“That was the kind of conversation young people have. I wonder how we got there.”
-Yukari Hinata, following a conversation with Yuzuko Nonohara and Yui Ichii regarding her future, Yuyushiki, episode 11
What do you see when you dream about the future?
The eleventh episode of Yuyushiki is one that focuses on units of time. On a rainy day, when time appears to have stopped, the three leads discuss their futures. Yukari Hinata has a future; however, as she explains to her closest friends Yuzuko Nonohara and Yui Ichii, it is one that has already been decided for her. She and her elder brother have been tasked to preserve their family tradition. For Yukari’s brother, this means earning money, presumably through the family business. For Yukari, it means marrying, and becoming the social face of the family. The series makes a point to blur the line between whether this is Yukari’s choice – Yui does interject to say that it has always been Yukari’s dream to become a bride – or if it was thrust upon her from a very early age. Her description of a future, and her awe at others’ ability to choose their own, frames the series in a bittersweet light.
“Besides, times like these are precious.”
-Yui Ichii, Yuyushiki, episode 11
Hearing Yukari’s joy in taking part in a conversation that “young people have” saddens me because, even on the cusp of turning 30 years-old, I can still dream about my own future. In spite of this ability, when looking at my own past, it seems melancholy at times. There are always things I think back on, and wonder if I could have done them better, treated friends better, or tried harder. I wonder if I appreciated the present that I had those specific moments, and deride myself for not relishing it more.
The time that Yukari has with her friends may be the freest period of her life as her future is solidly reserved for her family. Through Yukari, Yuyushiki frames itself as a series of moment in these three girls’ present. She serves as a reminder to the viewer that looking back towards the past, or forward into the future, often sacrifices the time that one has now, in the present. Fittingly, Yuyushiki ends as just another moment in time for the three: a day at the beach and the end of summer vacation. Times like that are precious.