When they were kids, we know he was her only friend for awhile, and when she hit puberty that turned into infatuation and love.
All this post really says is, “Kaoru became besotted with Reiichi and remained so.” We know that. We have always known that.
The actual question posed was:
Kaoru: “Reiichi-kun has tons of wonderful qualities ...!”
Friend: “Oh yeah? Like what?”
** crickets **
I have been arguing that the story has never filled in that blank. Another poster put the best possible face on it by calling him “cheerful, easygoing, and kind,” but, except for the “marrying Kaoru out of guilt” thing, none of that manifests as positive action but only the lack of negative action:
- cheerful = he’s usually not verbally unpleasant or domineering
- easygoing = he doesn’t care about much one way or or the other
- kind = he’s not directly abusive
Again, my point is not to tear down Reiichi as an imaginary human being; it’s about his function in the story in regard to plausible future courses of action by Kaoru in relation to Uta and her romantic feelings.
Reiichi is clearly not a compelling person in his own right—Kaoru loves him because she’s always loved him, not (as the friends point out) because of any special qualities that are perceivable by anyone else, and in the face of negative qualities that even she has begun to perceive—his emotional distance, his indifference to her feelings, his possible infidelity.
So given all that, the more Kaoru clings to her feelings for Reiichi, the emptier a character she seems to be in relation to Uta.