rel: sanada ryuu

Chizu and Sanada Ryuu are very close to each other, in more ways than one. Aside from being childhood friends, they are also geographically close. Ryuu lives just across the way diagonally from Chizu (see here for a visual aid). As such, they have one of the most well-established relationships in the series. Chizu summarizes it as such:
Chizu [about her & Ryuu]: "I don't know whether to call it childhood friends, or just bad luck, or just that he's the son of the owner of my favorite ramen place."
- chapter 02
I think the 'childhood friends' part is what Chizu feels is the most applicable. Of course, because she and Ryuu are so close, she can say that their knowing each other is 'bad luck' jokingly. However, she really does care for Ryuu and I think it's common knowledge that the more comfortable you are with someone, the more you like them. And these two are indeed comfortable with each other. Chizu is always going over to Ryuu's house, in part because it is also a ramen shop owned by Ryuu's father, but also because she likes to visit Ryuu. Even if he is working or otherwise not around, Chizu will go upstairs into his room as she pleases. Not to mention the fact that Ryuu is often the one to bear the brunt of Chizu's physical behavior, whether she bumps him or nudges him or just slaps him on the back.

Chizu and Ryuu's relationship is not exactly mutual. Yes, they both do like each other and consider themselves very close. But while Chizu sees Ryuu as a brother, it's not quite the same for Ryuu. We know he is the kind of person who is more silent than talkative (thus making him Chizu's opposite), but his actions and what little words he does speak clearly show how much he cares for Chizu. During the time when Chizu and Sawako's relationship was strained because of the rumors circulating over them, Ryuu offered some comfort to Chizu (which she declined in usual Chizu fashion). If it's not obvious by this point, Ryuu's true feelings towards Chizu are made known a little later, during a conversation between him and Sawako.
Ryuu [to Sawako]: "I... only love Chizuru. Keep it a secret."
- chapter 14
But even before Ryuu confesses this to her, Sawako's powers of observation have her asking:
Sawako [to Chizu and Ryuu]: "Ah, um... Excuse me..."
Chizu: "Mm?"
Sawako: "... are you two... dating?"
Chizu: "Wrong!"
- chapter 08
So you can see that Chizu clearly doesn't consider their relationship to be of the romantic kind. And despite that response of hers, Ryuu doesn't appear hurt or upset. He just knows that that is how Chizu would naturally react, since she has no clue to his true feelings for her. Something which he isn't quite ready for her to know yet, anyway. Even after this, though, Sawako still sees Chizu and Ryuu as a good match.
Sawako [thinking]: "I haven't seen two people who suit each other more than these two. I feel like they're from the same world."
- chapter 19
Sawako believes that Ryuu and Chizu "really suit each other", a compliment which Ryuu amusingly questions. But when Sawako had pointed out earlier that Chizu and Ryuu really do seem like a couple, even asking if the two are dating, Chizu only laughs it off. It is clear at this point that she has no idea that Ryuu loves her, so perhaps when Ryuu says that dense girls are his type, it's no wonder Chizu doesn't even get it.

When Ryuu does tell Chizu that he loves her, it doesn't have the effect one would think.
Ryuu: "Oh, speaking of which, Chizuru."
Chizu: "Yeah?"
Ryuu: "I love you."
Chizu: "Hey! W... Don't say that so suddenly!! (I know that!)"
Ryuu: "Just in case you know. (Yeah, I thought you'd react like that.)"
- chapter 43
I'm not sure if you could call this a confession or not. From Chizu's response and continued normal relationship with Ryuu afterwards, it appears she only thinks he was saying it to mean a brotherly/familial love. Ryuu probably realized that right away.

During the school trip to Okinawa is when Chizu finally learns the truth about Ryuu's feelings for her. After she hears that a girl confessed to Ryuu, only to be rejected, Chizu wonders why Ryuu didn't tell her about it. She is also curious to know who it is Ryuu does like, as he told the girl he already has someone he likes. Chizu is shocked to learn the truth when Ryuu tells her.
"The person that I have always liked ... is you [Chizu]."
- chapter 59
Chizu tells Ryuu she has never had such feelings for him. And Ryuu knows that. He knows that he has always been like a brother to Chizu, while she has always been the one he's loved romantically. After this, their relationship changes. Chizu even skips school because she can't look at Ryuu. Knowing how he truly feels for her has forever changed the way she sees him and their relationship.

After reflecting on the past (a flashback to when Ryuu's mother died) and talking to Sawako and Ayane, Chizu goes to see Ryuu and give him an early birthday gift of homemade onigiri. Then she asks Ryuu why he told her he likes her. This revelation has ended their current relationship, which she really treasured, and now makes her think different things about Ryuu. Ryuu tells her to go ahead and think those things, and to let their old relationship end so a new one can begin.

Ryuu and Chizu don't avoid each other anymore, but there is still a feeling of uncertainty surrounding their relationship. Clearly, however, Chizu still cares for Ryuu, as the Christmas party gift exchange reveals that she had a certain person in mind when she bought her present. The gift ends up with Jou, but Chizu snatches it from him and storms out of the party, with Ryuu close behind. Many of the partygoers see this as usual Chizu-Ryuu behavior, and even joke that Ryuu is Chizu's caretaker. Away from the party, Chizu reveals that the gift had always been intended for Ryuu and that she hoped it would end up with him. Ryuu opens it to reveal a wristband, which he puts on and asks [Chizu] if it suits him. She says it does. Then Ryuu gives her a gift box, saying it is not for the gift exchange. Chizu opens the box and sees a pink rose inside, and wonders why Ryuu got her this particular present. He simply asks, "Isn't it like Chizu?", confusing her even more. The two then spend some more time alone, a luxury they haven't had in a while.

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