Kanon – 23
Lying in the snow, Yuuichi sees a bright light approach, but it turns out to be just the headlights of a car. From it emerges a girl Yuuichi identifies as Makoto with his blurry vision, and he soon passes out. When Yuuichi wakes up again, he’s lying in bed in an unfamiliar white room with Ayu’s backpack and angel doll sitting nearby. There is a woman warming up milk for him who knows his name, but he doesn’t recognize her when he first sees her. She explains that she brought him to her apartment and seems to know that he’s staying with his cousin. It’s not until she says that they used to be neighbors that Yuuichi remembers that she’s the real Sawatari Makoto. Meanwhile, Kitagawa has invited over Kaori to try to talk to Nayuki. Although Nayuki doesn’t want to see her, Kaori explains through the bedroom door that, because of Shiori, she understands how Nayuki is feeling now. Kaori doesn’t want Nayuki to make the same mistake by closing her heart and causing others pain. In particular, she notes how Yuuichi worried about Shiori and feels that Nayuki shouldn’t worry him. After saying all this, Kaori goes back downstairs and tells Kitagawa that it’ll take time, but she’ll stay here. When Kitagawa wonders if it’s ok for Kaori not to be with Shiori, Kaori reveals that Shiori had been the one who told her to come here. She then answers a telephone call from Yuuichi informing them where he is. Back upstairs, Nayuki remembers how her mother had said that they were a family so they need to support each other.
Since Makoto asks him what’s wrong, Yuuichi finally admits that he hasn’t changed since he was little. He feels that he can’t do anything whenever someone is in pain and that he had forgotten everyone even though they had all been waiting for him. In tears now, Yuuichi expresses the most frustration over how he couldn’t do anything for Ayu and how he forgot their promise. After hearing all this, Makoto tells Yuuichi about the trees in the northern provinces that endure the cold of winter and gain their annual ring. These trees become strong and sturdy, and humans are the same because the worrying and the suffering makes them get stronger and kinder. The final thing she tells him is to keep any promises that he made. When Yuuichi wakes up the next morning, he’s still in Makoto’s apartment, but she’s gone out for the day. After eating the meat buns that Makoto left in the refrigerator, Yuuichi sets out with Ayu’s backpack and angel doll. As he makes his way back to the forest, he remembers all the times he’s had with Ayu. He falls asleep sitting by the tree stump, and when he wakes up again, he’s back at home on a Sunday morning. Ayu is around again, and she’s making cookies with Akiko today. Everything seems back to normal with Akiko and Nayuki, but Yuuichi soon awakens from the dream. This all reminds him of the similar experience he had when he first moved here, except that time had been at that bench.
Remembering how Ayu had told him that she’d love him forever if he loved her, Yuuichi says to himself that he still loves Ayu. To his surprise, he hears Ayu’s voice tell him that she does too, so he questions why they can’t meet again. Ayu explains that she doesn’t have any more time and that she came today to say her farewell. She notices that he found the angel doll, and he hands it back to her along with her backpack. He tells her that she’s late, but she says that she’s allowed to come whenever she wants to their school. After confirming that this really is goodbye, Yuuichi asks her to at least give him her third wish since he had promised to grant it. For her final wish, Ayu asks Yuuichi to forget about her and to think as if she had never been there in the first place. Seeing how Ayu is crying now, Yuuichi questions if this really is ok. Ayu admits that she doesn’t have any more wishes since she had her fill of taiyaki, so she just wants him to forget about her. Unable to stand it anymore, Yuuichi moves forward and holds Ayu in his arms while he strokes her hair. Although she feels that she’s not a child anymore, he insists that she is and says that she’s not alone. Since Yuuichi refuses to forget her, Ayu decides on a different wish and tells Yuuichi what it is at the same moment that a great wind blows. He responds by hugging her tighter, and she wonders if her body is still warm. Soon after he tells her that it is, she disappears.
From Ayu’s viewpoint, she feels that she’s seeing a dream – a repetition of the same every day. She hopes for an endless morning and then comes back to the same dream. After experiencing the red, white, cold, warm, and sad, the day repeats again. She noticed it many years ago. While drifting through the endless dream and waiting for the daybreak that won’t come, she’s been in the same place. There are voiceless crowds with expressionless faces passing her by, not noticing her sitting on the bench alone. She’s waiting for a person who she knows won’t come, someone she knows she won’t see again for many years. She had waited for the daybreak inside her dream that won’t come, but… By now, Yuuichi has made his way back to the bench in the city, and that’s where Nayuki finds him. Seeing her, Yuuichi gets on his knees and apologizes for always relying on her and being spoiled. Nayuki is also sorry for saying some terrible things, so she considers them even. She then vows to become stronger and hugs him in encouragement. She makes him promise also to be strong and says that she won’t forgive him for even a strawberry sundae if he breaks that promise. As Yuuichi and Nayuki both repeat her “fight” line, Ayu says that the day the dream ends is like the snow melting away in the spring sun. It’s like the images concealing the shadow as a person ages and like the memories fading in eternal time. With the long dream now ending, Ayu gets her one wish granted. That wish is…
As much as I hadn’t expected to see Makoto at the end of last episode, I was even more surprised that the real Makoto appeared here. As many people have noticed, the older Makoto bears quite a physical resemblance to Mikuru from Suzumiya Haruhi, though of course personality-wise she’s not the same. I liked all the references to the other Makoto such as the kitsune on her stationary, a bell on her key, and two nikuman in the fridge. The connection between the two Makotos makes it feel like saving him was a karma thing for everything Yuuichi did for her.
They played the Acoustic Version of Last regrets during the Ayu flashbacks, and it’s one of my favorite versions, so I was quite happy to hear it. I’ve still got the song on repeat right now as I’m writing this. Still, that scene served as a reminder that, except for the beginning and the end, the rest of this episode focused on Yuuichi and Ayu instead of Nayuki. I wasn’t really disappointed with that per se, but I do feel that Nayuki was a little shortchanged in terms of how much screen time she has been getting overall. I’m not very familiar with the game’s story, so I guess I don’t really know what I’d be missing if they had gone a more Nayuki-oriented path.
Well, next week is the final episode of Kanon. I can hardly believe that we’re already at the end, and I can’t wait to see the conclusion.