Kare Kano episode 26 – RAGEFINISH

I have watched the entirety of Macross 7. I have watched the entirety of To Aru Majutsu no Index. I have watched the entirety of Blue Gender. And through all of these trials I have never just quit an episode midstream. At 6 minutes and 38 seconds into this final episode of Kare Kano I did so. If you asked any of my friends they would describe me as one of the most patient people they know. But all that patience evaporated as rapidly as an ice cube suddenly transported to the surface of a super hot O-Type blue hypergiant star. Even by the cost-cutting standards of other late-series episodes, this one is quite different. And as such, this post will be a little different. Contains strong language and unrestrained RAEG. Individuals with certain heart conditions, women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, and easily offended fanboys/fangirls should proceed with caution. (I love Kare Kano, I really do, but this episode…)

Angel on a tree.

Deadpan script narration of everything and little to no voice acting. And so it begins…

DDDDDAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWW.

FUCK YEAH OTP!!!

The real Arima is a douchebag. Cutting now all of a sudden to Tonami and Asaba talking about how possessive and insecure Arima is.

HOLY SHIT SOMETHING ANIMATED!

The one legitimately cool shot in this episode.

SELFCEST! Arima Shinichiro, for your crimes of continued emo despite having an amazing girlfriend and great friends, hitting said girlfriend, hating on your friends for being friends with Yukino, and summoning up an imaginary alter ego that belongs more in Vampire Knight than a shoujo series, I hereby sentence you to life imprisonment together with your shadow self in an angsty BL show with lots of chains and thorny vines. This court is now dismissed.

OH NOW WE’RE BACK TO THIS, ARE WE GAINAX?! Don’t think throwing in one color will make things better!

GTFO and report to your BL anime for confinement! He couldn’t look much more angsty bishounen if he tried, damn.

So I had quit somewhere in the middle of the part that those screencaps cover. After taking a day to calm down and focus myself for the difficult task of finishing this episode, I started back up. Happily there was one pair of scenes that was actually animated and voiced, mercifully placed in the middle so as to give me a little respite from what had made me RAGEQUIT earlier. Yukino, Mahou, Aya and the others are preparing again for the play, though Aya is a bit distracted by being signed as a short story writer. Taking a break, they go to the riverbank to eat lunch together. And perhaps it was intentional, perhaps it was my desperate mind flailing about for something, ANYTHING to enjoy in this episode, but I swear that scene shipped Yukino X Mahou so hard it might as well have been the prologue to a doujinshi. A doujinshi I’d like to read ;)

Aya and I are on the same page regarding this episode.

Long yearning glances and longing introspective looks when she’s next to Yukino…

Just look at it!

Make your move, Mahou!

You can ring her bell-lll-llll, ring her bell. Mmmm, yurilicious!

And now onto THE END. Such that it is. There’s a little more of what would have been very promising and enjoyable had it been properly animated and voiced at the start of the episode: more interactions and developments between Tsubaki and Tonami. Things are awkward after his surprise kiss earlier, but he gets a slight feeling of jealousy when he sees Tsubaki and Asaba leering at the girls outside and debating the finer points of how to appreciate beauty. Then she sees him and departs, only to slip and have him catch her, another moment of realization for him. All this is coming together nicely as a setup to further developments in their relationship when BAM Gainax gives us a (N)ICE BOAT ending. Credits roll over video of a ship sailing through an icy sea, there’s a brief message that Kare Kano will continue, and that’s it. That’s it. THAT’S FUCKING IT?! FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-

Tsubaki never ceases to be cute and awesome, even when minimally illustrated.

True connoisseurs.

MOAR OTP!

ICE BOAT!

Final RAEG (and Thoughts) : - This episode is not a part of Kare Kano. All memory of it is safely walled off in a separate, quarantined part of my brain away from my memories of the rest of Kare Kano.

