You’d think that if I make an entire page devoted to things like this, I would get to doing this sort of thing a lot sooner than now. As a brief guideline to this series of posts, the analysis that exists here is for the sole purpose of me trying to understand why certain moments jump out to me in anime. It will be purely my interpretation of events, and I may be completely off the mark about what actually happens before or after this particular scene. However, the feelings still exist, and with this I hope to understand where and why those feelings manifest.
Anyway, back to the main point.
What does she want out of Kasuga? It’s quite simple: she wants confirmation that he’s a bonafide pervert. No, she’s absolutely sure that he’s a pervert. Someone who, like her, chooses not to fit into the pretty little mold that society expects them to. After an unknown amount of time being misunderstood and being comfortable with her outcast status, finding a potential deviant like him was probably a light in a world full of shit and maggots.
I’ll provide a bit of context. Nakamura’s problem is not that she doesn’t conform to the standards her middle school demands of her. In fact, she cannot hope to conform thanks to her abrasive and uncompromising personality. She just finds no reason to even attempt to conform. Much like how her classmates and superiors treat her like a black sheep, Nakamura treats her classmates and superiors like regular sheep. She can’t find a single discernible face to interact with because all of them are made of the same shit she despises, but that’s okay. Society misinterprets her behavior as being “contrary” or “antagonistic”, and on the surface she couldn’t care less about what they think.
Yet I don’t think that’s true. What we witness of Nakamura during regular hours is a shell. A persona to protect her from falling apart in a world set against her. Her deviance, her perverseness, is nonexistent when you observe her normally. Sure, she curses at her classmates and her teachers, but that’s for the purpose of getting them to stop bothering her. First impressions would leave you with the assumption that she’s just antisocial.
What you don’t see, however, is a monster waiting to explode. It’s the itch she complains about. Writhing, undulating, black feelings scratch her from the inside. Pure hatred for humanity wells up from her core, but that’s also coupled with a desire to connect with someone like herself. To make them smell her hands so that she can smell theirs. To indulge in dark thoughts with someone other than herself. She is perfectly aware that she’s corrupt, and wants that corruption to spread throughout the entire population. But that desire doesn’t manifest as a physical action. Perhaps she can’t make it come out because she lacks the will to follow through with her desires.
This is where Kasuga comes into play. He’ll be Nakamura’s agent of chaos. His deviance, his repressed feelings, can complete her. Nakamura’s darkness is abstract and has no physical form, so when she wants to lash out at the world she perhaps has no idea how to do it. It’s not enough for her expressions to be self-satisfying. They need to be seen. Kasuga, however, stole his crush’s gym clothes. His darkness is representable, tied to a physical object, but is self-satisfying. He’s absolutely perfect for her to mold into an honest-to-God pervert. If Nakamura can manipulate Kasuga enough to direct his darkness to the outside world, she wouldn’t need to do anything by herself. She can just make Kasuga do it, and she’ll be satisfied with just witnessing that. She can live a corrupt life vicariously through him and not have to suffer the immediate consequences.
But when his essay to her come back as a book of poems, a medium which has no personal input from Kasuga himself, Nakamura realizes that he still hasn’t made a full transition into being a pervert. He harbors dark feelings, yes, but he’s bent on reforming himself and returning to his peers as an upstanding middle school student. To return to his dull life surrounded by people who don’t understand him, mentally masturbating to his “pure” love for Saeki. So he blames his deviance on a book in order to distance himself away from his own actions. The way Nakamura sees it, he was going to go back to a life of denial. He was going to tuck his tail between his legs in and re-assimilate with the rest of the herd. She doesn’t want this. She perhaps fears this. He was so close to being someone who might understand her, a honest-to-God deviant, and he was slipping from her grasp.
To rectify this, she needed some way to convince him that the guilt is still fresh on his mind, that he can’t get rid of it so easily. She sees the gym clothes, the object of his deviance, his dark feelings, in his hands.
She needs to convince Kasuga that his behavior is not separable from his identity, it is real. Him stealing Saeki’s gym clothes is real. The emotions he goes through when he holds her gym clothes is real. To toss that away into an incinerator would mean to toss away the same feelings and emotions that Nakamura so desperately needs from another individual. He has to own up to his own agency by embracing his own actions, his own sin. Since he wasn’t going to take the leap by himself, she felt the need to do it for him. To force his own perverseness on himself. By dressing him in her gym clothes. By getting him to admit that he’s a pervert. That, at his core, he is worthless to society now.
Though Nakamura claims that they’re both deviants, she holds the position of authority in this relationship. She was able to establish her dominance over him by forcibly making him wear the thing that would torment him the most. Kasuga needed to embrace his guilt and stop worrying about how others would look at him, but that guilt was so overpowering that it paralyzes him. By forcibly pushing Kasuga’s guilt on himself thanks to Nakamura, he’s essentially raped. But the rape serves a purpose. If he can change his mindset to fit more into Nakamura’s mold than society’s, then the guilt disappears. Furthermore, he would reach a point where guilt will cease to exist. Society wouldn’t be able to repress him any longer. He’ll transform into an honest-to-God pervert, completely oblivious to both tact and fear, whether he wants to or not. He still has a long way to go before that actually happens, but now that Nakamura has him by the neck it’s truly only a matter of time.