Aside from some more budget conserving recap segments, this week’s pair of episodes started off like any other ones. The characters are preparing for the upcoming festival and we confront some internal thoughts among them, this time primarily with Yukino at the start. Things continue onwards like any other enjoyable episode of Kare Kano. Then…something. There’s a huge mashup of opening and ending sequences and recap segments all over the place in such an order that it’s difficult to figure out exactly what one is watching. Did that episode just end or what? And then, suddenly, the second episode breaks out into a yurilicious sidestory about Kano, Tsukino, and their classmates. Enjoyable, but certainly an odd choice when there’s only one episode remaining.
Well at least they had a little fun with their recap and actually animated a few new shots of their ‘anonymous’ witnesses.
Yukino has claimed what is her’s!
You broke poor little Asaba’s fragile shoujo heart!
More entertaining than all of Mayoi Neko Overrun.
Here we have Yukino’s moment of introspection, worried about how she has and hasn’t changed by being with Arima. Eventually she falls asleep, which partly sets up the next scenes.
Elsewhere in the school Arima is looking for her, jealous and insecure again because Tsubaki and her friends said that last they say Yukino she was talking with Tonami. He has another encounter with his inner, pessimistic shadow, worried again that he’s in fact as terrible of a person as his biological parents. Which also combines neatly with his fear of abandonment into one continuous issue. But after this scene the show cuts to Yukino again, and while she did fall asleep up on the roof, the scene that follows is highly ambiguous about whether it’s all a dream or if Arima is there for it and it’s a visual representation of what they discuss. But despite the confusion as to whether it is real or it is a dream (because there is nothing in between), it’s a very cool, albeit short, scene. Straight out of Evangelion a rectangular portal of some sort just opens up in the sky above Yukino, with Arima and Yukino at the threshold a moment later. Inside is a child Arima, crying and being slowly absorbed into the red-black reality inside the ‘doorway.’ He panics, but Yukino once again saves the day by telling him that everything that’s causing him grief is of his own making, and that she’ll be there to support him always. As he reaches for his child self, things cut to Yukino in a field and then flying, and then suddenly a creditless OP sequence. The series could have ended right here, to be honest. Given that many series with manga that run longer often end without total denouement, this triumphant OP sequence could have been a fairly satisfying end.
Straight out of Eva. Or maybe Lain.
This whole scene exists somewhere immaterial since we don’t even know if it’s fully a dream. But somehow I really like that ambiguity, and it remains rather interesting and touching.
Face your fear, you must, young shoujo love interest. Or destroy you it will.
Maybe he’ll actually make progress this time, since it’s the first moment where Arima has actually faced up to his emo dark side instead of just having it patched over by Yukino and Asaba.
After what almost felt like the triumphant finish to the series, if I didn’t know better by the episode count, things spin out of control into a whirlwind of recaps and out of place OP/ED sequences that left me laughing maniacally at the madness of it. That sort of crazed howling that only results from so much confusion and disorientation as to transmute anger into the laughter of the mad. I haven’t quite experienced this since the self-destruct ending of Ookami Kakushi. But once things returned to some sort of normalcy, we do get a fun sidestory centering around Kano and a girl who’s been stalking her at school. Someone around the corner but never seen, phantom phonecalls that no one answers, something is going on with the life of the youngest Miyazawa daughter.
Seriously. And I LIKE Tsubasa’s voice! Something really fun in that odd tone of her’s.
Well they seemed to have budget left for a few live action shots, like here when a friend is about to tap Kano on the shoulder. Or maybe someone on the staff had a video camera so it wouldn’t cost them, heh.
Really cool effect with her eyes. Reminds me of how Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei uses cuts of Kafka in a few colors to try and show her ‘evil’ side.
After Tsukino teasing her about it and Yukino laughing over the matter, eventually Kano does find her stalker. Looking up into her window one night is another girl from her class. And adding to this, potted flowers end up being left at the gate to the Miyazawa’s home twice. Yukino, Tsukino, and even her parents now start teasing and even encouraging Kano to accept her yuri stalker, and try as she might to resist she even ends up having a dream where she runs through the school with her and nearly kisses until her dad shows up to ruin a perfectly good dream. And then she wakes up muttering about getting married, keeping Tsukino up all night. A love/challenge letter is waiting for her at school the next day, and she decides to confront the girl. Tsukino and her friend Yurika (choice name, isn’t it? :3 ) cheer her on from the shadows and even get a little FRIENDLY as evidenced by Yurika’s blushing. Kano and her stalker each accuse each other of stalking, but then break out in laughter when they realize it was a misunderstanding and even simultaneously admit that they thought the other had a crush on them. Though after this, in a reversal of roles, Yurika actually ends up confessing to Tsukino and asks her to be her “big sister.” If you know what she means.
“You want this…don’t you? The shoujo-ai is swelling in you now. Take your waifu’s first kiss. Take it. She is unarmed. Strike her heart down with it. With each passing moment you make yourself more yuri’s servant. It is unavoidable. It is your destiny.”
I don’t care that this isn’t relevant to the larger plot, it was too cute.
Time to start drawing up the bridal gift registry!
F*** YEAH (more) YURI!
A live action ED sequence at the start of the show, and now a neat drawn one for the real ending.
Gainax style reminiscent of the FLCL manga.
Final Thoughts: - It’s too bad that episode 24 had so little time available for actual content, but what was there was great. Some humor with Asaba to start things off, then a surprisingly economical use of time to deliver a lot of impact with the rooftop scene and the short encounter with ‘shadow Arima’ the preceded it. The doorway appearing above Yukino was out of nowhere, I’d even say disjointed if the scene it was used in wasn’t so good. It was a great scene, and as I mentioned above, the series could have ended right there. It wouldn’t be my preferred ending, but it wouldn’t be bad. And it would be far from unusual given how many series end when the manga material extends beyond the anime’s.
- The weird, thrown together mix of recaps and OP/ED sequences after that scene that ran until the Kano sidestory began, now that was disjointed. I had no idea what the hell I was watching, there was no coherent structure to it, and I’m pretty sure they didn’t even run the full credits in episode 24. Is that allowed? But then part way into episode 25 they ran…and then again at the end of the episode. WHAT?
- How this series wraps up is going to either be an interesting incomplete, like how it could have ended in episode 24, or a complete wreck. I’m eager to find out which.
- Yeah, yeah, I’ll get to the manga eventually people! I’m just a much slower consumer of manga than I am of anime. Especially when I don’t have physical, book copies of it and the manga is so relatively lengthy.