Higehiro: After Being Rejected, I Shaved and Took in a High School Runaway has introduced to us the main characters of the anime series as it follows the story of Yoshida who met Sayu under a lamplight. Sayu was established as a runaway from home, the very reason why Yoshida found her sitting on the side of the street on her own in the middle of the night. But why? Why did Sayu run away from home?
To backtrack a bit, here's the history of Sayu based on the pages of the light novel series of the same name by Shimesaba with the illustrations of booota and in the shōnen manga series by the same author with the illustrations of Imaru Adachi.
Sayu is a 17-year-old high school student of Asahikawa Dairoku High School from a prominent family in Hokkaido, the Ogiwara family. She has an older brother, Issa Ogiwara, who is a CEO of a food corporation. She ran away from home due to some reasons yet unknown and for six months, she has been living on the streets trading herself as payment for some strangers to let her have a roof to stay in.
Sayu moved from place to place until she reached Tokyo where she meets Yoshida, the first guy who didn't take advantage of her and let her stay even without an exchange of sexual favors.
All she had when she left home are the clothes she's wearing, her high school uniform, a brown sweater, and black lingerie in her blue backpack. She knows she has to sustain herself and without money to do this, she had to do what she thought could give her the basic needs to live – she resorted to seducing guys to let her stay and have food to eat in exchange for her body.
She was hesitant at first, who wouldn't? But she had to survive and despite hating what she is doing, she had to do it. With this, she had grown beyond her age and she developed maturity and mental fortitude to mask her emotions and feelings. At 17, she already had to face a hard life.
When she met Yoshida, she was confused and thankful at the same time, Yoshida let her stay without anything in exchange, without any significant demands.
But why? Why did she run away? She's from a prominent family, she doesn't have to go through such hardship.
Trigger warning, sensitive topic ahead: the following contains a suicide scene from the episode.
In Higehiro Episode 9, titled Past, Sayu finally reveals why she ran away from home. The theories were right: it is about her family and how they dealt with Sayu when Yuko took her life, it made Sayu depressed and long for something in her life to be better again.
Sayu confided with Asami and Yoshida that she was never getting along with her mother and she entered school with no passion, no friends, and no interests. Her life suddenly became bright when Yuko arrived and they became friends. However, with Sayu being beautiful and liked by others despite being shy, it affected Yuko.
Yuko was bullied and after various hardships, she cannot take it any longer. She stood on the edge of a platform and told Sayu she can now shine brighter without her pulling her back. Yuko took her life right before Sayu's eyes.
Just as losing her own friend is already hard, when investigators are looking at the death, the family of Sayu was interrogated. His mother blamed her for the death of Yuko and she burst into anger saying that Yuko died because they were friends, it is nothing other people would be able to understand.
Sayu packed her bags and just as she was leaving, Ichigo, her brother, saw her. He supported her decision of having some distance. He gave her money and warned her to stay in hotels for her safety,
When the money is given ran out, Sayu still cannot accept coming home. Instead, she went city to city and men took advantage of her in exchange for the basic needs in her life.
All these changed when Sayu met Yoshida who never asked for anything in return for her to stay in his home. It was with Yoshida where she found the strength to start believing in herself again, a new determination to be a better person.