sola – 13 (END)
Matsuri raises Takeshi’s sword to stab Aono, but Aono pushes Yorito off of her and manages to only get hit in the shoulder. When Aono prepares more paper projectiles to fight with, Yorito steps between them to get his sister to stop. Since he refuses to get out of the way, it is Aono who leaves the old theater and discovers that her wound won’t heal. Matsuri is also heavily injured from having stabbed herself, but she needs to get to Aono, so Yorito carries her on his back. Along the way, Matsuri is reminded by the early morning sky of when they first met and starts reciting types of clouds, causing Yorito to apologize for not being able to show her the real sky after all. Matsuri, however, disagrees and feels that he did show her many times through his own eyes the sky that he saw and chased. Yorito then grimaces in pain and Matsuri notices how he is literally falling apart, making her realize that the Yaka power has weakened. Since she doesn’t want him to see any more of her fight with Aono, Matsuri decides to leave Yorito there and tells him not to worry because they’ll definitely see each other again.
As they head towards their final battle, Aono and Matsuri both remember how Aono had stayed with Matsuri after coming to the cave as the village sacrifice to calm the curse of the Yaka. Back then, Aono had known that Matsuri wasn’t the type of person to make others unhappy and had brought her berries to eat. Since Matsuri had found the berries delicious, Aono had taught her to smile when eating something good. The two girls now come face-to-face again, and Matsuri thanks Aono for teaching her about a person’s heart. Aono thinks that this brought a lot of pain and sadness, but Matsuri feels that it’s far better than not knowing at all. They then charge at each other with Aono using another blade made of paper that gives her an edge because she can manipulate it to become like a multi-segmented whip. She uses it to slam Matsuri into the ground, but because her own Yaka powers are weakened, she has to grab Takeshi’s sword to finish Matsuri off. Aono charges forward, but both girls are shocked when Yorito suddenly appears in way of the blade and gets stabbed. As he disappears into sheets of paper that blow away in the wind, Yorito thanks his sister.
With Aono grieving for her brother, Matsuri decides not to hesitate anymore and stabs Aono while hugging her. Takeshi’s sword glows brightly before disappearing, showing that Matsuri has succeeded in giving her life to make Aono into a human again. As the morning sun comes up, Matsuri remembers how Yorito and Aono had in the past painted the cave’s ceiling to resemble the blue sky, and the three of them had looked up at it together. Sometime later, a boy heads into an abandoned house during the rain to feed a white kitten. He hears a noise in the box next to the kitten, and much to his surprise, a girl – Mayuko – pops out. The boy then runs out in fear just as Takeshi is returning with food. After Takeshi comments on how her fashion sense has worsened over the years and subsequently gets slapped by her, Mayuko asks why Takeshi didn’t run away. He eventually answers that there’s no way he would run away, and the two move on to their next destination hand-in-hand, with the kitten joining them.
It is now springtime, and Koyori is practicing her origami folding again at home with Mana. It has already been one year since Takeshi left town with Mayuko, but Sae still cries for him. Mana’s friends think that she should go back to working in the family restaurant with Sae, but Mana admits that she quit because she wanted to change something. Koyori meanwhile visits a bookstore, but the origami book she wants is out of her reach on the bookshelf. Fortunately for her, someone gets it for her: Aono. The two girls then head to the waterfront where Aono watches as Koyori make origami, and she almost hits Koyori out of habit when the younger girl says “Mana-san” instead of “onee-chan.” When it’s time for them to part ways, Koyori asks for Aono’s name, and Aono doesn’t hesitate to answer Morimiya Aono. On this same day, Mana is at school getting a notebook when she notices the cloudy sky outside. She heads to the roof and is surprised to find an unfamiliar girl – Aono – standing there wearing a school uniform. Mana thinks that Aono is a transfer student and notices that she had been looking at the sky.
Commenting on how the sky is beautiful when seen from here, Mana admits to always coming up after school to look, though she doesn’t know why except that she thinks she loves it. Hearing this, Aono reveals that she loves the sky too. She feels that this huge sky connects the people, the ocean, the towns, and the night in every place. The sky and the night sky form the same connected sky, and this is the sky that Aono walks under, the sky that that two people gave her. Mana then yells to the sky that she likes it, and afterwards, the two girls run off hand-in-hand. One morning a little while later, Koyori, Mana, and Aono head out to the waterfront by the park together. While Mana gets ready to take a picture of the morning sky, Koyori is having trouble with the drink machine, so Aono runs forward and kicks it, successfully getting the drink out. They then hear something in the direction of the gazebo overlooking the waterfront, but there’s no one there – only two cans of tomato shiruko.
When I first watched this episode, I had been disappointed at the conclusion to the Matsuri and Aono storyline because it felt rather anticlimactic after all that happened last week (and even before that). Matsuri did go ahead and give up her own life to return Aono to being human, so there weren’t any big surprises there. Perhaps the only real unexpected thing for me was that Aono was indeed able to continue living by herself, which I originally had thought wouldn’t be possible without Yorito around in some way. In any case, once I got over the fact that there weren’t any huge plot twists, I enjoyed the episode a lot more, particularly the second half that showed that Aono had changed and was surrounded by friends who shared a love for the sky. In that regard, the ending is more like AonoXManaXKoyoriXSky, and I liked how it gave a good sense of closure. Still, they do hint in the final shot with the tomato shiruko cans that Matsuri and Yorito perhaps aren’t truly gone.
Oh, and for anyone who’s wondering, the special ending song was 「見上げるあの空で」 (Miageru Ano Sora de) by 結城アイラ (Yuuki Aira).
Final Thoughts: Back when I was researching this show before the spring season started, I thought that it would be a solid romance series with the highlight being Noto Mamiko voicing the female lead character. I can say now that sola ended up developing in a way that exceeded all my expectations for it. The storytelling certainly wasn’t perfect – for one, I would have liked there to have been a better connection between the Takeshi/Mayuko/Matsuri storyline and the Matsuri/Aono/Yorito storyline – but it managed to stay exciting with plenty of plot twists and a surprisingly large amount of action. It was definitely one of the better offerings of the spring season for me, and the question is now what the two upcoming DVD extra episodes will be about – I would guess side-story fun stuff. Those two episodes will be available on DVDs IV and V coming on September 25th and October 26th, respectively.