And fangirly shipping of NaruMai, though that should already be crystal from the post title. Still, I wanted to get those warnings out before I ruin someone's day.
He doesn't catch Mai after she faints in the "Silent Christmas" arc. He leaves that up to...
k, this is my second random shipment post; I've been itching to do it since finishing volume eight of Inada Shiho-sensei and Ono Fuyumi-sensei's Ghost Hunt (ゴーストハント) manga. However, it took marathoning the anime until episode 20 (that Impz-san blogged about and which produced some lovely speculations) to push me to post:
I ship NaruMai.
(Naru is plain "Naru" here following discovery of his real identity from the Ghost Hunt article Ryuu 'Dhieta' Nagareboshi-san wrote for the Animonster magazine March 2007 issue. In turn, that revelation came from the Akuryou novels of Ono Fuyumi-sensei. I will delve into this, so if you haven't read the article or the Akuryou novels (especially the later ones), or the overabundance of spoilers on the net, please BAIL NOW.)
Edited: I've discovered a bit more since I wrote this ship essay so I went back and tweaked.
So back to topic: I ship Mai and Naru, not because of Mai's canon "consuming passion" for Ghost Hunt's resident narcissist (nor because of something against Masako), but due to hints Naru himself dropped. I concede that I'm probably reading too much into these inklings, but then again, isn't that what shipping is about? Projecting?
So despite seeing subtext where there probably is none, here we go.
huamulan03 ships Ghost Hunt's NaruMai
Some rights reserved
He asks her to be his assistant
We now know that Lin-san works with Naru because of Naru's parents. But when the time came to hire another assistant (post Lin's ongoing recovery, not immediately after his accident), Naru goes and offers the job to... Mai? What pushed him to? I'm sure there were others who were better qualified—unless Naru's a much, much better psychic than I've given him credit for that he could predict Mai's prophetic dream ability before she'd even been exposed to supernatural happenings daily. That Naru could've wanted that same ability for the SPR—assuming he did recognize her powers prematurely—might explain it, but I choose not to think so.
Plus at first he tells her to go back to school when the case wrapped up. Yet he backtracks and asks her to fill the position.
Missing her already?
He breaks down the barrier between boss and employee by calling her Mai
Originally, I thought this development was similar to Remote's Himuro-keiji and Kurumi Ayaki-kun's What? Already!? "intimacy"—the boss chooses to blur the official lines between himself and his subordinate before time. I later found out (largely through Shadow Dreams-san) that this isn't the case. (It also doesn't apply to Remote; was misguided by the translated version.)
Be that as it may, that Naru ditches the distant
Taniyama-san for the more familiar
Mai early on in the series remains fact. And despite Mai protesting the yobisute (for formality's sake, I'm sure), he doesn't go back to the "polite" form.
He doesn't react to others calling him
But he does the first time Mai did? And looked a li'l embarrassed about it? (Awww...)
Edited: Dropped because in a word (or in this case, a name and its Japanese pronunciation): Noll.
He looks pleased when Mai tells him he's good-looking
You think so? He goes and confirms it, too! I don't remember any instance where Naru reacts like this to a compliment on his looks from the others (I'm sure at least Ayako must've have, somewhere along the line). I guess it's different when the girl you like tells you you're bishie.
He feels bad for looking bad in front of Mai
After Bou-san and Ayako lambasts his theory of land subsidence, Naru tells Mai he's filled with self-loathing. If she wasn't witness to this, you think he would've felt that much self-hatred?
He goes through the trouble of explaining things to Mai
Naru singles Mai out for his showing off. He doesn't want anyone else to look good in front of her perhaps?
Added He uses his powers only for her or because of her
I remember two times when this happened:
- When he rescued Mai in the manhole in the After School Curse arc (alias the Kasai Panic case), Naru uses his powers to save them (which accounts for why he passed out afterwards). Additionally, he entertains Mai with his ventriloquism trick to further calm her down.
- In the same case, he bends and breaks a spoon those two times to show off in front of Mai (she's the common denonimator) - click to unhide additional babble -
- In the Cursed House arc, Naru is pushed to using her powers after Mai taunts him on how much he loves ordering people around and why doesn't he do the job himself.
- I know I said
two(this makes it four), but I think Naru also used it when the ceiling caved in on him and Mai in Yasuhara's school.
He doesn't catch Mai after she faints in the "Silent Christmas" arc
He leaves that up to Bou-san. This deliberate no-touching policy is all the more suspicious when we factor in Naru's own brand of solicitude: this is the guy who, in the very first case, doesn't squeal on Mai's classmate (I forget her name, the one responsible for the poltergeist activity in the abandoned school building). Maybe Naru's afraid of what would happen if he does hold Mai?
ASIDE | You can really rationalize black into white when you ship ^^
He has no qualms showing her his "real" self
You're late. Tea, Naru orders Mai before the start of the case at Yasuhara's school. We already know that Naru has issues dealing with others but this level of "comfort" goes beyond his sharp-tongued usual.
She's the only one he teases
When he was pretending to be Narumi Kazuo, "Shibuya Kazuya's" assistant, in the Bloody Labyrinth case, he tells Mai that he will do the heavy lifting of the SPR equipment. You have to look at this in light of all of Naru's orders to Mai: if he thinks she can cope, he doesn't balk at telling her to do physical work—like hammering plyboards in the first SPR case. But lest we blacken out narcissist too much, it also bears noting that for all that he orders her around, he doesn't really make her lug the stuff she can't carry, so it balances out.
The Ice Man of SPR goes and makes her tea
If you ship Naru x Mai too I'm sure you were waiting for this:
After Mai dreams she was murdered in the Bloody Labyrinth case, Naru doesn't come running to her room like Bou-san, John and Yasuhara do. He goes and prepares her a cup of tea instead! (Pfft!) I conjecture he wanted to do something concrete to reassure her, in place of simply going "Yoshi, yoshi" and rubbing her head like Bou-san eventually does. And look at how careful he is to preserve his distance from her. This supports my theory that he's curbing his impulse to touch.
Shibuya Kazuya ja nai!
warning This information comes c/o Ryuu 'Dhieta' Nagareboshi-san and is founded on the disclosure of Naru's real identity in Ono Fuyumi-sensei's Akuryou novel series. If you don't want SPOILAGE, don't. Click. The link!
~niki DBA 花木蘭03 (huamulan03) who's trying to regain her shipper form and will likely be looking for Ghost Hunt fanlistings to join after this
invaluable resources and inspirations
Tweaked: 2008.05.22 (for obvious reasons)