Mayama is easily one of the most interesting members of the cast, playing the role of the cool, intelligent type that seems to enjoy stealing all of the dramatic quotes. He noticed Takemoto’s infatuation for Hagu right off the bat, and he’s always shown smoking and looking off into the distance, like some sort of modern city-dwelling monk; it doesn’t take long for the viewer to build up some respect for him. His one weakness, of course, is Rika, and jokes are made throughout the series about his stalker-like means of pursuing her affection. He’s effectively a bit of both: on one hand, a calm and collected upperclassman, but on the other hand, obsessive, overprotective, and unable to make a move.
Mayama balances his life out quite well, so much so that it’s easy to incorrectly think of him as a side character. He gives advice to his friends, particularly Takemoto, he presumably has a comfortable career awaiting him – we learn later that this is more or less true – and he has, on the outside, a casual love/hate relationship with Ayumi. A quick glance at his character, within the universe of the show or out of it, would make him seem quite ordinary.
However, Mayama’s character, and the theme of hesitant, unrequited love, doesn’t get highlighted and brought to attention until a bit later. Early on, we see hints of it – Morita notices his pain as he gazes out at the snow, smoking, and certainly not pondering the nature of the universe – and as the truth behind Rika is revealed, it becomes obvious that any story connected to hers will be a somber one. The gray sky on the day of his tearful confession later on was oddly fitting. In the fourth episode, Mayama thought something to this effect while listening to Rika hum a familiar song, keeping with his penchant for the dramatic…
It was a song from an old movie that I’d seen on video before. I held my breath and listened to that voice, which seemed like it would fade away if she moved even a little bit.
A simple line that defines his relationship with Rika and the fragile nature of her existence. A wounded person, distanced by more than just a broken heart, he couldn’t approach her directly – and at the same time, his feelings for her were burning. As Ayumi later questioned, what kind of feelings does he restrain when he’s working with her late at night, with no sound but the clicking of a keyboard? His socially unacceptable uncanny actions are a direct result of the strength of his feelings, and it’s his intense yet unreturned affection that leads him to quietly gaze out the window on Christmas Eve. He’s a mature, logical person, and he knows that troubling her already difficult life with his own petty feelings would be a childish thing to do, but as a result, he suffers under the weight of his own feelings.
The fact that Mayama’s arc concludes positively more or less proves the point that he thought things through. He still had trouble dealing with his emotions, he still had to hit the ball into Rika’s court and desperately wait – half naked, as it were – for a response, but he worked his way up to that point while treading carefully around her scars. His story has little effect at first, save for the occasional thought-provoking soliloquy, but the trapped, unspoken emotions build up throughout the series, until they finally climax as he comes clean and confesses. It deals with unrequited love from an interested angle: words that should have been spoken but couldn’t be, two hearts that are separated by something more real and powerful than society’s expectations, and the self-destructing “right thing to do” decision that results in unspoken pain for both parties.