And so it’s time to post our review of the final episodes of this wonderful series. So sad. Except that they were so glorious. Thus, without further ado…
So finally Sawako has swept away the competition and has earned her victory banner in the Kazehaya tournament. It was beautiful. Kent got pummeled, Ume was sent packing faster than LeBron from the Cavaliers’ garage, and Hitomi and her flab five cried more tears than the Miami Heat after losing to the Chicago Bulls. All in all as about as delicious as the LA Dodgers getting swept by the Rockies or the Cleveland Indians sweeping the Red Sox. Yes, like all good things in life, it took a while to get to the dating part, but at least the worst is pretty much over. It’s pretty much torture shoujo since we have to wait a long while for our OTP to come true, and there never seems to be a shortage of pain to go along with it.
It took forever and a day for Kazehaya just to hint to Sawako that he was interested in romance and, finally, Kazehaya shows up for a change and is compelled by a very hard working Coach Yano to repeat it over and over again in public. While the general student population has nary a brain cell between the lot of them, at least they are learning the value of courage when it comes to confessing, even if they draw their courage from a most fictitious black magic. Well as things draw down there seems to be at least one group that thinks they have a chance in the Kazehaya sweepstakes even after THE WINNER has been declared. Yes after hiding in the bathroom for the better part of two seasons Hitomi decides that she is still in the running along with her bathroom entourage. Now I am not saying that Hitomi and her crew are filthy, but I cannot say I believe that a group of girls that spends most of their days in a public bathroom can be all that hygienic. Sure, that growth on some of them might be just a mole, but I am wondering if it isn’t something more…
While many would at this point concede that Ume did leave with a bit of dignity in the end, I do not believe this to be the case, as Ume was going on and on about how she would have flagrantly fouled Sawako on the roof, but I suppose she saw me out of the corner of her eye and thought better of it since I am the kind of guy that would toss her over a fence, roof or NO! So if one considers being escorted out of a building to be leaving with dignity I suppose one can believe that to be the case. While Ume takes her talents to a new school and starts wishing to have gender reassignment so she can be bros with Kazehaya, I think that Zeus reluctantly granted her wish and in accordance with the theory of discontinuous temporal progression as found in the much lauded Air of KeyAni fame, Ume did get her wish and thus she was brought back as Joe. Speaking of Joe, I wish someone had the foresight to throw batteries at him or at least make physically clear that his antics are anything but welcome.
Still, despite Ume, despite Joe, despite Pin, and despite Kent, Yano proves once and for all that she is smarter than all of them. Ume is going to cry in her room, Joe is going to win himself a Darwin Award, Kent is going to die of STDs, and Pin isn’t going to be able to retire. I still can’t believe how much of a low life Kent is during his last attempt at a man to man conversation with Kazehaya. Talk about being an unaccountable lout, a sorry excuse for a human being, ugh at least I can take joy in knowing that pink shirt of his is going to get his ass kicked at some point. As a Giants fan I am quite able to endure this torture shoujo where I suppose less patient people would have decided to quit at episode three. These people don’t realise that some of the sweetest things in life are the ones you wait and suffer for, like a World Series Championship, or even just having your lowly basketball team beat the Lakers to help them along their losing streak and making sure that number one seed for the playoffs will not be theirs.
Final Grade: A-
Warning do not take if you are allergic to romance, waiting to exhale, and sparkles. Do not take if you lack the fortitude to take the whole series, quitting early may result in dangerous side effects. Dangerous side effects include Pin picking, Ume ulcers, Kenterous tumors, and lurking in public restrooms. Highly desirable side effects include, Continuous KIYAAA, Delirious DAWWW, starry eyes, and JOY.
ExecutiveOtaku’s Final Thoughts
Well that’s how it ends (for now) and after two seasons and much conflict we finally have the main couple together, with no misunderstandings. The forces of True Love and Friendship have fought long and hard to see this day, and now we stand upon the mountain top with the great lands of the Sawako-Kazehaya relationship before us. It will be another great journey to one day watch them as a couple but one filled with (hopefully) less troubles and conflicts. And it will be the turn of others, should there be a third season/if I read the manga, to have their shipping campaigns take center stage. Ryu and Chizu make such an adorable couple. I kind of felt cheated that we only got a few moments between these two in this season, as opposed to the several-episode arc last season. But it’s something to look forward to.