- I understand there were budget problems. But they managed to make the last couple episodes fun and managed to tell the story effectively. Did they just give up on this one? I seriously could have made a better final episode. Give me some manga scans, a video editing program, and let me recruit a couple amateur voice actors from all those Youtube fan dubs. There’s no good reason why this episode couldn’t have been better. And there’s no good reason why the writing had to be so muddled and fail to give a decent ‘their lives went on’ ending like the false ending in episode 24 had. Tsubaki and Tonami got a better ending and they aren’t even main characters, as likable as both of them are.

- As for the show as a whole, I really enjoyed it. It had a great story with great characters, visually impressive and artistically amazing direction, and a very nice soundtrack. Even with the problems it encountered in the last half of the show, they could be overlooked because the rest of it made its issues look like minor imperfections. But this last episode was just a crime. Though it does make me want to fast forward through the manga and read what happens after the events covered in the show. Despite its flaws, I still think I’ll be giving it a 9 out of 10 on my MAL.

- Here’s to Kare Kano, warts and all. Next up for retroblogging is GTO, since I promised to blog that as well when it tied for votes with Kare Kano. Thank you as always for reading and for your comments :)

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44 Comments

  1. Posted August 26, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Somehow you survived. I think we all did, but you speak the truth about the rage and frustration I think everyone felt at the end of this show. Seriously what the fuck (this sentence I won’t even punctuate it properly)

    I think there are compilation manga, I have volume 1-3 in a single book though I haven’t found the succeeding ones yet. Definitely worth reading for the long haul. Arima will surprise you, and Yukino will be awesome like she always is~

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      I rage because I care, hehe. Seriously, I wouldn’t have had such a hard time with it if it wasn’t a show that I enjoyed so much otherwise.

      Yeah, I have the vol. 1-3 compilation manga, though I haven’t seen others like it yet (or Kare Kano manga in general in stores. Though I am pretty much done with stores and their crappy selection of manga lately.) Though it’s kind of boring reading over events that already happened in the show, so I’m thinking that I might skip forward and either buy the individual volumes or read the scans I have.

      • Posted August 26, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        Read the scans, collect later. I read the scans first, and just wait for the volumes to come out. You can just skip to read the parts of the show you like (I liked re-reading the cultural festival bit, and anything with Maho in it) and then more stuff re: the truncated storyline.

        • venom_aa
          Posted August 27, 2010 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          Me and my brother just finished buying the manga on the AX 09. Had to swept the place twice to find the missing volumes of the original print of tokyopop. So yeah go with the scans since its really hard to find and it will probably take a while for the compilation manga to be finished

  2. venom_aa
    Posted August 26, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Everyone told you so to be prepared. Gainax could have ended it with a nice cheap alternative end (Claymore), but to just cut it like this :/ I just hate those type of endings (ex. Skip beat).

    Still i think the same way of Kare Kano, its a great series and worth of watching it again when in the mood for a good romantic comedy.

    I hope that some day gainax can remake the series like it should be made, if they remade FMA anything can happen :)

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      The warnings were there since the beginning, but the last episode was a mess beyond what I could have imagined. I really don’t think any warning can fully prepare someone for what a wreck that was. And just on a sensory level it was severely aggravating. Having one set of unrelated script words being read to me and then having the on screen text for the actual dialog drove me to the initial RAGEQUIT. It would have actually been easier for me to watch if I didn’t know any Japanese, because then at least the script lines narration wouldn’t be registering in my brain simultaneously with the words I was reading, creating a huge mess of confused, mashed sentence input.

      A remake would be a dream come true, though sadly I don’t see it happening. For one it was so long ago and most remakes happen within a smaller timeframe (FMA, Negima, Kanon.) And with the apparent dislike between the original author and Anno, I’m not sure the author would trust another anime director to remake it. It’s such a shame.

  3. Posted August 26, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Despite finishing this not all that long ago, I had absolutely no recollection of the ice boat until I saw your screen capture. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it CAN be successfully walled off from your conscious mind and memory if you have the strength of will for it*. Face it bravely.

