Ano Natsu de Matteru – 10
「先輩と僕らの。」 (Senpai to Bokura no)
“Sempai’s and ours.”
This is, simply put, one of the best love stories I’ve ever had the extreme pleasure of experiencing. The earnest feelings, the fragile first loves, and each and every character doing their best to reach for their dreams and stay true to themselves…it is fantastic. I don’t think I can say that enough. Truly fantastic. Truly.
Okay, gushing time over, objective time is now. For any of you Kaito x Ichika shippers out there, this episode is your reward. Often times shows will stop right at the point where a couple gets together, but a select few will take us past that and show us what they’re like together. That’s the reward, the sweet moments of cavity-inducing romance that make all the trouble they went through oh so worth it. And yes my friends, this was ohhhh so worth it. I don’t think I need to tell you that every time Kaito and Ichika were on-screen, I was rolling around on the floor clutching a body pillow and squealing like a third-grader at a Barney concert. And no, that’s not gushing. That’s just science fact.
The other half of the episode was centered around our tragic three, Kanna, Tetsuro, and Mio. Now, love triangles are tricky things, and love pentagons even more so. Bad feelings are liable to crop up when characters realize that they’re not going to get picked. The thing I love about this episode is that there’s none of that. Each character is so selfless that they would rather hurt themselves than blame others for their pain. But more than that, this episode flushes away the bad feelings as the final two stragglers, Tetsuro and Kanna, finally get their feelings out in the open.
Okay, I’m really trying not to gush here, but that? Fantastic. Those two were faced with serious regret – Tetsuro for hoping that Ichika-sempai would end up taking Kaito, thereby making Kanna available, as she ended up doing, while Kanna was struck with the realization that she had waited too long and had missed her chance. The two of them were beginning to hate themselves for their mistakes, which could have poisoned the feelings of the series. Yet it did not, because they did the right thing – though perhaps late, they went ahead and finally did what they should have done long ago, and confessed. Characters striving to be the best they can, to have no regrets, and to reach out for their happiness…these feelings were conveyed on the screen beautifully. I’m not being successful at stopping the gushing, am I?
Of course, there was also Mio, with her silently stalking ways. For a girl who used to be so shy that she talked to no one, she sure has become awfully strong. Yet her character’s evolution was so well done that this strength seems so right. I’m really having trouble finding anything to pick apart about this show. It’s like a master’s course in “How to do it properly” for a romance.
And yet, in the last few seconds the wonderful serenity that came from everyone’s feelings finally being out in the open was threatened by the long-anticipated (and perhaps dreaded, depending on your ship) arrival of one of Ichika’s alien cohort, her older sister. Will she take Ichika back or allow her to stay? I have no idea. Everything is out in the open, but nothing has been resolved. The same fundamentals facts that have been in place for most of this show still hold true: someone is going to get hurt, and we have no idea who it will be. Yet this episode gives me hope that, no matter who gets left out in the cold, they’ll be better off for the experience, because if nothing else they will have learned a valuable lesson: to be honest with how they feel, so they can live their lives with no regrets.
Seriously, this show? Fantastic. Truly, truly, truly fantastic. Science fact.