Kimi ga Nozomu Eien ~Next Season~ – 01
On the day that Haruka leaves the hospital, Takayuki, Shinji, and her father come to pick her up. As their car is pulling out away, Haruka notices someone on the rooftop of the hospital, so she stops the car and gets out. Shinji, who had been on his phone moments earlier, tells Takayuki to turn on his cell phone, and Takayuki realizes that he has a message from Mitsuki. She is leaving this town, and in the message, she says that she’ll keep her promise some day and asks him to let her have the ring for a little longer. Even without hearing the message, Haruka senses that Mitsuki was on the rooftop of the hospital, and she comforts Takayuki by talking about how Mitsuki is their most cherished friend. Two weeks later, Haruka wakes up after having a nightmare about the day of her accident, and she finds that Takayuki is already at her home to pick her up for a date. In her rush to get downstairs, she trips and falls, but fortunately he catches her. As the couple watch Akane leave for swim club activities, Haruka worries because she feels at fault for Akane not devoting herself to her practicing. Takayuki, however, disagrees and tells her to trust in Akane.
In town, Haruka is still sensitive to the sound of cars, so Takayuki reassures her that it’s okay and helps her when it’s time to cross the street. As they walk past a storefront display of appliances, Takayuki momentarily stops because he sees a particular microwave, but when Haruka asks him if there’s something he wants, he claims it’s nothing and the two move on. The pair then head to the bookstore where Haruka gets a study guide, and Takayuki recalls how they had met here once before in the past. Back then, Haruka had run away from him, and she admits now that she was really surprised at the time. She tries to say that she’s liked him since then, however Haruka unintentionally raises her voice and embarrasses herself by letting everyone around them hear her. Afterwards, the two visit the aquarium, but when they get inside, Takayuki suddenly gets a flashback of Mitsuki. Because of this, he hugs Haruka and tells her all about how he came with Mitsuki, how he felt after the accident, and how Mitsuki had supported him, giving up her own dreams in the process.
When they get back to Takayuki’s apartment, Haruka asks him if he loves Mitsuki. He admits that he does, and Haruka feels that she does too. Before the two can have an intimate moment together though, Takayuki’s phone rings with a call from his boss asking him to come in to work early. Instead of agreeing to go right away, Takayuki says he needs an hour, and he tells Haruka that she’s most important to him right now. He then walks her home and runs off to work. Later that night, as she’s studying, Haruka remembers all the fun times she had together with her friends back before the accident. Akane then comes in to check on her and reveals that she saw Takayuki while he was working. Haruka feels bad that Takayuki spent the day with her despite having to work afterwards because he knew that she still has trouble going out into the city by herself. When Akane comments on how Takayuki has changed for the better since Haruka was released from the hospital, Haruka zones out thinking about him. Takayuki then calls Haruka, so Akane leaves her sister alone.
Takayuki and Haruka go on many more dates in the days to come, including one at the amusement park. Takayuki even stays over at the Suzumiya house for dinner afterwards, and it’s clear that Haruka’s parents enjoy having him around. When they go on a movie date, Takayuki ends up sleeping through it, but once it’s over, he invites Haruka to go out with him the following day too. Haruka is reluctant because she has to go to the hospital for a checkup, however she agrees to go out with him after the visit. Takayuki insists on coming with her to the hospital too, and he accompanies her there the next day. The doctor ends up telling Haruka that everything is fine, and when she asks about Haruka’s personal life, Haruka explains how Takayuki came because he was worried about her even though she told him he didn’t need to come. When Haruka emerges from the doctor’s office, Takayuki is relieved to learn that she is fine, and for their subsequent date, he buys them train tickets to Shiratsuka Station. Haruka nearly dozes off on the ride there, so Takayuki gives her a shoulder to lean on.
Upon arriving at the station, Takayuki brings out the meat pie that he made for her, and Haruka realizes that this was the reason Takayuki had been looking at that microwave in that store window. He calls this an anniversary of the meat pie she made for him, and he’s relieved that she finds his pie delicious. The two stay at the station reminiscing about their past, and the conversation soon turns to Haruka’s trying to go to college and becoming a picture book author. In talking about his own dreams, Takayuki says that he wants to find proper employment and support Haruka. He wants to be with her and doesn’t want to let her go anymore, and when he sees the sad look on her face, he hugs her. As the two are about to board the train home, Haruka suddenly lets go of Takayuki’s hand, lets him get on the train by himself, and suggests that they say goodbye to each other. Before Takayuki can respond, the door closes between then, and the train leaves without Haruka.
Okay, so let me get this straight. It’s been a long time since I watched KimiNozo, but I remember that reliable was not how you’d describe Takayuki. Now that he has become reliable though, Haruka feels either suffocated by it, or she’s uncomfortable with how deeply he’s devoting his life to her, so she breaks up with him. Is this where I say he should have stayed with Mitsuki?
All things considered, this was a rather uneventful episode. The animation wasn’t bad, and I loved the music, but I was definitely expecting/hoping for more drama. In that regard, unfortunately, Mitsuki was more or less taken out of the picture from the beginning, and Haruka and Takayuki ended up getting along so well together until the end. That made this episode feel like an extended epilogue of the main story (that’s already over) with a couple of minor areas of conflict to get ironed out before the final end. And that might be exactly what the producers were going for, but I can’t help but think that there’s potential for so much more. Of course, I’ll still watch the rest of the episodes, the second of which is due out in February, and hope they can surprise me in a good way (maybe Haruka won’t end up with Takayuki).