So my sister brought up how Mihashi’s narrative is similar to an abuse narrative - it’s true that Mihashi is a giant negative person who cries a lot, but it’s not that simple.
Mihashi is incredibly negative and has 0 self esteem because of what happened to him on his middle school baseball team - he was severely bullied (members even threatened to break his arm so he’d stop pitching) and ignored by most of the team (except Kanou). Mihashi also doesn’t communicate in a common manner - he tends to leave phrases out of his sentences when he speaks and as Hanai commented, the way he fidgets etc. annoys people, or supposedly “provokes” people into wanting to bully him. Which is honestly a really shitty mentality (and ableist???). Basically it just means that Mihashi is a really easy target for bullying. [anger noises]
But Mihashi also feels that he deserves all of this, for not being good (how much do you want to bet that Mihashi begged Kanou to not do anything, that he’d handle it on his own or something like that, and Kanou never realized how bad the bullying it was - REMINDER: THEY WANTED TO BREAK MIHASHI’S ARM). This is a similar mentality to abuse (but regarding bullying instead), where the victim finds blame in themself and internalizes a bunch of shit.
So like, when people say that Mihashi cries too much and is wimpy and stuff, I honestly wish they would shut up.
I mean Mihashi was crying when he told Kanou that he was going to quit baseball forever - he even studied to get out of Mihoshi, and Mihashi is terrible at studying. When Mihashi first comes to Nishiura and checks out the baseball club he doesn’t intend to enter but accidentally lets it slip that he’s a pitcher. But before he pitches anything at all, he immediately break down crying because he thinks that his pitching is worth nothing (but he loves pitching so much that he couldn’t help himself). Mihashi really has 0 self esteem.
And so the meeting with Abe is incredibly important. Because if Mihashi hadn’t met Abe, he might have fallen into depression.
Mihashi only has baseball. Mihashi’s only way to really “communicate” with people in a way that they’d understand properly was baseball.
As Sakaeguchi notes:
Back then, he was treated as though he didn’t exist and felt like an invisible man. But on the mound you can’t start until the pitcher throws. While standing on the mound, you know that you truly matter.
If he gave up the mound, his essence would disappear.
Despite being bound by various contradictions and self doubt, and even while becoming a black sheep, Mihashi never let go of the mound during middle school.
And so if Mihashi had really quit baseball (and he was going to, honestly, if Abe hadn’t demanded to see him pitch), Mihashi probably wouldn’t have made any friends and would probably be alone. This is actually supported by canonical evidence:
It’s really depressing to think about, which is why this other doujinshi by Clap Your Hands is important.
What if Abe hadn’t gone to Nishiura? What if no one had really, decisively reached out to Mihashi, even going as far to tell him that they liked him?
The reason why Abe is so important to Mihashi, to the point where Mihashi places Abe on a pedestal and constantly repeats “I’ll just pitch as you say” is because Abe is the only person Mihashi really thinks likes him. Abe is the only person who actively reached out, when he knew nothing about Mihashi, and just straight up told Mihashi that he liked Mihashi.
So Mihashi starts thinking of Abe as some magical thing - as long as he follows Abe, everything will be okay. People will like Mihashi because Mihashi can be useful when Abe’s in control. Everyone in the past hated Mihashi because he wasn’t useful, so the only way for anyone to like him is for him to be useful (brb crying).
Which is why Mihashi fears losing Abe above all. Mihashi is afraid of Abe for the entire “bad communication arc” (from the start of the series until they lose at the bijou game) on some level because Mihashi has entrusted his entire mental wellbeing to Abe’s existence and acceptance of him. Which is a bad thing to do, but entirely understandable given Mihashi’s character and lack of self esteem. Mihashi always worries that Abe is mad, that Abe will want to leave them. If Abe isn’t there, Mihashi can’t be useful - if Abe isn’t there, then Mihashi will be utterly alone.