    I enjoyed Arima’s sentence, and share your belief that Yukino and Mahou would make a much better couple. I enjoyed your write-up, and congrats on making it through the final episode with your sanity mostly intact.

    * – I refuse to believe that I’m just senile. o_o;

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      Even now, if the process were able to be seen visually, the pathways and structure of my mind are completing another wall, bricks and mortar carefully placed to seal it away like Fortunato in Montresor’s cellar.

      Honestly, the way Arima has acted in the latter 1/4 of the show is a bit discouraging regarding continuing on with the post-anime manga (though not quite enough to get me not to read them.) But damn, Yukino and Maho just made a great couple there, incredibly good.

  4. Posted August 26, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I forgot about the boat too…and I’ve seen this show 3-4x.

    The first arc is still among my favorite opening arcs of any television series.

    I think there was A LOT more than just budget problems to explain the last few episodes. Anyway, the constant recaps annoyed me more than the whole lotta no animation toward the end.

    I think the manga is worth reading to find the ending the anime neglected to provide.

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      The ICE BOAT ending will stay with me, even as I mentally seal off the rest of this episode from my fonder memories of Kare Kano. I agree about the opening being incredibly strong, definitely some of the best stuff out there. Which is why I was so disappointed in this final episode. I knew it wouldn’t cover the rest of the manga material, but I expected a fitting ‘and their lives together went on’ sort of finale.

      I’d be interested to know the full story behind all the production problems with Kare Kano. There was the budget, and problems with one of the sponsors that I know of, as well as the manga author and Anno having serious enough disagreements to have Anno end up being replaced. But it does seem like there was something else going on. This last episode just felt like they weren’t even trying anymore.

      • Posted August 27, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        It would be nice to read some of the dirt. The last episode filled with stills, from what I’ve heard, was spawned out of bad blood. Tsuda wants it more like the manga…okay let’s make it manga, so still frames, as a way of giving her the finger. It’s been so long so I could be conflating rumor with even less reliable fan-speculation. Given how it all went down, it’s not unbelievable.

        Still, if you look at it as a series about falling in love and taking that step, then ending where it does kind of makes some sense to me. Sort of like…and the cycle of life continues…or something like that.

        • Posted August 27, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

          The way it ended almost felt like Gainax was sticking it to someone, so I see that as being a plausible explanation. Like they had quit on purpose and intentionally just let it go to hell.

  5. Posted August 26, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I was saying on twitter that up to this point you had taken Kare Kano’s glaring blemishes in stride. But yeah, the way it ended there’s not much to find solace in. The legend of the Gainax Ending is well earned, I’m afraid.

    I’m happy you found the experience well worth it still, and retroblogging it has at least put off my insatiable itch to rewatch the series again for maybe another year.

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      When a show is as otherwise great as Kare Kano, it’s pretty easy for me to cut it some slack, especially when I was aware that there were some serious budget issues going on. The recaps weren’t enough to draw my ire, just a bump in the road to a great story. And I actually enjoyed how gutsy and imaginative Gainax was with the paper characters and backgrounds in episode 19. But this time it almost felt like they purposefully sabotaged their own work or something.

      But in the end it was definitely worth it. I can see why the series has the following that it does, blemishes and all. And whether I end up skipping ahead or reading the entirety of the manga, I’m sure that will be enjoyable too.

  6. Posted August 26, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    You are a strong one. I’m another of this show’s viewers who’ve filed this last episode away under file cabinet labeled “TRAUMA”. He’ll, this last arc is just a big muddy blur to me. And truth be told, I don’t think the ending or the final arc as a whole are necessarily bad. I believe it’s within the context of the complete narrative that it becomes a slap in the face. This show does a masterful job of drawing in the viewer and making them care about the character of this show. But the ending doesn’t match up to that at all. It’s a casual ending to an intimate relationship. That would make anyone furious.

