I have to admit, when Aqours was first getting started, Mari didn't strike me as being the most interesting of the girls. Actually at the time, she was one of my least favorites, and Kanan held my best girl spot. The Kimi no Kokoro video made me think she was just going to be a Nozomi copy, and I didn't really like the idea of that at all. Fast forward a couple months to when I got my Koi ni Naritai Aquarium CD in the mail. In the CD case was a card featuring Mari. When I saw it, I thought, "Alright, maybe she is kinda cute, but there's still no way she's going to outrank Kanan and You." As time went on and more information of all the girls was released, I slowly started getting more and more excited to see Mari in everything, completely proving myself wrong.
When the first episode of the anime released, I was holding my breath for when this beautifully weird Italian/American/Japanese girl would grace the screen, and was absolutely livid when she only showed up for 10 seconds. "How dare they only give this wonderful girl such a short cameo???" I might have yelled. (Of course, I felt much better in the second episode when she had much more of a presence.) And as the anime went on, my love for her only grew.
And it became more apparent as to why I loved her:
I knew her.
She and I shared so many of the same struggles and desires. We both love memes. A lot. We both only want the best for our friends. We both love cooking. We both feel happiest when everyone else is having fun. We both knew the hurt of losing our dearest friends and felt the fear of possibly losing them for good. When she and Kanan made up, I felt such a rush of emotions. I had never been so involved with the emotions of a fictional character before in my life. Mari was able to connect with me on such a new and deep level that genuinely shocked me a bit. This strange, beautiful, meme-loving, shiny girl was, for a moment, an actual friend of mine.
Now I'm not going to go as far as to say she's my waifu and I would sacrifice anything for her. But I do like to think of her as a very dear part of me. She is the very embodiment of all of my hopes, dreams, and fears, and seeing her be successful in her relationships and idol career makes me so hopeful for my own relationships and culinary career.
I didn't mean for this post to get as long as it has, so I'm going to wrap it up now. Happy birthday, my beautiful Mari-chan. Thank you for being such a wonderful and impactful part of my life. ❤❤