And at the same time, Mihashi’s negative feedback loop is what actually infuriates Abe (not for very long lol, Abe is just prickly) and so Mihashi and Abe’s relationship for the entire bad communication arc, despite how many cute moments it has, is unbalanced. Mihashi needs constant reassurance, but Abe can’t provide that - no one can provide that. Abe also fundamentally doesn’t get Mihashi, which leads to other communication break downs.
But all those cute moments from the bad communication arc also have a purpose - I’ve spammed character analysis tags about why Abe has control problems; but the main thing to remember is that Abe and Mihashi are both placing their worth / hopes in each other.
Abe: I’ll devote myself to you for the next three years.
Mihashi: As long as I follow Abe’s directions, everything will be okay.
Which is why Abe getting injured is so fundamentally important. It directly challenges the unbalanced dynamic they’ve set up (destroying their promise that “Abe won’t get injured for 3 years”), and it forces Mihashi to reevaluate how others see him. Tajima as the character who actually understands Mihashi’s speech patterns becomes the replacement catcher, and that’s the first time Mihashi ever shakes his head at his own volition (reminder: the catcher from Mihoshi hated Mihashi and refused to give signs). Mihashi then discovers that it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to disagree, it’s okay to work together to find a compromise. (Meanwhile in the dugout Abe finally comes to terms that his relationship with Mihashi is wrong and resolves to apologize, good for you). In healthy relationships, your “no” is respected.
At the same time Mihashi also learns that he was forcing all the responsibility onto Abe, and that he shouldn’t put all his worth in Abe’s hands. Tajima is there, Hanai is there, the rest of the team supports Mihashi (ONE OUT!). Mihashi is liked and valued, even when he slips up sometimes. They just need to have confidence.
Which is why I love oofuri so much, because it’s just so character driven. Mihashi and Abe are both amazing (and cute!!) characters, and they help each other grow so much.
If he still feels like he belongs here even if he gives up the mound, that’s great.
sorry for this long ugly post, but this whole scene really touched me and i can’t stop thinking about it.. :(( i thought it was nice that for once, mihashi really went out of his way to tell abe what was on his mind without abe having to coax it out of him. it makes what he said to abe feel all the more important, and it’s great that abe realizes the importance of it too. he knows that this time, it’s not just an empty promise he’s making to mihashi so that mihashi doesn’t worry or falter, he really has to know that he can get hurt if he’s too reckless, and it won’t be worth it for anyone. they only have two years left together, and then it’s college and they will never get this opportunity again. it’s the same reason why in the previous chapter, mihashi realizes that, “it’s no good with tajima, i have to pitch to abe-kun” and that just…hurts me….because….i love them a lot
Haruna Motoki is the last person in the world anyone should ever turn to for romantic advice, but he’s all Abe’s got - and if Abe is finally going to muster up the courage to tell Mihashi how he really feels about him, he’s going to need all the help he can get.
Written for Oofuri Ship Week Day 2: Texting, and inspired by this.
OOFURI IS THE BEST SPORTS ANIME THERE IS OK??? LIKE YOU THINK HAIKYUU IS GAY? OOFURI IS R E A L G A Y
Ok but since I am actually going to convince u to watch oofuri pls continue reading for a very in depth and personal analysis of this anime and manga that has ruined my entire life and simultaneously pulled me together and made me whole again.
Ookiku Furikabutte is the full name of the show, and it centers around the protagonist Mihashi Ren (the little guy I use when I reply to all my asks, and the original baby birb) and he’s got anxiety. Like real bad anxiety. But that’s okay! Because his team accepts him for who he is, despite him being annoying at times, and jumping to conclusions, and fretting over little things. (Ex: If Abe’s not here, I can’t pitch…) One of the things I really love with this show is his anxiety and shit doesn’t magically get better through the “power of friendship” He continues to struggle with it, but he grows as a person and learns to tell himself otherwise, while coming out of his shell to his teammates, and learning to trust others again. (EX: “I’m not good enough… no… I am… good enough…”)
ok I actually went way into depth abt this so im putting it under a cut if u read it all i will give u a kiss on ur cheek