The circle square is completed. Yuzuki-san Chi no Yonkyoudai. was indeed giving us a survey course of the four brothers, and eldest Hayato was the last one up. At 24 he’s really too young to be living his life for his brothers’ sake, but it’s a choice he made (admittedly under duress). It’s nice to see his problems are not forgotten – characters in his position can fail to exist as distinct individuals in series like this, but that’s clearly not the case here.
The occasion for Hayato’s spotlight is his high school reunion – his sixth. Hayato is basically still a child himself but at the age where the reality that he no longer gets to live like one can hit pretty hard. He was apparently quite the idol in high school, complete with his own fanclub, some of whom have shown up for the reunion with the intent of taking a stab at reeling him in. I must confess there’s a bit of a misogynist element to all this – the girls are portrayed unflatteringly to say the least, but they’re not really the focal point of this story.
Things really head south when Hayato starts talking about his brothers, which immediately makes him a non-starter to his stalkers and a bore to everyone else. Yeah, these pups don’t care about someone nattering on about their kids, but I did think the whole “auntie” thing was pretty harsh. It’s not their fault – at 23 or 24 I wouldn’t expect them to feel any differently. He flees the reunion early in a wallow of self-pity, and Saki (the redheads’ mother) stops him on the street in her patrol car and offers to take him out for a drink to drown his sorrows.
Their conversation is an interesting one. Saki is older (maybe six or eight years) and her kids are her own, but she can feel where Hayato is coming from. His feelings of guilt over wondering what his life would be like if he hadn’t saddled himself with three boys are perfectly normal, but of course he has no way to know that. He’s also been harboring guilt over an offhand comment to his later mother about how much better Minato and Mikoto are eating than he was. When Saki takes him home, he arrives to find his brothers have cooked up a surprise birthday party for him. Hayato forgetting his own birthday makes symbolic sense, but at least he has brothers who’ll remember it for him.