“Cloudy Sky” is the first episode where I’ve been able to actually enjoy the show for what it is instead of looking for things to ease my fears that this might actually be a shota series in disguise.
But before we even talk about “Cloudy Sky” I need to share fun embarrassing moment here. I had no idea that a “raccoon dog” was an actual species. I thought it was just a silly nickname the Kaidous were using for a funny looking little dog (which is apparently actually a Pomeranian?). Please, feel free to laugh at me. I deserve it. In my defense, we don’t have them where I’m from. This also puts Ren’s reaction to the animal in a fair bit more context. The kid loves dogs and the “raccoon dog” isn’t something he had in Canada either, so he didn’t really know any better.
But anyway, enough about dogs (sorry Ren). Let’s get to the meat of the episode. We’re introduced to Kiyoka, whose fierce personality is both refreshing and a bit angst inducing. On the one hand, it’s great to see someone finally give Haru a bit of a reality check about his business idea. On the other hand, her harsh words to Ren caused an already angsty character to get even more angsty. Add on the fact that Ren’s new dog might have other owners out there and man, the angst factor has increased pretty rapidly.
Kiyoka also provides an outsider’s view of what Ren and Haru’s relationship has become. It’s pretty obvious she’s affronted by the idea that they might be in a relationship, but when she learned they aren’t actually related she pulls back a little. She still doesn’t understand why Haru takes care of Ren, but Iku comes to their defense. I’m starting to like Iku more now. Besides being a sort of comic relief type character (which is my least favorite type of stock character), he also provides friendship beyond the immediate familial bond of the Kaidous. He’s not a Kaidou, but he’s there for the brothers anyway. It’s so very much needed.
The topic of consent also gets carried over into this episode, but it’s sort of flipped into the reverse from last week. This time the question of Haru’s consent in their relationship comes up. Ren, angsty little dude that he is, confronts Haru about all that he’s done for him. He fears that Haru is going way out of his way to accommodate him out of some sort of obligation. If Haru is doing it out of a sense of obligation, is it really something he’s consenting to? It’s interesting coming at it from that perspective because it’s felt like Haru’s been the one pushing their closeness since the beginning, with Ren just sort of going along because he either doesn’t know any better or because he’s apathetic to the situation. But no, we’ve now established that Ren is all in for whatever it is that’s between them. Now it’s time to look at Haru’s level of consent, which is kind of an unexpected lens to look at their relationship through.
“Cloudy Sky” doesn’t resolve any of this angst, and actually ends with Ren promising to maintain an “appropriate distance” and to be “just a brother” to Haru. Ouch. The angst. It burns. I want these two idiots to understand that they actually are on the same page, but it’s a complicated relationship. There’s so much taboo about their relationship that it’s hard to start it on solid footing. Though they aren’t related by blood, they are brothers in the eye of the law. They’re also both men, and there’s a considerable age difference. If these weren’t issues, they’d still have complicated personality hurdles to jump over (Ren’s constant guilt for everything, for example), but at least they could be more open and honest about the fact they like each other more than just family.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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