To You, My Sworn Enemy Analysis
A major theme in this side story is “healing.” Most obvious is Haruki’s gradual recovery after the events that took place in Kazusa’s normal ending (analyzed here). But there is also Kazusa’s own healing process after the separation, keeping herself busy with music and looking after her mother, and the ultimate confounding of her long-standing notion that she is some sort of idiot who is more or less alone in the world except for her piano. There is Youko’s illness, from which Kazusa is desperate to see her recover. And there is Setsuna, who seems on the surface to be doing just fine after her initial time spent away from Haruki, dedicating herself to being part of Haruki’s healing process, but is herself fracturing in a way that is obvious to anyone who looks at her, and requires care of her own. None of these healing processes comes easily—after everything that has happened, in particular with our main three, it wouldn’t be realistic if they did—but they do come, with time and effort.
Setsuna’s struggles are a major focal point of the story. This fact relates to a crucial difference between her breakdown in the story, and Haruki’s breakdown in the ending that framed it. Haruki’s break, his fragmentation, his distancing from himself, was primarily physical: he became, by his own admission, a beast that could think of nothing but sex with Kazusa, almost around the clock. Setsuna’s break, meanwhile, is more mental: all she can focus on is saving Haruki, and it becomes an obsession. She doesn’t spend all her time with him, but talks about her weekends taking care of him as something blissful, about getting a dark sense of satisfaction out of being the one who’s there when he cries, the one he clings to. Haruki cut himself off entirely, while Setsuna has others around her still, her interactions with which give a more complete picture of her fall. She becomes confrontational, even hostile, toward her friends and family when they express concern for her—when Takeya points out that she’s starting to talk in terms of “having to” do things for him instead of wanting to, for example, or her parents try to get her to think realistically about the future, whether with Haruki or without him. Setsuna feels caged-in by everyone else’s worries and input; Haruki built his own cage and locked himself in it.
These notable differences between their breakdowns do bring into greater relief one particular, very unsettling parallel incident: Setsuna’s physical symptoms in part 7, as she prepares to board the train to Haruki’s apartment. Sweating, chills, numbness, nausea—it lines up almost perfectly with what Haruki started to experience every time he left his apartment during his time living with Kazusa. When she does make it to his apartment, her energy throughout the visit is clearly more frantic and forced than usual—and, as she bustles around doing chores, she acknowledges to herself that moving around so much that she doesn’t have time to think is the best thing for her at the moment. Though the moving around she’s doing is very different from the activity Haruki used to distract himself from his guilt in the ending, a distraction is a distraction, and a maladaptive one at that. And, what’s more, Haruki recognizes it, which is why he cuts her off before it can get any worse.
Kazusa and Setsuna’s fateful phone call in the final section, after Haruki has sent Setsuna away, plays two important roles. First, it completes a relationship break that, while painful, might have saved a lot of grief had it happened sooner; and second, it highlights a belief in the way Kazusa and Setsuna have both been handling Haruki—almost like an object, something with no agency, to be entrusted, taken, reclaimed, saved, fixed, purely by the power of one of them, doomed without it. Setsuna panics, believing that she isn’t going to be able to carry out the task left to her by Kazusa; Kazusa flies into a rage, demanding that she “give Haruki back” if she’s not going to be able to save him. Neither of them considers the possibility that there might be hope for Haruki independent of either of them.
Because Setsuna has come to attach so much of her happiness, her sense of purpose, her reason for existence, to this particular task, the shock when she learns that she wasn’t the sole reason for Haruki’s recovery is devastating. As Haruki notes in his narration, everything Setsuna did was one of several necessary processes in the whole progression. There was medication, there was time carefully spent outside and around other people, there was support from his coworkers, there were check-ins with the doctor. It was, above all, a matter of time. And as he points out to Setsuna, she tends to look at things in extremes. Either she is his savior, as Kazusa tasked her with being, or she is an angel of death, a plague, making everything worse. It never occurred to her that there could be anything between.
Nevertheless, Haruki hoped, prayed, that Setsuna would come back, to the point of leaving a note for her every time he went out, on the off-chance that she would show up and see it. Even though she didn’t single-handedly save him, he wanted her there. This is an important lesson to learn for any relationship: the value of being wanted, even without necessarily being needed, or what it means to be “needed” emotionally without being someone’s single lifeline. Setsuna has to grapple with this idea a bit, because she and Kazusa both believed that she needed to save him, and he had no hope otherwise. But he wants her, and he loves her. She doesn’t have to serve a purpose. All she has to do is be there, and be herself.
Kazusa, meanwhile, runs herself almost into the ground trying to make her concerto happen, but her determination to give Youko what she wants sees her through. She goes through the work of setting up a computer, writing emails, making phone calls, demonstrating a shocking level of drive for someone who had established herself as thoroughly antisocial. She grits her teeth through rehearsal after rehearsal with a fussy, almost fanatical conductor who won’t even tell her what she’s doing wrong. And, after the show is over, she manages to pick her way through an interview—perhaps a smaller achievement objectively than the concert itself, but one through which Haruki recognizes just how much she has grown. She also learns, as a result of this experience, just how many people she has on her side—not just her mother, but Miyoko, Martin Flügel, the electronics company that sponsored her, the apparent network of influential performers who care about her like a daughter, and everyone else who came together to help this performance happen.
Kazusa’s growth can be neatly summed up with the exclamation she makes, in Japanese, during her interview: Zamaamiro—“just you watch.” It’s a confrontation, a promise, a farewell, all at once, and there’s very little question as to its main targets. Kazusa is ready to face her future, and her mother’s potential recovery—her return to the proud, selfish rival that Kazusa lamented losing earlier in the story—would certainly help. It may be bewildering, it may be frustrating, but it also gives Kazusa a concrete next step as she spreads her wings abroad.
For Haruki and Setsuna, there is work left to be done. It’s clear that Setsuna is still comparing herself with Kazusa, as she has been throughout the story. That she admits freely the possibility of her feeling jealous of Kazusa for the rest of her life is a step, but it’s also something that urgently needs to be addressed if she’s serious about it, because that sort of feeling will put a major wrench into a long-term relationship. Kazusa has demonstrated her determination to move forward; Setsuna will have to do the same. Haruki’s counseling suggestion, though Setsuna ignored it in the moment, might well be a good one for them to follow—there’s a lot to work through, with a history like theirs, not just jealousy. But with time, and the will to do that work, there’s hope.