For a relatively simple anime, I felt there were several ways this final episode could go and, thankfully, the writers got all of the decisions spot on.
We’re not left with any suspense at the start of this final episode – Kotarou failed his entrance exam. Unsurprisingly, he’s pretty dejected but initially it seemed as if all was going to be okay. The first five minutes of this episode epitomised for me just why the show generally has been so good: for both parties involved, it would be the natural response to try and put a brave face on this sad event, but inevitably (this is a relationship between 15 year olds, remember) things don’t stay as positive for all that long.
Over the course of the twelve episodes, I’ve generally come to consider Kotarou as the least optimistic of the two – perhaps because of his writing problems, but this time he was the one to ultimately save the day. As Akane prepares to move she seems to be leaning towards breaking up with Kotarou because of the distance they’d have to travel to see each other.
Chinatsu throws an additional spanner in the works as she decides now is a great to confess her feelings to Kotarou – which he politely rebukes. However, it is his lack of openness on this issue with Akane that leads to the seasons final dilemma.
The suspense in this episode was helped all the more thanks to the on point music that kept us guessing and genuinely helped develop a sense of uncertainty for the pair – this was particularly the case when Akane was in self-study getting news from Chinatsu. Yet contrastingly, at the end the music reaches it’s high point as the series gives away its true, and inevitable, reality.
There is one scene in particular where the pair are crossing a river via stepping stones that we get a nice visual portrayal of the decision Akane is faced with. As Kotarou stands on the bank in front of her, she waits on the final stepping stone deciding to go to him or turn away. If only decisions were binary. Crossing and kissing him, before running away, I, along with Kotarou it seemed, had no idea what was going to happen next.
Now, this episode certainly wasn’t about side characters, but I think it’s worth pointing out that actually other characters remained important. Near the start of the episode Daisuke (Kotarou’s bookshop owning friend) suggests that Kotarou writes something to get over not getting into Akane’s high school. This neat wrap up of Kotarou’s interest in writing, his fascination with author Dazai Osamu, gives the story a sensible, and entirely believable way for the couple to get out of their problem happily unscathed (though while watching it won’t feel that way until the very end!).
The day after their confrontation (?) at the river, when Akane is due to move, she meets with Chinatsu and Aoi who tell her that Kotarou has submitted some of his writing online. Of course, the short story he has written is essentially the story we have experienced over the last thirteen weeks, leading to a desperate attempt from Kotarou to see Akane before she leaves, only to show how poor he is athletically, shouting at the train from a distance across the river as she disappears into the distance.
I’m not sure how I felt about the final epilogue scene, the whole thing would have possibly worked just as well without showing that the relationship lasted. Maybe I’ll reflect on it as a nice addition but at the moment, I’m not sure if the future would have be just as well left to the viewers imagination.
To me, this felt like a near perfect way to end a hugely enjoyable and well written season of anime.
Thanks for reading my reviews on Tsuki ga Kirei, as well as all of the other shows I’ve been watching over Spring 2017! I’ll be looking to get a full review for Attack on Titan out this week and then for Tsuki ga Kirei next week. Work is once again ramping up for me so I’m going to be reducing my posts from 4 to 2 a week until September. I’ll do my best to try and make time to see what everyone’s writing, as well as getting some interesting pieces out over the rest of the Summer and then I can be back full guns blazing for Fall 2017!