true tears – 13 (END)
In the aftermath of Noe’s fall, Shinichirou meets Jun at the hospital and repeatedly apologizes because he wasn’t able to stop her. Jun doesn’t appear angry and instead comments on how the snow isn’t bad – he attributes Noe ending up with just a broken bone on the snow. He also finds the snow pretty, just like he finds Noe pretty. Jun then asks Shinichirou about Noe not being able to cry, and when Shinichirou puts forth the idea of autosuggestion, Jun wonders if that’s all. He ends up telling Shinichirou to go home and claims that he can’t forgive him, so Shinichirou bows and leaves. Returning to Noe’s hospital room, Jun finds her awake, and she immediately apologizes to him. Noe explains that after seeing Shinichirou’s dance, she had wondered if she could do it too, and she feels bad about making Jun worry. Jun doesn’t blame her though and instead blames himself for deciding things on his own without telling her. Noe, however, feels that not knowing anything is bad and believes that she hurt him because she didn’t know anything.
The next day, Jun happens to run into Hiromi, and the two head to the nearby shrine to talk. When Hiromi also blames herself for what happened, Jun tells her that it’s okay and that it didn’t have to do with her. The two then chat about the festival that Jun wasn’t able to see, and it culminates in Jun confessing that he didn’t have feelings for Hiromi. Shinichirou meanwhile has become really popular in school thanks to the dance, but Hiromi is unaffected by this and tells him to come by her apartment after school. He does just that, and Hiromi ends up serving him cake and coffee, but because she claims to have only one cup, she uses the chance to drink out of the same cup as him, while it’s still in his hands. This causes him to blush, but he gets even more embarrassed when Hiromi consents to something, and he questions what she’s talking about. After a period of silence between them, he makes her realize that she’s acting weird, and this leads to a quick exchange where she asks him not to hate her, he denies that he would, and she accuses him of lying. This surprises Shinichirou, and when Hiromi realizes what she just said, she apologizes and asks him to go home. After he leaves, Hiromi tells herself that what Noe said about her tears being pretty was a lie, and she feels that she’s rapidly becoming an awful girl.
Sometime later, Shinichirou gets a phone call from the publishing company telling him to submit again. Afterwards, he questions his father about when people are supposed to cry, and his surprised father answers that it’s when their hearts quake. As Shinichirou is thinking about what this means, he overhears his mother greeting Hiromi who had just come by to see him. Hiromi admits to him that she had behaved disgracefully and that she doesn’t like it when she acts that way, and she attributes it to how she’s always loved him. She hadn’t wanted to give up, though at the same time, she was against getting in his way because she wanted him to properly face her and Noe. Hearing that Hiromi was ready to accept his answer, Shinichirou tells her that she wasn’t behaving uglily and compliments her instead. He then takes his picture book and decides to go see Noe, though he first talks to Hiromi about dinner and asks her to wait for him. At the hospital, Noe refuses to look at Shinichirou’s picture book and cites how he’s fine drawing without her. Shinichirou threatens to throw it away if she doesn’t want to see it, and as he gets up to go do so, Noe asks him where. When he responds by referring to the breakwater site as the place where Jibeta chose not to fly, Noe realizes that he had seen her there that time.
Shinichirou ends up making paper airplanes out of each page of his picture book and tosses them all towards the sea, but he eventually notices Noe approaching and attempting to pick up the pages that landed on the beach despite of her crutches. Hiromi meanwhile is surprised when Shinichirou’s mother pays her a visit with some food, and Shinichirou’s mother comments on how waiting requires energy. Back at the beach, Noe reads all the pages that they could gather, and she discovers afterwards that they’re missing the final one. She doesn’t mind though because she can think up herself what happened to Raigomaru after the chicken was able to fly. Shinichirou uses this opportunity to declare that he loves Hiromi, but he credits his being able to draw and dance to Noe, and he confesses that his heart quakes when he sees her. In response, Noe cites him believing that she can fly as her wings, and because of that, she refuses his offer to escort her back to the hospital. She feels that since she can’t fly yet, she’ll walk. As he watches Noe struggle down the road with her crutches while singing the cockroach song, Shinichirou starts crying and singing it too.
Once he gathers himself back together, Shinichirou heads to Hiromi’s apartment. When he realizes that she’s not there, he rushes out and is able to find her in the bamboo forest. Surprised to see him, Hiromi reveals that she wanted to see the picture book too, and she initially refuses when he asks her to go out with him. Shinichirou doesn’t give up though and tells her that she can see it at any time because he’ll always be by her side from now on. This causes Hiromi to comment on how it’s like he’s proposing, and she starts crying as she points out that she hasn’t even said okay to going out with him yet. Her tears cause Shinichirou to remember what he wrote about wanting to wipe them away, and since he feels that he can do it now, he hugs her. While in this embrace, Hiromi notices that it has started snowing. Sometime later in the spring, Shinichirou is walking to school and sees Noe with her friends. He thinks about how people can get tears from those they cherish, and he feels that this is what Noe’s grandmother was talking about. Shinichirou believes that thinking about a precious someone can cause tears to overflow on their own, and he thinks about being able to know these true tears. Noe meanwhile heads to the chicken coop and sees the remnants of the rocks that Shinichirou had arranged as a confession to her. After staring into the distance for a while, she starts crying.
And so, true tears ends about how I thought it’d end, though as I’ve said before, they kept us guessing just enough to make this interesting. In a way, this ending felt like a results show where we finally get to see who wins, and unlike some other series, this one ended largely without another plot twist. Mind you, I don’t mean that in a bad way. There’s something to be said for a show that builds up so well to the conclusion and doesn’t try to pull the rug out from under you at the very end. The writers have largely been developing Hiromi as the romantic interest and Noe as the intellectual interest (that’s the best way I can describe it), and so when you look at the bigger picture, this was the ending they were going for. I view all the stuff that happened in episodes 11 and 12 that made us doubt Shinichirou choosing Hiromi as showing the vulnerabilities of their relationship and how things aren’t always picture-perfect. I’m still not entirely convinced that Hiromi can inspire him as well as Noe could, but as far as who he had deeper feelings for, it was Hiromi. Ultimately, my point is that I felt the ending was a very good way to cap off what’s been a topsy-turvy series, and so I enjoyed it.
Final Thoughts: While it’s easy to call true tears a great series now that it’s complete (and I do think that it is), it wasn’t always that way, especially in the beginning. If not for the third episode completely changing my mind about it, I almost dropped this show because nothing in the story really stood out to me in the first two episodes. But from that third episode on, the writers did a masterful job of weaving in the plot twists at key moments – mostly at the end of episodes to guarantee that we’d eagerly anticipate the following week. And as a friend pointed out to me, true tears proves that it’s possible to do a romance series with multiple girls without the need for supernatural occurrences or murderous intent. On the other hand, the one thing I have been impressed about from the very beginning though is how consistently good the animation quality has been and how incredible the soundtrack is. I’ve had the soundtrack on my playlist for the past month (unheard of for me), and it’s going to be hard for another series to top it by the time I consider the bests of the year. In any case, this production quality combines with the great writing to make a series that has been a joy to watch, and true tears ends up as probably my favorite of the shows that aired this past winter season.