    And you know how else I know it is a bad ending? I have experienced plenty of jarring, traumatizing ending. EVA, Zeta, the original FMA, and Utena to name a few, but I learned to live with them. This falls into the category of endings like those of Claymore and Soul Eater, where the ending feels more like a slap in the face of everything that was built up to that point.

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      Slap in the face is right. When a show does so well and sets the standards for itself so high, it’s almost malicious to end things like this. It develops the story and characters with great pacing and detail, but also can seamlessly shift between drama and comedy that I’ve only really ever seen Martian Successor Nadesico and Tsukuyomi Moon Phase do before. To end it like this…

      Ah, I did love the Eva and Zeta endings, though I think I’m in the minority on the former count. Though regarding the latter, the whole ‘Newtype powers effectively becoming magic’ part of Zeta’s ending is firmly sealed in the ‘TRAUMA’ container, heh. (Gundam would be a better franchise without Newtypes. Yeah, I said it.)

  7. Chen
    Posted August 26, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Heh. I hated the ending with a burning passion and even I didn’t ragequit six minutes in. Guess you were pretty emotionally invested.

    Part of me acknowledges that it’s impossible to conclude it in a satisfactory manner with one episode remaining. The other part loudly condemns the horrible, horrible production planning. I wasn’t even too bothered by the recaps seemingly in every episode nor the budget restraints. It’s the message that they’ve given up on the show when they decided to air ep 19. What followed was a drek of stagnancy. The highlight being ep 25; a chapter that had no right being the penultimate episode. It was already too late by then. The damage had been done. The final episode was the proverbial final nail in the coffin. When I think of it like that, the ending doesn’t seem terribad.

    Best of luck with GTO.

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      It was a combination of emotional investment in the show and terrible, terrible presentation. With the script narration coming at me and having to read the actual dialog on-screen was just jarring and rage inducing. I’d be better off if I didn’t know any Japanese, because then I could at least disregard the script narration parts. But this time my years of Japanese classes worked against me, creating a terrible dissonance.

      I knew that they couldn’t do a complete ending with this episode, but I’d have been fine with some sort of big realization/development and then a ‘their lives went on together’ ending. Exactly like the sort of false end in episode 24 after Yukino’s dream up on the school roof. That should have been how it ended.

  8. theCorpsCommander
    Posted August 26, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    “sorry for my off-topic comment below”

    alright, enough with Kare Kano, where’s our Amagami SS episode 09 Sae Arc episode 1 review? LOL!

    hey, uhm, why not make a blog this coming Fall about Sora no Otoshimono S2? I’d like to see that! Thanks!

    • Posted August 26, 2010 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      Dammit man, I only have so many hours in the day! :P

      The Amagami post will be tomorrow. Between now and then I have some IRL business to attend to so that I can start my internship, graduate, and then keep writing my anime posts from a more interesting location and supported by a larger income, hehe.

      Sora no Otoshimono? Me? What is this? I don’t even! (I have thought about joke-blogging something that I think I’d hate….)

      • theCorpsCommander
        Posted August 27, 2010 at 1:01 am | Permalink

        onegai shimasu!!! Sora no Otoshimono S2 blog by ExecutiveOtaku starting this October! Thanks! :D

  9. Marzan
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    The GAINAX endddiiinnggg!!!

    If there ever was a company that let the inmates run the asylum that was Gainax in the 90′s. Having said that they made some marvellous stuff during that time.

    And well, there’s always the manga for all those who want to know how it all ends uo;

    Absolutely delighted to read that your next retro-blog is GTO. Onizuka Eikichi, bachelor, 22 years old is quite possibly my favourite character in all of mangadom.

    • Kherubim
      Posted August 27, 2010 at 4:18 am | Permalink

      Think this was around the time Anno was committed and another guy got convicted for tax evasion??? (correct me if I am wrong)

      Anyway, I’m looking forward to GERMAN SUPLEX…

      • Posted August 27, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        LOL GAINAX DORAMA! I knew that Anno had his personal issues, but a conviction for tax evasion is something else…and it seems so right for Gainax during that time.

