The couples of Marmalade Boy: Meiko & Satoshi (oh yeah, and Namura)

The couples of Marmalade Boy: Meiko & Satoshi (oh yeah, and Namura)

Meiko and Namura

After discussing couples Miki & Yuu and Ginta & Arimi, it’s time to move on to the last central couple in the series: Meiko and Namura. Or maybe not. I’ll actually be talking about Meiko and Satoshi, the losing rival for her affections, alongside Meiko and Namura. Of all the couples in the series, Meiko and Satoshi probably register with me the most, because Marmalade Boy is the only series I’ve encountered where I preferred a pairing that doesn’t end up together over one that definitively does. I know I’m not the only fan to root for Satoshi over Namura for Meiko’s affections, but I think my reasons are different than most. While some people root for Meiko to end up with Satoshi because they dislike Namura’s character or the fact that he’s her teacher, I prefer Meiko and Satoshi simply for their own interactions. Satoshi is nice, cool and he is my favorite male character in the entire series, so it’s easy to root for him simply because he’s so likable. This also makes it easier to pity the fact that he ends up alone. But I think the Meiko-Satoshi pairing has enough of its own merits to root for them beyond the likability of Satoshi’s character.

When Namura moves to Hiroshima after the school finds out he and Meiko have been dating, I felt sorry that Meiko lost the person she loved. Namura was more than a boyfriend for her; he was an escape from her unhappy home life. When Satoshi enters the series, he uses his playboy charms to try and convince Meiko to go out with him, spouting cheesy lines like ‘I want to see your smile.’ But as the series progresses, it becomes obvious how sincere Satoshi’s feelings for Meiko are, and she begins to take him more seriously and slowly moves past Namura. During this time, Satoshi compliments Meiko on her writing, and encourages her to write more than just reviews for the school newspaper. Meiko grows more confident in her writing and eventually wins an award for a manuscript Satoshi had entered in a contest without her knowledge. The couple’s dynamic is fun as well. She’s one of the few people to bring out the shy, sincere side of his typically charming demeanor, and he knows how to make her laugh even though she’s typically so reserved. He’s also one of the few people to make her angry, especially when he’s acting childish, but she forgives him because of how thoughtful he can be towards her. As the series went along, it became obvious how much Satoshi brought Meiko out of her shell and helped her become a better person, which is the main reason I wanted to see them together. But as soon as it seemed as though Meiko was falling for him, Namura came back into the picture, and into Meiko’s heart.

Meiko, Namura and Satoshi

When Meiko travels to Hiroshima to see Namura, she tells him that she won’t be happy without him. But I just couldn’t figure out why. Even if Namura had been her shoulder to cry on, he hadn’t done half as much for her as Satoshi. If anything, I saw Namura as the father figure Meiko was missing in her life, and I just couldn’t see them together as an example of ‘true love.’ This is especially true because Namura comes across as controlling, when he decides they can’t be together and he’s doing it for her sake because he’d ‘ruin her future’ because she was still so young, which really just sounds like he’s making poorly-backed up excuses. Even when they get back together, he asks her if she’ll follow him anywhere, as if their relationship revolves around him. The author of Marmalade Boy, Wataru Yoshizumi, must have realized that many members of the audience were unconvinced about Meiko and Namura, because she included a scene where Satoshi explains why Meiko and Namura should be together. But, just like with Miki and Yuu, this was told instead of shown, and I’m still firmly unconvinced that Namura even deserved Meiko. If there’s one thing I respect about this pairing, it’s that I commend Wataru Yoshizumi for having the courage to depict a student-teacher relationship, without the raunchiness you’d expect to find in such a pairing. But I’d still prefer if she’d given Meiko and Satoshi a happy ending instead.

5 thoughts on “The couples of Marmalade Boy: Meiko & Satoshi (oh yeah, and Namura)

  1. At first when I read this I just started watching the Anime and was like what? I disagree. Now I totally agree with you Namura doesn’t deserve her his a coward and his not even a man in my opinion. Now looking at it I think the ending would have been a bit more satisfying if it was Meiko and Satoshi! but shes happy so I guess it’s okay:/

    1. Thanks for commenting! The first time I watched Marmalade Boy, I was pretty neutral toward Meiko’s decision to pick Namura. But after rewatching the series I came to really like Satoshi’s character and how Meiko interacts with him, which made me feel like she should have ended up with him. It’s sad that probably the best male character in the cast is one of the only few characters who is still single in the end.

  2. Yes! I totally concur with all of this.

    I loved how Satoshi and Meiko complemented one another. Meiko’s depth and focused energy grounded Satoshi, giving him a sense of purpose and direction (compared to his previous playboy ways) and allowed him to reveal his generosity and thoughtfulness. Satoshi’s spontaneity encouraged Meiko to try new experiences (like the arcade outing, the Christmas dance, etc.), offering her a sense of excitement and freedom that Namura did not (he seemed to provide her with security, and as you said, he seemed just as constrictive as her father). Satoshi actually acted on his desire to see Meiko smile, keeping her spirits up, giving her confidence, believing in her abilities when she didn’t.

    Even if they didn’t end up together, I would’ve liked to see their relationship develop more before reverting back to Namura and Meiko. If only that classmate hadn’t told Meiko of her Namura sighting during that date, if only Namura hadn’t sent that congratulatory telegram! *shakes fist* This is where my indifference toward Namura turned into annoyance; Satoshi was decisive and persevered with Meiko, whereas Namura continued to waver and lacked resolution.

    I not only loved Satoshi and Meiko as a couple, but also on their own as best friends to Yuu and Miki, because they were always so present and supportive. Given how many episodes there were, I would’ve liked more episodes to flesh out Satoshi and Meiko’s backgrounds more, rather than be dedicated to so many episodes of love triangle misunderstandings, but alas.

    1. Thanks for such a great comment! You know, thinking about it more, I think another reason why Meiko and Satoshi worked so well together for me was because they were equals. Meiko always felt like she had to ‘catch up’ to Namura, and their relationship was always in his terms (I always cringe at his line during their reunion on the beach when he asks if she’ll follow him anywhere he goes, as though only his career matters. I also didn’t like the implication that Namura would ‘take care’ of Meiko – with Satoshi, Meiko was learning how to take care of herself). But with Satoshi and Meiko, I felt like both grew into better people by being with each other, and since both had qualities the other lacked, they suited each other.

      And yes, I agree! I always felt that the Namura-Satoshi-Meiko love triangle was complicated by the fact that Yuu was Satoshi’s best friend while Miki was Meiko’s. It was obvious Yuu was torn about who to root for, since while he could see Meiko still wasn’t over Namura yet he still didn’t want to see Satoshi get hurt, especially since he knew more than anyone how sincere Satoshi was toward her. And I love the friendships in Marmalade Boy – more than the romantic pairings, actually.

  3. I waa rooting for Satoshi. He was so fun and determined. He made Meiko better and brought her out of her head. She’d act all mad but when Satoshi would leave she’d smile and I thought that was beautiful. It was obvious that he loved her and that she was falling for him. He was silly in comparison to Meiko’s seriousness. He was open and Meiko was closed.
    When he kissed her for the first time and she stared after him, touched her lips and blushed I thought for sure they would end up together.
    Namura should have ended up with Ryoko. Not a lot of people talk about her but I think that after loving Namara for so many years and then losing him to one of her students. I couldn’t have done it. She even held herself together during their phone call and then fell apart afterwards and I cried like a baby.
    Satoshi should not have ended up alone. Out of all the characters he deserved to be loved the most. I thought that Wataru Yoshizumi might be leaving him alone so she could write a spin off for him but it didn’t happen.

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