I agree that Hanako was probably not, er, madly in love with Hisao. I could have worded that better.
That's not what I said, actually. Hanako was in love with Hisao, no doubt about that, and has been for quite a while. With her, it's difficult to figure out, but I wouldn't have been surprised if she developed a crush on him around the time she first thanked him for hanging out with her in Act 1.
I don't think she necessarily wanted a romantic relationship. She thought Hisao wanted one. There is a difference there.
But I think it safe to say she merely wanted a friendship. Not to be pitied, but to be loved as a person, even if she was not loved as a better half. I think... that would have been enough for her.
Hanako thought Hisao was looking for a girlfriend and she failed his aptitude test for being a burden to him. So she seduced him in an attempt to show him that she wasn't a child and that she was capable of...being with a man as much as any other girl.
Make no mistake, Hanako wanted more than just a friendship with Hisao. Just before kissing him on the lips, Hanako states she's wanted to do this for a very long time. She wouldn't have said that if she didn't desire a romantic relationship with him. You don't kiss mere friends on the lips.
Ultimately it comes down to this: Hanako wishes to be loved - not simply protected. She wishes to have meaning and value - to herself, to the people she loves. And I guess... she thought she could "trade" for it. Like she thought she needed to "trade" when she got information about his life. Give her self in exchange for a sense of worth - love - from Hisao.
That, of course, is not how love works. But she'd hardly be the first one to fall into that trap, now would she? There are many insecure girls who think that giving their boyfriends their bodies will make them love them, and protect themselves from being hurt. Cos he's supposed to love you when you have sex, right?
The trading thing is indeed very much how Hanako sees human relationships. It's a recurring dynamic in the developing bond between her and Hisao. After Hanako got scarred by the fire, the children she thought were here friends became her bullies. Because of this, Hanako finds it nearly impossible to believe people would treasure her merely for "being her". So instead, she judges her perceived value to people by the amount of "favors" she can return in kind. It allows her to measure her value by a non-abstract measuring stick.
This is the main reason why Hanako found her place relatively quickly in the newspaper club in Lilly's route...her classmates gave her stuff to do that she was good at and because she got to make herself useful, her self-esteem improved.
This is also the reason why she secretly felt insecure about her relationship with Lilly. Hanako loved Lilly, no doubt about that, but the relationship was unbalanced and Hanako knew this. Hanako relied on Lilly a lot as an emotional crutch. But Lilly wouldn't rely on Hanako for emotional support whenever she was troubled. (we learn in Lilly's route that Lilly doesn't like to share her burdens with others) This is a shame because if she had, their friendship would have been a lot deeper and Hanako would have opened up to Lilly more.
However, and I can't stress that enough, the sex was NOT part of one of Hanako's typical "trading" actions. She didn't sleep with him in return for love. She slept with him in return for an opportunity to win his love.
The sex may have cause enough alarm to wake them up and ask them "Are you doing this, or aren't you?!". And that might seem a good thing. But it was wholly unnecessary. What was needed you acknowledge yourself: they needed to bear not only their scars, but their HEARTS to each other. That's what they did in the park, and that's the only thing Hanako or Hisao needed to do. That is the only thing that broke the walls. The sex was, at best, only a catalyst to an already uncomfortable relationship that needed sorting out.
Hisao did not need to protect her from her feelings or baby her. He needed to get her to spit out what she'd been holding in secret.
Thing is, bearing their hearts was close to impossible for both. Even in the last act, neither understood the other very well. If Hanako and Hisao had been able to open up to each other just like that without some external motivation, a lot of the struggles in the arc wouldn't have taken place, Hisao and Hanako would have started going out as early as Act 3 and indeed, the awkward sex would have been unnecessary. But they couldn't. That's why the sex wasn't unnecessary...it created a necessary crisis in their friendship that could have ended the friendship unless they came clean to one another and made a fresh start. Without the threat of their friendship ending, I doubt Hanako would have been able to admit her lack of trust in Hisao and Lilly, nor do I think Hisao would have admitted to Hanako he indeed used to see her as a fragile child who had to be protected.
This might be so. That did not mean they needed to go through with it. Simply asking Hisao to sleep with her would have been an awkward enough event to cause them to choose to "do or die", never mind actually going through with it.
But by accepting her attempt to seduce him, it became a shared slip-up instead of just an error in Hanako's judgement. That sense of equality was important. It wasn't just Hanako who needed to spit things out, the same was true for Hisao. Both of them sharing responsibility for what happened was an important factor in their mutual venting session.
She could also have invited him to go steady. Or he could have.
Except that Hanako figured Hisao saw her too much as a child to protect to view her as a viable romantic partner. And Hisao figured Hanako was too fragile to accept a relationship.
Wrote an ode
I realize this is just an example, but we're talking about a girl here who hardly ever speaks in more than short single sentences.
or bought him something that expressed just how she felt about him. And he could have done those same things, too
It's actually pretty difficult to get out of the friend zone by simply buying gifts. Even "I love you" can be interpreted in many different ways and not the specific way that Hanako desired.
(if he had known how they'd actually related to each other).
But he didn't.
He had wanted to consider her as more than a friend, even before they had sex.
That was unfortunately before she had that breakdown in class at which point he decided that a romantic interest was not what she needed right now.
There's a thousand ways to show a man (or a woman) that you want something more, even if it is simply to be worth something in that person's eyes, without resorting to sex. One of the best and most clear ways, is simply telling them so.
I understand as much, but just about every one of those ways involved actually opening up which neither was really prepared to do until the situation had them at gunpoint. Which was the main problem. If "simply telling them so" was really that easy, then yes, the sex would have been unnecessary.
He has thought this BEFORE the night they spent together. He had thought to himself that he liked her, maybe even loved her. But he was afraid to pursue a relationship because of how fragile he thought she was. Perhaps the sex was a catalyst to thinking otherwise. Perhaps approaching him in any kind of way would have been such a catalyst.
Perhaps. Then again, there were multiple issues. One was Hisao's view of Hanako as a broken and fragile person. The other was Hanako's lack of trust in Hisao's willingness to stick around her and lack of believe that Hisao needed her in some way. Ultimately, Hanako's drastic action adressed one directly and by creating a crisis in their friendship, forced the adressing of the second one. I'm not sure if many other methods would have tended to both as effectively. A less drastic approach may not have resulted in the pressure that Hanako needed to spit some of the things out that she did in the park.
But none of it would have been hitting the mark. Hanako's and Hisao's finally coming out and bearing all their emotions to each other? THAT was hitting the mark.
Ultimately, this is what solved things for real. Or rather, pointed them both in the right direction to start the process of getting to know each other for real.
Pleasure talking with you again, Guest Poster.
The pleasure was all mine. I have a tendency to quote-pick posts, which sometimes comes across as a bit argumentative, but don't let that bother you. We actually agree on a lot, we're not going to agree on everything, but I can see we can respectfully disagree on the points of view we don't share.