Hatsukoi Limited – 12 (END)
While the girls are enjoying a nice evening at an inn, the guys are hungry and having trouble sleeping in the wilderness. They’re so hungry that all three of them raid the candy stash separately, and they’re out of food the next morning. This leaves them no choice but to spend almost all of their money on stuff to eat, but they’re not ready to go home yet. As they continue biking, they yell out their frustrations and their desires, and Kusuda admits that he wants more self-confidence. The road eventually takes them by the ocean, and all three guys are silenced by the sight of the setting sun over the water. Unable to do anything but think of Kei, Kusuda runs onto the beach and yells towards the ocean that he loves Kei, and Mamoru and Sogabe do the same for Misaki and Chikura. Their moment is interrupted though by the shocked cries of the girls who had happened to have arrived in the same spot, so the guys run away.
Sogabe is the first to fall, and as Kei and Ayumi continue to chase the other two, Chikura stops at his side. He confesses that he likes her even though he thinks that she still likes Renjou, and he vows to catch up to Renjou. Chikura, however, recognizes that Sogabe is his own person and not Renjou, and she hopes that they both do their best. Further down the beach, Ayumi gets Mamoru to stop by questioning if he’s running away because he still likes Misaki. She knows that he can’t help but have those feelings, and she tells him that running away won’t make them disappear. Mamoru claims that he wasn’t running away and just wanted to recover, and though he isn’t sure if he has, all the shouting has refreshed him. Ayumi is happy to see him smiling, and he thanks her for coming this far for him. Kei meanwhile finally stops Kusuda by tackling him, and she wants to know why he came on this trip. Citing his own unattractiveness, Kusuda thinks that she doesn’t understand him since she’s beautiful,
Kei responds by pointing out Kusuda’s good points, and she finally admits that she likes him. Kusuda has a hard time believing this, but Kei now feels that what’s inside is more important than appearance. Although Kusuda runs away again and forces Kei to go after him, he’s now happy, as are Sogabe and Mamoru. They are soon reunited with everyone, including Misao, Yoshihiko, and Yuuji who had come looking for their younger siblings. Yuuji in particular had overheard everything that Ayumi said to Mamoru, and since Yoshihiko had told him to think about Misaki, he decides to move on from his love for his sister. Sometime after they get back home, he stops by Misaki’s house and tells her that he wants to get to know her better. His sister Ayumi meanwhile gets the advice of all of her friends on what to do about Misao and Mamoru, and she finally visits their house to give Misao an answer to his confession. She knows now that Misao is not a scary person, but she still likes Mamoru, her first love.
Well, they did a pretty good job on what they covered. Kusuda, Sogabe, Mamoru, and Ayumi got the same endings they got in the manga, which don’t end as perfectly as they could have, but they give a decent amount of closure, especially given Ayumi’s final monologue about love. I also liked the first-person point of view and different animation style in this scene right before the guys reach the ocean, and the music was once again a strong point. The key words though are “what they covered.” If you were hoping for Misaki to get a good ending (and I was), then this episode – and this series – falls a bit short. The one brief scene they had was okay, but it doesn’t have the same effect as devoting an entire chapter like the manga does (here’s an example of what they skipped out on). I wish they had more time or episodes to animate all that.
Other than the Misaki omission at the end, the series turned out to be about as good an idealized romance comedy as I’d hoped it’d be. The J.C.Staff team did a good job on the production quality – especially the music – and they managed to cover almost all of the manga, something I initially wasn’t sure they’d be able to do (after all, episode one only covered one chapter). I’m still not happy about Misaki not getting more airtime, but I guess they could always do an OVA or something with her. I wouldn’t mind more Koyoi either since she tends to make me laugh.