As it turns out, Rika’s operation is a success, but Natsume still tells Yuuichi that this is the worst result for him. Yuuichi parks himself in front of the Intensive Care Unit until Nurse Tanizaki comes out and tells him that Rika is doing alright. She begins to say something else, but stops herself mid-sentence. Instead, she changes the subject and asks him if he’s studying. Yuuichi then runs into Natsume on the rooftop. The doctor asks Yuuichi if he’s planning on going to college after high school graduation (he is). Yuuichi wonders if Rika is feeling any better and expresses his desire for Rika to go back to a normal life. But Natsume feels that it doesn’t concern him, especially since he’s not part of Rika’s family. Yuuichi once again asks Natsume why it’s the worst. This time, Natsume replies that it’s because Yuuichi is there.
Natsume later sits Yuuichi down to tell him that Rika has been taken out of the ICU and put back in her own room. But his purpose here is to warn Yuuichi to stay away from the East Ward. Her mother has been quite worried about Rika in the past because of what she and Yuuichi did. If Yuuichi breaks this rule, he’ll be obligated to leave the hospital. Unable to see Rika as the days go by, Yuuichi becomes depressed and even snaps back at Miki when she starts lecturing him about what he should be doing.
One day, Yuuichi returns back to his room and finds Natsume waiting to speak with him. That night, Natsume admits to Tanizaki that he told Yuuichi a lie – something that he didn’t believe in. He then goes on to recount a “legend.” Of course, the story is actually about Natsume and his wife. They had believed that their happiness would go on forever, but then she developed an idiopathic form of dilated cardiomyopathy (a.k.a. an enlarged heart). It was like a bomb waiting to go off. Though her life was initially saved by surgery, she only had a 50% chance of living five years. The symptoms could be treated, but there was no cure and she wouldn’t have lived long enough even if it were possible to endure it. Natsume confirms that this is the same thing that Rika currently has. Yuuichi happens to have overheard the entire conversation and when Natsume uses the word “worst” again to describe having to decide between spending time on his career and his dying wife, Yuuichi realizes that this is what Natsume had meant earlier.
Yuuichi returns to his room filled with anger and tears. After knocking the books off his nightstand, he notices the copy of Les Thibault that Rika had given him and remembers the line that she had signed her name beside. He makes up his mind to go and see her, so he calls his friends for help. With one end of the rope tied around his waist and the other to the water tower, he tries to vault himself over to the east ward’s windowsill. He is barely unable to make it each time he tries, and the strain eventually breaks off the handle of the water tower. Fortunately, Tsukasa (in Zebra Mask form) catches it. Yuuichi almost gives up, but has a vision of Tada-san and his father. He also remembers what Natsume had told him earlier that day: to not run away from his fate and future, and to take what he really wants with both of his hands.
Yuuichi’s motivation returns and this time, Tsukasa’s brother shows up (also as Zebra Mask) to help. Yuuichi finally makes it and climbs over to Rika’s window. Rika’s mother answers his knock angrily, but Rika tells her mother that it’s ok. Yuuichi asks Rika if it’s alright for him to be always beside her. He promises to give up everything for her, and the two promise to stay together for a long time. Back at the nurse’s station, Natsume tells Tanizaki that he gave up the road to promotion and chose to be with his wife instead. But in the end, everything disappeared. He feels that Yuuichi will suffer the same way, but Tanizaki disagrees about Rika. She thinks that although Rika may someday die, the important thing is that she’s happy right now. Yuuichi recounts that at the time, the half moon shone in the sky. Although it’s not as bright as the full moon, it continues to illuminate even as the world melts into the darkness.
In the aftermath, Yuuichi manages to get his pictures developed despite Natsume’s interferences. He gets to show them to Rika, and her mother even apologizes to him. The two go back to the mountain where Yuuichi pulls her close and confesses. Rika tells him that it’s the second time he’s said those words. Under the blue sky, the two share a kiss.
Yay, both of them survived! Well, for the time being anyway. It’s implied that Rika will eventually die, most likely before Yuuichi does. But Yuuichi is going to spend all the time he has left with her because he loves her. It’s a much more direct parallel to Natsume and his wife than I would have imagined. For the purpose of this series, they stopped at this point, but the novels continue the story further. In fact, the sixth and final volume just recently came out.
I’m just glad that they both lived to the end of the show, and that we even got a kiss in the very last scene. The story is heart-warming, but I really didn’t shed any tears, nor did I feel that attached to the characters. Though both Natsume and Tanizaki end up being much more likeable after the final episodes; Natsume especially because we learn about his past and why he’s so cynical.
And for those of you who are curious, dilated cardiomyopathy is basically the enlargement of one of the heart’s chambers. Idiopathic simply means that the condition has no known cause, and they usually attribute it to genetics. And with no underlying disease to cure, there’s no way to get rid of the condition. That’s why the prognosis is so bad, and that’s why although Rika is alright for now, she only has so long to live. You can learn more about this condition through this link.
Final Thoughts: The happy ending to this series was definitely not what I thought would happen. Without actually having seen someone die, it’s hard to say how much more or less I would have liked the overall series compared to how it actually turned out. I felt that because of the very short six episode length, the pacing is fast and I suspect that the storytelling does the novels no justice. But for someone who hasn’t really read them, I think they did a pretty good job. The highlight for me each week became exploring how the literature that Rika gives Yuuichi – Night on the Galactic Railroad and Les Thibault – tied into the growing love between the two. Overall, Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora is a fairly good, short romance series.
Next week, the premiere of Shinigami no Ballad!