    • Posted August 27, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      I think there needs to be some manga retelling of what went down at Gainax in the 1990s kind of like that Gundam one where Tomino Bright Slaps Amuro’s voice actor, hehe.

      But yeah, on to the manga for me. And GTO next week for blogging.

  10. Posted August 27, 2010 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    On the one hand: I am no where near finishing this series and probably won’t do so for a long time yet and thus have absolutely no reason to be commenting right now on a post that I didn’t actually read.

    On the other hand: Dat. Opening. Picture. LMFAO!! Bwahahahaha!!!

    Seriously, (and I mean this in the nicest possible way) don’t give up your future day job. :D

    P.S. I hope I never piss you off for any reason. *Shudders*

    • Posted August 27, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      Haha, glad you enjoyed my Kare Kano version of Rage Guy. The show was definitely great for almost every episode, it’s just this last one, ugh.

      Oh don’t worry comrade, it’d take quite a lot to get my so upset. Just make sure you’re on the right side when the coup comes. :) *conceals a Lelouch laugh.*

  11. Posted August 27, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    It’s a testament to how great Kare Kano is that the series is in my top 12 despite this terrible finale. And, really, as much as I enjoyed Toradora!, I have it ranked higher than Kare Kano solely because it actually has a good ending (though that has been debated among the fandom :p). With even a decent ending, Kare Kano is in my top 10, easy, maybe even in the top five. At its highest, Kare Kano is the best romantic comedy I’ve seen in any medium.

    • Posted August 27, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      At its best, Kare Kano has no peers. But I ended up ranking it the same as Toradora on my MAL. If MAL allowed decimal scores, I’d give Toradora the edge though, maybe 9.5 vs 9.0 for Kare Kano because it completed its story without resorting to recap episodes and other shenanigans.

      People complain about Toradora’s end? Why? Is it just because their OTP didn’t happen or what? (I didn’t get Minorin X Ryuuji, but at least I got Yuusaku X Sumire. And I knew from the start that the former wouldn’t happen when Taiga and Ryuuji are IN THE TITLE OF THE SHOW, but I cheered for Minori anyway.)

      • Posted August 28, 2010 at 12:00 am | Permalink

        The whole “let’s split up for a year” bit got mixed reactions, as I recall. It worked perfectly for me, though, because it fit in with Taiga and Ryuuji’s development as people rather than two parts in a relationship.

  12. Exar
    Posted August 27, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    RAGE! lolz. Sorry man, but that was an awesomesauce post. Even tho we all warned you, u still RAGED! probably more than me! But seriously again, you should finish the story. It is worth it. Again i offer you the rest of the series if you want to read it. I’d still recommend buying the manga, (like i am) but reading online first made me realize just how much i ADORE this series

    • Posted August 27, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      Haha, it was a lot of fun to let it all out in the post, so I’m glad you enjoyed my venting. Thanks again for offering the series, but I’ve already got it downloaded in scan form. Given how hard it seems to be to find the manga anymore, I’ll probably start reading that, skipping ahead to the event that happen after the anime concludes.

      • ressy
        Posted August 29, 2010 at 1:14 am | Permalink

        When all else fails you can get it from an online retailer. Amazon still caries it, and they even have the occasional 4 for 3 promotion on manga.
        If you feel like a mini-blog post after you’ve finished the manga I for one would be interested to hear your comments on the series as a whole. That and the final volume, which is…interesting…

        • Posted August 29, 2010 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

          Heh, so I’ve heard things about how the anime ends, and now I hear things about how the manga ends. Though I imagine it can’t come close to the way this one ended.

  13. Marigold Ran
    Posted August 29, 2010 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Will you do the manga at some point?

