Strawberry Panic – 25
-As Shizuma continues to drill Nagisa and Tamao in their dancing, Miyuki and the other Miator student council members watch on. Although they’re worried, the girls think that Shizuma has become more energetic from all this.
-Hikari finds Amane staring at the yellow scarf in the locker room. Since Hikari can’t bring herself to say what the scarf is, Amane goes off to practice.
-Hikari doesn’t see Hikari riding outside, but Starbright is gone.
-By evening, Yaya reports to Shion that Hikari hasn’t returned, and neither has Amane. Hikari is actually wandering through the forest and sees the yellow scarf lying on the ground. Just as she’s holding it and thinking about Amane, Starbright and Amane show up. Amane thanks her for finding the scarf and explains that she’s been searching for it since the wind blew it away during her practice. She doesn’t remember who gave it to her, but she knows that it’s something very important.
-Yaya and Shion are waiting outside in the cold for Amane and Hikari to return. Kaname joins them and brings with her blankets for all of them. When Kaname notes that the deadline for entry is tomorrow, Shion says that if Amane won’t enter, then Spica will have to drop out of the Étoile selection. Kaname is relieved to hear that because she believes that replacing Amane with someone else will have no meaning. Shion admits that she had a dream where she thought that Amane could grant any of her dreams. But she selfishly pushed her own dream onto Amane, and now she feels helpless as all she can do is worry and wait for Amane.
-Amane has decided to stay in the building adjoining the stables since she has to get up early the next morning anyway to take care of Starbright. Hikari vows to stay with her this night, and so the two share the only blanket. Remembering how Hikari had found the scarf, Amane wonders why Hikari was out there, and Hikari admits that she had been looking for Amane for a long time. Amane knows that scarf is an important thing, but she can’t remember anything about it. Hikari starts crying because she’s happy that she’s still connected to Amane in some way. After Amane wipes away Hikari’s tears, Hikari starts singing. Amane recognizes the angelic voice as the same one she heard when she first became acquainted with Hikari that one foggy morning. She finally remembers who the girl next to her is and says Hikari’s name. Hikari realizes that Amane got her memories back and tearfully hugs her. The two kiss and then spend the rest of the night together, ending up naked on the blanket by morning.
-Riding out the next morning on Starbright, Amane confesses that she wanted to convey her feelings the first time she talked to Hikari. She’s the most important person in the world to Amane, so she has nothing to be afraid of because from now on they’ll always be together.
-Shion, Yaya, and Kaname waited outside all night and now finally see Amane arriving on Starbright with Hikari in her arms. Amane announces that she’s told Hikari her feelings, which makes everyone realize that Amane got her memories back. Yaya is so happy that she tackles Hikari onto the ground in a hug.
-Without speaking to Amane, Kaname returns to the dorm where Momomi is standing at the door. Kaname tells Momomi that with this, she’s finally unbounded by Amane and can finally walk her own path. She wants to start over again with Momomi, causing Momomi to start crying.
-Nagisa and Tamao are overjoyed to hear the good news about Amane. News also reaches Miyuki and Shizuma that Amane and Hikari have entered the Étoile selection. Shizuma thinks that now she can hand over this greenhouse without worry to whoever the new Étoile is.
-Back at practice, Shizuma still isn’t happy with Nagisa’s dancing. She offers her own hand so that she can directly teach Nagisa how it’s done. However, she also says that this is the first and last time. Nagisa takes her hand, and the two start dancing, with Shizuma instructing Nagisa to watch her eyes, allow their hearts to understand each other, and dance happily. With Shizuma, Nagisa realizes that love is for never regretting.
-For Miyuki, this is the first time she’s seen such a pair so beautiful and magnificent together performing such an elegant dance. Afterwards, the girls give Nagisa and Shizuma a standing ovation. Shizuma tells Nagisa not to forget the feelings she had when dancing just now. Shizuma explains that dancing is love – the joy and happiness of love is expressed through the entire body. And with this, there’s nothing more that Shizuma can teach them.
-When the time comes, Miyuki presents Tamao and Nagisa as the two candidates to the entire Miator student body. After Nagisa and Tamao introduce themselves, they formally declare that they are participating in the Étoile selection as representatives of Miator, a statement which is met by wild applause. Shizuma, however, is not part of that group, choosing instead to stay in her greenhouse.
-That night, Miyuki is with a naked Shizuma. As she’s leaving Miyuki says that their duty ends with this and that all that’s left is to wait for graduation in March. Miyuki thinks that this is good, but Shizuma doesn’t respond as she stares into space, sitting on her bed alone.
So Hikari brings back Amane’s memory with a song. It’s fitting given how much they’ve made that song all-important, but that doesn’t make it feel any less cheesy. I certainly laughed out loud when I realized what they were doing. And then the two girls decide to consummate their newly renewed love, so they had a fun little romp together (extra-large image courtesy of someone on 2chan). If nothing else, I’ll give this show a lot of credit for pushing the limit a lot without going R-15.
So with Amane and Hikari pretty much out of the way, all that’s left for the final episode is to decide which pair is going to be Étoile and if Nagisa & Shizuma are going to end up together. There’s no reason not to think that the latter won’t happen given how much they’ve built us up to it. Of course there’s always a chance they could pull something on us a la Canvas2, but I doubt they will. Whatever happens, I hope there’s a good conclusion that doesn’t leave things open to too much interpretation. The preview seems to show the girls preparing for the Étoile selection, but the best shot in it has to be the one of Santa Chikaru. Maybe she’ll get to shine one last time in next week’s finale. :)