I just. do you ever think about this panel in “pair”. seishirou is in hospital and runs the risk of going blind. subaru has been chatting to a blind man who advocates for subaru staying by seishirou’s side and helping him. the culmination of this conversation is a double-page spread of seishirou and subaru crossing the road together with a parcel of groceries. and just.
it’s subaru’s idealised projection of what life with seishirou would be like and it is so, so simple. they’re going grocery shopping together. they’re crossing a busy city road together. it is this ridiculously understated and ordinary domestic moment. it is this hesitant and hopeful alternative to all the incredibly bleak portrayals of modern urban life that tokyo babylon has previously examined. it’s two people participating in a banal everyday task and being happy together.
together they can overcome that bleakness. the running theme of “pair” is working together to help each other - the guide dog helps the blind man, the blind man helps subaru, subaru wants to help seishirou. “helping each other” is the closest we get to a remedy to the ills of modern society presented throughout tokyo babylon. being together with someone means that you can do your best to make life bearable for each other
this is what subaru hoped to be for seishirou. this is what the “good end” could have been. and ultimately it comes down, once again, to the fact that seishirou and subaru’s ideals of self vs other and how those ideals intersect with desire and will are so diametrically opposed. seishirou was blinded because he did something apparently selfless (protecting subaru) for a selfish reason (the terms of his manipulative and self-indulgent bet). subaru is attempting to do something genuinely selfless (protecting seishirou) for a reason that seishirou construes as selfish (assuaging his own guilt, loving seishirou). seishirou cannot participate in this “good end” where people make the best of a bad living situation by helping each other because he doesn’t believe in altruism.
this panel is just. it is such a tender and private moment and it gives us such a good glimpse into everything important about subaru’s ideas of love and responsible co-habitation and optimism before Everything Is Ruined Forever and it breaks me every time.