    • Posted August 29, 2010 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

      I’m planning on reading it, but I’m pretty slow with manga so if I do a writeup on the post-anime-events manga it won’t be for some time. Just a fair warning, given the pace that I read manga at, especially scanslated manga (as opposed to physical book manga.) Right now I’d have to say that there’s a 50% chance I’ll do a writeup on it. It really depends on how quickly I read it.

  14. ~xxx
    Posted August 30, 2010 at 3:26 am | Permalink

    I just really can’t believe that it all end in that inconclusive manner…

    even though I finished it ages ago, I still find the ending part a bit disappointing… oh well, what bad things must go with low budget?

    • Posted September 1, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      Inconclusive I’d be fine with. There are plenty of series that end without wrapping everything up, just giving the viewers some closure on the immediate plot points and then hinting that things will go on in the future. But this was just a terrible mess, like they weren’t even trying or maybe even intentionally trying to make it go poorly. Ugh. They couldn’t have just did it like the other low budget episodes?

  15. Posted August 30, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Haha, brilliant, I had a similar reaction when I watched this many years ago. To this day I have not gone back and finished the final episode – I still love the series however.

    • Posted September 1, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      Believe me, it was NOT EASY finishing that episode. If I weren’t blogging it and thus committed to do so by the expectations of the readers, I’m not sure if I’d have continued on with the rest after the initial RAGEQUIT.

      But even with an ending like that, I share your love of the series. The rest of it, especially the first 2/3 of it was the best shoujo I’ve ever seen. If only they had the budget and the creative freedom to have done the rest like that.

  16. Droptest
    Posted August 31, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    You are a tough cookie to make it so far.

    It sounds much worse than the last Fruits Basket (which is known to cause brain damage).

    • Posted September 1, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      Hehe, thanks. Blogging it and having people expect to see the post is a powerful motivator. I probably wouldn’t have been able to finish the episode if I was watching it on my own.

      Fruits Basket is a show I wasn’t aware had a terrible ending. My only familiarity with it is from reading the first 3 or 4 volumes of the manga, but I ended up dropping it since it didn’t really capture my interest.

  17. Taekmkm
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Fruits Basket anime didn’t have a terrible ending, it actually ended sweetly if very abrubt considering all the loose ends needed (Imagine Kare Kano NOT ending with…this.)

    The Gainax tax evasion was around Evangelion’s time and no, Anno wasn’t involved. It was with the President that was charged.

    And yes, it WAS pretty much a ragequit on Anno’s end. There were conflicting ideas between the Manga author and Anno, she didn’t like what they were doing with it, and Gainax decided to troll her and save money for FLCL.

    I’d say the manga, unless you want to read 3-4 volumes of Arima’s backstory (With 1 volume consisting entirely of a flasback >_>) doesn’t go nearly as artistic as you first thought.

  18. Posted December 13, 2010 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    I guess I just don’t understand how television or the animation industry works. Because I always assumed that, when a group of professionals get together to produce something like this, they would have a plan, and a series of backup plans, to ensure that something like this wouldn’t happen.

    I know there’s always unforseen complications, but if you can’t say that you’re ready to work through and around those, are you and your work really ready for television? I can’t imagine anything like this happening on any kind of a show here in America. I know things are different in Japan, but didn’t they have an obligation to meet a certain standard of quality with these last episodes, or at least wrap up the series in a meaningful way?

    Perhaps it was okay to end everything on such an anticlimactic note, because hey… there’s always next season to finish the story! Right? Was this series not as popular in Japan as I always thought it was? Couldn’t they have taken the time to regroup and come back with another 13 episodes (or 26? I haven’t actually read the manga yet so I don’t know how close they were to the “real” ending at this point) to bring the story to a close… and hopefully keep making money off of it?

    I love everything I’ve seen from Gainax and Hideki Anno. I thought they’d have the funds, popularity, and the cache to make this happen but here we are a decade-plus later and not only has it never happened, it seems to be something that nobody out there even bothers to ask about.

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