AIR is a shared story between Misuzu and Haruko, because both have their struggles and work hard to help overcome each other’s burdens. For the first half of the route, we see Haruko wearing her usual mask of drunkenness. She doesn’t make much of an effort to bond with Misuzu, because she’s afraid of the responsibility and pain associated with it. Instead, she prefers to goof off and refuses to grow up, which makes her rather immature compared to Misuzu.
Haruko’s dilemma becomes more complex as AIR progresses, yet it is somehow quite similar in nature to Misuzu’s. Both are lonely and would like to change that given the chance, but Haruko feels she is at an age where her responsibilities prevent her from pursuing any maternal obligations. So, she decides to place a barrier between her and Misuzu, hoping that when Misuzu eventually leaves her care, she will no longer need to keep up her drunken, sloppy, negative attitude. She quickly realizes that she has grown to like Misuzu too much, and that Yukito is doing much better at taking care of Misuzu than she can. She eventually decides to take the first step and change her attitude towards Misuzu, knowing that it will be painful, but she will bear through it.
Haruko’s persistence in trying to care for Misuzu isn’t forceful, since it does allow for Misuzu to have some breathing room. Misuzu does feel that she can’t grow attached to Haruko, but Haruko doesn’t intend to suddenly stop because she’s getting worse. Yukito may have thought that leaving Misuzu was the best course of action, but it only made things worse for her. But Haruko won’t leave her, because she has to make up for a decade of lost bonding time.
Here’s a couple Key Points regarding her:
Unlike many of the other relationships Sora compares to a mother and her child, Sora’s first impression of Haruko is that of an enemy, not a mother. Why does Sora make this observance, and how is this telling of how distant Haruko is to Misuzu initially?
If Misuzu ends up getting closer to Haruko during the second half of AIR, why doesn’t Haruko feel the effects of the curse?
Looks like Minagi and Hijiri have some competition now. :3