episode 9, both girls have gotten more comfortable in their relationship. Yuu easily teases Nanami and Nanami whines about wanting things her way, neither assuming it will somehow change their dynamic. With the school festival approaching, they rarely have time to see each other. Nanami corners Yuu and with a calm smile, embraces her. Her self-assuredness at initiating physical contact is in stark contrast to her usual blushing and shaky voice. Yuu is the one who ends up surprised and Nanami explains she’s ‘recharging her batteries’. Yuu indulges her for a while but then gets annoyed they’re wasting time when there’s still so much to be done. Nanami seems more put-out than disheartened and asks that if she’s good until the festival is over, Yuu should initiate a kiss as her reward. Yuu doesn’t understand the significance but agrees all the same. She doesn’t need to understand excitement and romance to see the effect her actions have on Nanami. Nanami’s just happy to be indulged.
2. “Remember, this is normal”
- Episode: 3
This is the scene where their relationship changes from simple one-sided love to really acting like a couple. During the school election, Yuu notices the usually composed Nanami shaking ever so slightly. Yuu asks a teacher if she can get some fresh air and if Nanami can join her. Once outside Yuu reveals she was worried Nanami wouldn’t want others to notice her nervousness and Nanami’s tough act falls apart. She admits she’s terrified that if she shows any weakness, everyone will lose their faith in her. Her identity as a perfect student is all she has and she’d do anything to hide her weaknesses and she laments that Yuu now knows how weak she is. Yuu holds her to comfort her and says she’s never seen Nanami in that light, so being true to herself isn’t going to push Yuu away. Yuu tenderly rubs Nanami’s head and tells her “Anyone would comfort someone who looks so sad, so this is normal, ok?” Yuu can’t help but want to ease Nanami’s burden even if she doesn’t have those special feelings for her. This somehow means even more to Nanami because she knows Yuu isn’t blinded by irrational love and thus must mean everything she’s saying. She’s not out to win her favor or trick her into being with her. This allows Nanami freedom from her constant façade she’s not had till now. Even for Yuu, just this act devoid of passion feels necessary.
1. “If that’s your choice”
- Episode: 6
This is one of the most powerful scenes in the whole show. After realizing what caused Nanami to bury her insecurities and push herself to be the perfect daughter, student, and girl, Yuu asks her to stop and be true to herself. These kind words echo the sentiments of a thousand love novels and love songs before her and would seem to be just what Nanami would want to hear. Instead, Nanami in a very pointed way replies “I would rather die than hear those words.” Yuu has completely miscalculated Nanami’s motivation. Nanami may not be naturally very smart or brave or dependable but the desire to live the life her sister was robbed of is extremely important to her. It’s not being that type of person that matters, but being the type of person who would try to fill a hole left by another that truly defines Nanami. So devoted to this idea is she that she goes so far as to tell Yuu that it doesn’t matter if she’s there or not.
Perhaps a romantic partner would take it as a blow to their pride or a sign they aren’t truly loved, but Yuu isn’t like that. She wants to be there to eventually fall in love with Nanami and she knows she has to meet her halfway just as Nanami did for her. Yuu repeats that she may never fall in love with Nanami, but she will do what Nanami wants. Trembling, Nanami asks her to help with the play, to not fall for anyone else, and to not hate Nanami for loving her. Yuu says she will do all this for the one who needs her most. They’re both lonely and in search of something different. Thankfully, they find it in each other.
Yagate Kimi ni Naru combines a tale of friendship and romantic love in a way that defies a simple explanation. It’s not a story about a simple refusal to accept feelings or a true love waiting around a corner where suddenly everything makes sense. Relationships don’t need to be defined by past experiences or what seems normal from others’ perspectives. Simply finding your own value makes it valid and important even if it’s different from everything you knew before.