Thus concludes what I consider to be far and away the best arc of the series. My old favorite, the Haruka arc, has been dethroned by Ayatsuji Tsukasa. The story was dramatic, funny, cute, and well written. It didn’t feel like there was a wasted or slow episode in this one. My faith in Tsukasa from back at previews time was not misplaced and I’m glad that the writers were on their game again. Junichi has to confront Tsukasa’s sudden self-imposed personality change, and Tsukasa herself faces this. There’s cute moments, an afterstory, and even a good bit of time given to the other characters. All in one episode. Thank you for the early Christmas present, Amagami.
Oh Miya, you could star in your own arc-format show.
How’s that for a start? As I mentioned above, the secondary characters and the other girls all get a good share of time this episode. And all without compromising the resolution of the main story. Haruka makes her stage debut in the Miss Santa contest while Hibiki nearly facepalms. Kaoru takes the stage as an announcer, and later on goes to karaoke together with Keiko, Umehara, and the defeated Axis. Umehara’s parts especially struck me, both in his role as Junichi’s friend and as him trying to get a girlfriend. He’s never seemed as important as he was this arc. From the very start he was there to cheer up Junichi one year prior, he was there throughout, and now in this final episode he really shows a more open and thoughtful side than before. Actually, he really made the whole Junichi X Tsukasa thing possible. His support the year before prevented Junichi mk I’s planetarium closet withdrawal for one. The encouragement he gave back then prompted Junichi to develop the motivation to volunteer for the festival committee. But things could have derailed at the current year’s festival when Junichi was feeling confused and down by Tsukasa’s personality shift. And again Umehara was there, himself in a downbeat moment, to spur Junichi on. Umehara, I hereby bestow upon you the Order of the Anime Bro and the ‘Bro of the Year 2010′ award. *salutes*. May you hook up with Keiko promptly and crush the hearts of those former Axis girls who seemed to have taken a liking to you.
Haruka DAZZLING THE STAGE!
Yeah, the fact that you didn’t get an on-screen kiss…
Sae and Miya had a Christmas night together that went on forever and ever.
Don’t beat yourself up over something from elementary school.
I demand a karaoke episode!
Umehara X Keiko OTP! Just look at that smile!
The main story went perfectly as well. For the first time in the arc we really have the burden of confusion and decision upon Junichi as he starts to withdraw from Tsukasa. I can’t blame him for not being able to adjust to the change, since she really is acting like a different person. Though I was expecting her to break the silence first since she had to notice how Junichi wasn’t as comfortable around her lately. It just shows how much she was willing to give up to maintain that image she wanted. Certainly it worked on her classmates, even bringing in the Axis girls to her side. But continuing with the pattern of much of the focus being on Junichi, he has to take the initiative and confront the problem. Talking to Tsukasa alone was a good idea since she wouldn’t have opened up with anyone else anywhere around. Though she ‘opened up’ with a combo worthy of a fighting game! At that point everything came out, and it confirmed the theory of her misinterpreting Junichi’s words the last time they were alone in a classroom. Junichi held firm even under physical attack though. It was so cute to see him tell her how happy he was to see that side of her again, and kind of sad but sweet to hear her let it all out. Explaining all her reasons was interesting even if she definitely developed those original motivations into something almost on the level of a psychological complex. And then came the afterstory. I love, love, LOVE any series that gives you that perspective and knowledge of how things turned out later on. The denouement really enhances my enjoyment of a story, and this one was quite sweet. Ten years later the couple returns to the tree at the Founder’s Festival with their daughter, to the same spot where they completely committed to each other. SO MUCH DDDDAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!
Tsukasa is a student of the School of the Undefeated of the East!
Junichi mark VI, greatest of his line.
Junichi mark VI is all about the mushy romantic lines. I can identify with that, and my hat is off to you, sir.
I do believe this arc has had more kissing than any of the others.
Nice. Very nice. Has all the colors that represent each girl/arc in a mix between watercolor fading and that ‘light bubbles’ technique fro the background. Almost makes me think that I’m watching Kimi ni Todoke with the art style used here.
And as a final note, let us not forget Maya’s cupid moment. Stumbling around, accidentally finding the couple as Tsukasa is crying and Junichi hugging her on the floor, Takahashi Maya puts her students first! She could have broken it up or even gotten them in trouble. But no! She is a shining example to educators everywhere in caring not just for grades and rules and such, but for the lives and happiness of her students! Takahashi Maya, I salute you! *sheds single tear of respect.* For your exemplary service and continued personality-looks-actions attractiveness, I hereby award you ‘Teacher of the Year 2010.’
DAT LIAR’S SIDE GLANCE!
But you have given them hope!