Adachi and Shimamura is a slice of life anime that succinctly portrays the complex nature of teenage relationships. Originally published as a series of light novels by Hitoma Iruma, Adachi and Shimamura has been adapted into manga and anime. The two psychics follow the same basic storyline about two high school girls who bond after a chance meeting in their school’s gymnasium. Season 1 of the anime portrays the burgeoning romance between Sakura Adachi and Hougetsu Shimamura as the two go through the throes of adolescence and high school life. It’s clear that the two girls care deeply about each other, but do they love each other in a healthy way?
By observing the behavior of the two girls, certain patterns begin to emerge. Adachi and Shimamura are both lonely in their own ways and struggle to form meaningful friendships. They bond with each other in ways that they are unable to achieve with their other classmates. Both appear to live in financially stable households but are not particularly close to their parents. Shimamura seems to be drawn to one type of girl, which becomes evident when her childhood friend Tarumi comes back into her life. Considering how the two characters have evolved, it begs the question of whether or not their relationship is moving into a normal teenage romance – or if it’s getting closer to codependency.
Codependency in Adachi and Shimamura
Originally invented by self-help author Melody Beattie in his 1986 book, More codependencyBeattie defines a co-dependent person as “someone who has let another person’s behavior affect them and is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior.” A more modern definition of codependency by Discover Recovery describes it as a form of love addiction in which one or two people seek love based on a feeling of insecurity or inadequacy. In Japan, codependency is known as “kyouizon,” which is also defined as a form of relational dependence in which two people are too dependent on their relationship to function.
In both definitions, codependency describes a behavioral tendency to use relationships as a form of external validation because one or both partners are unable to validate themselves internally. Some of the characteristics of codependent behavior include low self-esteem, feeling responsible for the feelings of others, having poor communication, weak boundaries, lack of confidence, and even feeling the need to control the situations and behaviors of others. Both Adachi and Shimamura exhibit examples of these behaviors to some extent.
In Adachi and ShimamuraAdachi is the one who suffers the most from low self-esteem and has apparently struggled with it all her life, according to some classmates. As a result, she has no idea of personal boundaries and finds it difficult to trust others, including Shimamura. Related to this is his inability to communicate his thoughts and feelings in a socially appropriate manner. When she doubts Shimamura’s investment in their friendship, she tends to test limits to see both his level of receptivity and investment. Most importantly, she finds that Shimamura’s friends threaten their relationship and can become depressed and withdraw when she feels “rejected”. It’s a way for Adachi to control Shimamura’s behavior.
In contrast, Shimamura does not seem to suffer from low self-esteem but does exhibit symptoms of depression. Shimamura is aware that she was once more outgoing and invested in her friendships. Now, however, she exhibits a more cynical stance, rationalizing that few relationships stay strong just because people change over time. As such, she thinks it’s not worth the investment, which informs how she connects with Adachi and her other friends. This includes a tendency not to communicate thoughts and feelings and rarely set healthy boundaries. Still, she has a certain level of investment in Adachi, which she compares to her little sister. When she notices Adachi’s absence from school, she sometimes goes to watch her.
Adachi & Shimamura: attachment vs connection
Another way that Adachi and Shimamura relate to each other is in their attachment style, which is largely influenced by their relationship with their parents – who are emotionally negligent towards them. The mothers of the two daughters provide the bare minimum of food, shelter and clothing, but beyond that they have no real involvement in the lives of their daughters. This undoubtedly informs their ability to connect with others instead of forming an attachment.
In Adachi’s case, it’s clear from the start that she doesn’t like to talk about her parents or family life. In Episode 4 of the anime, where Shimamura meets Adachi’s mother at a local gym, she learns how deeply she is disconnected from her daughter. During a conversation with another woman and ultimately Shimamura herself, Adachi’s mother reveals what she thinks of her daughter, describing her as a child “shy, depressing and embarrassing” to the point that she does not. no longer knows what to do with it.
Adachi’s mother also admits that her daughter never says what she thinks and never knows how she feels. “If she is really happy, I would like her to tell me,” she told Shimamura. “She cuts herself off from everyone, no matter where I take her. I don’t know if she’s having fun or being anxious.” When asked how long ago she started noticing this pattern of behavior in her daughter, Adachi’s mother said it started around the age of four or five.
This conversation suggests that Adachi’s mother is more than likely as critical of her daughter in person as she is when speaking with others. Adachi most likely internalized criticism from his mother from an early age to the point of forming what is called an avoidant attachment style, which is characterized by a tendency to disconnect from parents and ultimately other people. People with an avoidant attachment style are known to lack emotion, which is how Adachi presents himself to everyone in his life.
Shimamura’s mother is also critical of her daughter and openly points out many of her daughter’s flaws, such as her tendency to skip classes and not be very bright. When finished in the presence of her own friends, Shimamura tends to express annoyance with her mother in the moment, but in the long run the constant criticism may have caused Shimamura to withdraw from her friendships and become depressed. . As such, she also has an avoidant attachment style.
Adolescence is full of crossroads in Adachi and Shimamura
While Adachi and Shimamura have personality traits and attachment styles that cause them to behave in codependent ways, they are also teenage girls in a place of transition in their lives. They begin to explore who they are as individuals, develop self-concepts and know themselves as sexual humans and what their tendencies are.
While Adachi has more pronounced codependent traits than Shimamura, she is also the one that evolves the most in Season 1. Shimamura has remained largely unchanged so far, but Adachi is gradually showing progress in areas with which she was struggling before. At the beginning of Adachi and Shimamura, Adachi had a profound lack of interest in relationships. Upon meeting Shimamura, she began to learn to trust another human being. To some extent, she even started spending time with classmates she would have otherwise avoided. Although she still doesn’t like her classmates, Adachi opens up to them in an effort to stay in Shimamura’s world.
Another area that Adachi improves at the end of Season 1 is his communication skills. Although she still struggles to establish and maintain healthy boundaries, she understands the importance of honest communication. While still not in a place where she can fully admit how she feels for Shimamura, she is starting to show these feelings in very subtle ways. At one point, Adachi even has the courage to hug Shimamura and tell her how important she is in his life, even though Shimamura doesn’t fully understand what she means due to her level of detachment. .
While Adachi and Shimamura arguably have all of the hallmarks of a co-dependent friendship at the start of their journey, their current behaviors and attachment styles are not set in stone. They are still learning about themselves, which means they still have the opportunity to change these unhealthy behaviors into healthier ones as they get older. Adachi and Shimamura may be co-dependent now, but they can learn to love each other as fully realized individuals as well.
KEEP READING: [SPOILER] Isn’t this My Hero Academia’s first LGBTQ character
Netflix live-action cowboy Bebop lands premiere date
About the Author