The villains responsible for the conflict of this episode 7 are the same villains responsible for conflicts around the world, in countless household. They are feared by many and will stop at nothing to get what they want. They are also known as… in-laws.
More specifically with regard to this episode, the in-laws (and husband) of Haruko, mother of Reina and relative of Daikichi. They manage to drive her to run away from home and seek refuge in Daikichi’s house, bringing Reina with her. Haruko and her family issues are the focus of the episode – Rin isn’t so involved, for once, and is a lot more of a background character.
Haruko’s problems include not getting along with her husband’s parents, as well as a deteriorating relationship with her husband due to his habit of working till late at night and inability to spend much time with Haruko or Reina. From what I’ve seen and read, her issue with her husband seems to be a pretty common problem in households, especially married ones where only the husband works. Nonetheless, Haruko takes it pretty badly, as shown by her escape from home.
I’m a bit unsympathetic towards Haruko. I understand that her in-laws aren’t very friendly and her husband’s always away, but I question whether leaving a note and running away from home, bringing the child with you, is a reasonable response to that situation. Moreover, Haruko has a bit of a skewed mentality towards her family – considering no one but Reina family, and actually speaking of her husband and his parents as enemies… wow, that’s a bit harsh. And if she chooses to see things that way, it will undoubtedly create conflicts that she should instead resolve. I can’t see it as a good thing for Reina to be raised in a household split into two warring factions.
Daikichi takes up the role of mediator, talking with Haruko and calling her family to inform them that she is safe. In the end, Haruko’s husband leaves work early to pick her and Reina up and take them home. It’s not really shown whether Haruko’s problems get resolved at all, but it’s implied that she gains some confidence. I’ll be optimistic and say that she resolves things with her family.
Another issue this episode brings up is Daikichi’s marital status and whether it will change. He’s obviously attracted to Kouki’s mother (has she been named? I can’t remember if she has) but expresses some reservations about not wanting to be too forward when Haruko probes him about her. The other relevant question is whether Daikichi even needs marriage. Rin’s quite happy as she is, and I think Daikichi’s satisfied with his life as well. Seeing Haruko’s situation, Daikichi no doubt also wonders whether a marriage would be beneficial or not. Says Daikichi about whether he wants marriage, “Look, I don’t even know about it”. A wise quote indeed.