In the Adachi to Shimamura anime, Hougetsu Shimamura has a confusing emotional divide that only reading light novels can understand.
Kodoani.com – Adachi to Shimamura is a light novel series by Hitoma Iruma with illustrations by Non and has inspired anime and manga adaptations. Despite being a yuri romance drama of the iyashikei genre, one of its main characters, Shimamura Hougetsu, is surprisingly colder than winter in Hokkaido. Since she is the love of the other main character, Adachi Sakura, her emotional split is often the cause of conflicts between the two girls.
While it’s clear Shimamura Preferring Adachi’s company to her other friends, she also keeps Adachi within arm’s reach. Even when she reunites with her childhood best friend Tarumi, her separation persists as the latter tries to rekindle the close feelings they once shared. With two best friends of Shimamura always wanting her love and affection, it begs the question: “What’s going on with Shimamura that she doesn’t reciprocate?” While both the anime and manga adaptations provide some explanation for her behavior, the light novels do more to fill the void.
Shimamura Stopped For Losing A Childhood Friend
A relationship explored further in the Adachi to Shimamura light novel is Shimamura’s past with Tarumi. Contrary to the 16-year-old Shimamura of today, she herself from kindergarten to elementary school is much more active, outgoing and carefree. As such, she easily makes friends with other children and is especially fond of Tarumi, who is always a bit shy. They even gave each other cute nicknames in the form of “Taru-chan” and “Shima-chan” as children.
To continue the story, how young Shimamura is different from her present one, a chapter in Vol. 5 describes how her relationship with Adachi would have been different if they had met when they were preschoolers. Since Adachi has been extremely introverted since he was a child, Shimamura will be in trouble when it comes to her. While the younger Adachi wants to monopolize her company, the younger Shimamura will refuse her to play with Tarumi and their other classmates. Tarumi will also object to Adachi taking Shima-chan from her.
Shimamura and Tarumi’s friendship comes to an abrupt end when they attend two separate middle schools. This is a huge loss for both girls, negatively affecting their self-esteem. Shimamura is forced to form new relationships again but finds it difficult to relate to her new classmates. After failing to make a meaningful connection with them, she eventually gave up. Tarumi begins to become depressed, leading to truancy. While the separation isn’t the girl’s fault, it still informs their future interactions – and especially Shimamura’s future emotional chill.
Shimamura Is Often Blamed By Her Mother
Summarizing Shimamura’s negative feelings towards relationships is her highly criticized mother. While Shimamura is at least lucky to have an attractive father who cares about her future, she doesn’t do so authentically either. Her mother regularly reminds her of her failures and criticizes her flaws in front of others, more than fostering her daughter’s positive traits and rewarding her achievements.
Shimamura finds this behavior of her mother hurtful, and every time she asserts her boundaries, her mother ignores her and criticizes her many times. She did this consistently in Adachi’s presence, often leaving Shimamura feeling angry and embarrassed. Even though Shimamura doesn’t show anger on her face, she still accepts it, which leads to negative results. The end result is an inability to set and maintain natural boundaries, along with a tendency to withdraw from most social situations and keep her relationships at the surface level.
Shimamura Is Protecting Himself Against More Injury
Today’s protagonist in Adachi to Shimamura is a high school girl who has completely lost touch with who she is, thanks to her cumulative negative experiences with relationships. Despite having a gentle personality that makes her attractive to other girls, Shimamura still doesn’t think too highly of herself and struggles to define her self-worth. This problem is only exacerbated by the fact that identity in Japan is largely shaped by the relationships one possesses. The absence of important relationships in Japan often results in the loss of an individual’s identity, which is exactly what happened to Shimamura.
Personally, Shimamura knows that she became emotionally cold as a young adult, and that her actions are easily seen as cruel by others. At the same time, she feels comfortable with that perception of herself because it shields her from painful experiences in the future. This skepticism also reveals how Shimamura connects with her classmates Hino Akira and Nagafuji Taeko, whom she considers superficial friends. She enjoys them both hanging out with them, but never gives them a chance to get to know her as a person. When she met Sancho, Pancho, and Delos in her sophomore year of high school, she made good on her policy of not letting anyone near.
When Shimamura befriends Adachi, she is surprisingly attracted to her but doesn’t understand why. To an outside observer, their connection is based on the fact that they are both truant students – interestingly the view she adopts. Even when it is clear to her that Adachi loves her more than a friend, it is still difficult for her to accept it and rationalize Adachi’s behavior as a sign of her own negligent upbringing. So she decided to become Adachi’s “older sister” and fulfill her emotional needs in the same way as her biological sister. It wasn’t until Tarumi returned to her life – purely by chance – that Shimamura was met with a serious reality check.
The fact that Adachi had Shimamura reintroduce Tarumi created many cracks in the walls that Shimamura had built around him over the years. Not only does she get her lost best friend back, but she immediately returns to a place where emotions hurt rather than excitement. Shimamura’s immediate reaction was to keep his investment in Tarumi close. This reaction puzzled Tarumi, who couldn’t understand why Shimamura wasn’t excited about their reunion and was immediately hurt by the coldness of her feelings. When Shimamura realizes how her cruel behavior is hurting Tarumi, she begins a concerted effort to change – though not necessarily in a way that connects her to her true self.