Lamune – 12 (END)
Ever since Kenji’s accident, Nanami hasn’t been going to school, and is instead spending her time by his bedside. But despite how much she talks to him and wants him to wake up, he stays in his comatose state. Summer turns to fall, and fall turns to winter. Everyone seems to be moving on in their own way: Hiromi is making new friends at her new home, Hikari is studying for college, Misora is back at her own home, and Tae is getting ready to work after graduation. Finally, one snowy day in December, Nanami’s emotions burst as she cries and asks for Kenji to wake up because his debts have accumulated up to 100 (remember back in episode three when Kenji tapped Nanami’s hairpin, she took offense and said he owed her, and then in episode eight Kenji tried to present Nanami with the blue hairpin as compensation, but they ended up agreeing that when the debts accumulated to 100, one would listen to anything the other had to say).
When spring comes, Nanami returns to school again, having cut her hair short. But since she missed so much school before, she’s held back in the second year, though she ends up in Suzuka’s class. Spring becomes summer and Nanami hangs both hairpins onto a bell and hangs it up as a wind chime. She remembers one time in her childhood when, because of the 100 debt deal they made, Kenji told Nanami that he liked her and she returned the feelings. Back then, they both quickly took it back, but Nanami admits now that it was a lie because she really does love him. A strong wind starts to blow the bell, so Nanami goes over to close the window. But then from behind her, she hears a voice say that it’s a good sound – Kenji’s voice. With tears in her eyes and in disbelief, Nanami tightly hugs a smiling Kenji. In the aftermath, Kenji recovers and eventually leaves the hospital. We see he and Nanami are enjoying lamune on the beach, but Nanami is unable to pop open her bottle. Kenji does it for her, but accidentally squirts some on her face. She tells him that it’s another debt, and the two enjoy the view of the ocean and the sky, together as a couple.
How good was the final episode? It brought tears to my eyes…
They built up to the ending just right with the flashback, Nanami admitting that she loved him, and then her adjusting the hairpin bell. Coupled with the music, it really did make me all teary-eyed to see Nanami crying and the two finally reunited after almost an entire year. So the ending here is quite a happy one. We even get to see the developing feelings between Nanami’s mother and Kenji’s father, though that relationship seems a bit unnecessary.
I was a bit surprised that the debt thing became a recurring theme, and ended up tying together several of the main points of the storyline, including the epilogue with Nanami saying that Kenji owed her for squirting lamune on her. And of course, for a series named as such, they had to end with Nanami and Kenji together drinking Lamune.
Final Thoughts: Honestly, if I were recommending Lamune to someone, I’d tell them to watch episode one, the first few minutes of episode three, and episodes eight through the end. This is a show that, after the first four episodes of boring story and poor animation, I was ready to drop. But I stuck with it and am glad that I did because I really like how the last five episodes turned out, both in the plot and in the improved production quality. So, overall, Lamune is a good and solid pure-romance series about the growing love between two people.