My favorite couple. DDDDDDDDDDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWW!
And then there’s the matter of the defeated. Kent still knows not shame and tried to keep up his slimeball tactics to the very end, though in his heart he must know the completeness of his defeat. Kurumi, however, was another story. Reviled as the hated ‘Vichy-tan’ during season one, she managed to leave the second season with some sense of dignity. For all her crimes and foul deeds in the past, I couldn’t help but admire the way that she carried herself at the end. She knew and accepted her defeat, it was clear by the look on her face and the wounded way she spoke, but despite that she had a sense of pride to her that was respectable. Unlike Kent and Yuuka who even at the end were still plotting or refusing to admit to their sins, Kurumi walked off into the sunset with a small bit of honor and even snapped at her old ‘useful idiots’ when Yuuka wanted to re-commence hostilities.
Kurumizawa ‘Vichy-tan’ Ume, your crimes will not be forgotten, but you have conducted yourself of late in a manner which has restored some degree of honor to your character. By the authority of my royal appointment by His Trappiness Impz I, Emperor of T.H.A.T. and Defender of the Green Haired, I here and now declare that you have my forgiveness so long as you never again raise your hand against True Love and Friendship. May we from this point on meet in friendship under Menoth‘s divide protection.
Hana’s Final Fangirling
My comrades have already addressed the key plot and character development, as well as highs and lows about this series, so I’ll just add my final impressions…
Hmm. And so the only show that I was regularly watching last season finally came to an end (Wandering Son and Level E were also awesome [drama and comedy, respectively], so do check those out too, if you haven’t). And by regularly, I mean I tried to catch each epi on the day or day after it was subbed, rather than waiting to catch-up on or marathon episodes over weekends, etc. Which probably just confirms what is one of my favourite anime genres. However, though I don’t think it was quite the best series from last season, Kimi ni Todoke has a freshness and a bona fide feel-good factor combined with the right amount of ‘sweet’ and ‘funny’ that, for me, make the best shoujo (as well as great plotting and characterisation, as already mentioned above). In short: I cared about the characters and found them to be (for the most part) as entertaining as they were multi-layered, which was enough to keep me coming back for more, and sadden me when the show ended.
However, if that sounds too broad or vague, then I’ll briefly focus on one aspect of Sawa-haya’s journey to illustrate my point. Namely, I thought that the direction of this was spot on. I know many have referred to the pacing as, well, glacial, but I thought it was quite realistic. There were certainly plenty of misunderstandings and obstacles to overcome along the way, as is required for good conflict and tension-building. However, for 16 year olds experiencing their first loves, I thought such obstacles were appropriate, and not overly melodramatic/ angsty (e.g. compared to other shoujo such as Peach Girl, or Bokura ga Ita). Thus, when our OTP finally got together, the overall feeling was of quiet joy/ sweetness (and, yes, relief! Haha!). This was made all the more satisfying because the two of them, particularly Sawako, stayed very true to themselves as characters, in spite of the various interference (good intentioned as well as bad) from others. For example: Sawako refusing to ‘support’ Kurumi’s bid for Kazehaya’s heart in season one despite (falsely) feeling like Kazehaya never liked her (Sawako) anyway; or when Sawako refused to give Kazehaya the Valentines Day chocolates earlier in this season, which (as incomprehensible as it may have been to us at first) nonetheless indicated the depth and complexity of her feelings for him at the time; and, of course, when she finally plucked up the courage to return Kazehaya’s true feelings (and those chocos and that hat, lol!).
Finally, even though I could go on and on about how awesome characters like Yano and Ryuu were, or how random Pin was, or how memorable many other characters and events were, I’ll end with one of my favourite things about the show – chibilicious Sawako! Yes, there weren’t as many creepy/ chibi Sawako faces to choose from these last two episodes, and this is fitting given how fetching Sawako looked as a blooming young woman falling in love for the first time, however, there is clearly something about her in this mode that, after more than thirty episodes, never got old…
Thanks for reading!