Yes, I am back; no, I am not back yet.
I have returned from my trip to Melbourne and Tasmania for over a week, yet I have been very unready for writing this Chapter Review. Other than a bit of (amplified) laziness, I also have a lot of other things to catch up: news, movies, games, anime, and most importantly gatherings. I have been meeting different groups of friends throughout the past week, and dear God that’s exhausting.
Still, I reckon this is a wonderful experience which cannot be missed, because I think I already understand something Nagi has just fully comprehended in these two chapters. While “Nagi learned a wonderful lesson” is a nice thing to say, I think it would be necessary to go a little deeper and find out exactly what “wonderful lesson” Nagi has learned.
Let’s do some recap before we go on. Basically Nagi has finally ended her life of “poverty” and returns to her big Mansion and life of luxury. While she certainly enjoys certain parts of her material life (the high quality of her luxurious household is well noted), she finds herself empty and lonely, and she starts missing her friends who are currently staying at the Violet Mansion, a place she was sick to live in.
It is thus very easy to conclude that Nagi finally understands that friendship is more important than money, but I find this weird. I don’t really see Nagi thinking that her friends are inferior to her money, or that she would no longer need her friends when she has her money back. What she said to Ayumu in Ch. 467 was merely that her moving back to the Sanzen’in Mansion was not a deal big enough to justify a farewell party. If I remember correctly, Nagi doesn’t fancy parties, so I don’t think it is a particularly ignorant or rude thing to say.
Nagi has always valued her friends. Maybe she isn’t as kind to other people as her friends are, but she never hates having friends. This is why I said that Nagi’s “wonderful lesson” is not about the value of friends. So, what else could the “wonderful lesson” be? Or, to ask a question more to the point: what has Nagi not valued before, but now she understands as a loss?
There could be different answers to the question, but my take would be something I have already mentioned above: the Violet Mansion. The “poor apartments”, as Nagi described in Ch. 390, is of course a sign of her life of “poverty”. However, it is also a life of a unique “happiness” that couldn’t be found at the Sanzen’in Mansion or be replaced by Nagi’s material life.
In short, Nagi’s statement that she was sick of living at the Violet Mansion is now proven wrong.
Don’t get me wrong: I do not think it is wrong for Nagi to return to her luxurious life. It is, after all, what she deserves, and in the end Nagi is much more herself with her money than without. As such, I won’t be suggesting that Nagi should give up her wealth and return to the Violet Mansion. Now that Nagi finds there is something valuable about the life at the Violet Mansion, what should she do?
I think we have already seen the answer in CTMEOY and Cuties. Many people found it hard to understand why Nagi would move between the Sanzen’in Mansion and the Violet Mansion, but now it makes perfect sense for me. Nagi is a rich young lady, so she would normally be living her luxurious life, hence she usually would stay at the Sanzen’in Mansion. Yet Nagi would sometimes want to have fun with her friends, so she would move to the Violet Mansion for weekends – or, more honestly, whenever she likes.
Both the Sanzen’in Mansion and the Violet Mansion do not satisfy all of Nagi’s needs and wants on their own. By switching frequently between the two households, Nagi’s life would suddenly become much more colourful. It is highly anticipated that Nagi would become a much more open and energetic person.
In Ch. 390, Nagi assumed that everything would return to normal once her wealth was restored. Now she understands that her “normal” life has a much bigger world than just Hayate and Maria. Take that as Nagi’s growth thus far.