Summary:
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!

45 Comments

  1. No idea How happy am I to read that. 🙂

    I was also expecting a sad ending, but I’m glad they managed to finish it in a good way. I’ll be waiting for your entry then ^__^.

    It’ll be a whole week for the spanish subs to come out so this is the fastest way I have to know how it ended since the Animesuki forum is currently down.

    Ransom
  2. I must say, while I am relieved Rika lives, I’m not surprised at it either. I mean, a show that focuses so obviously on her dying would logically make her live to not only spice up the show, but also appease many fans.

    Kuya
  3. I was all set for another AIR type of pain….. I am immensefly relieved and give the creators credit for making it as suspenseful as they did for the majority of the series.

    Lovely little short story.

    Vexx
  4. Well, AIR is really sad, but I think there’s left something such bitter taste because Rika is not cured 100% and there is still the possibility that she might day. So, after all for me it’s not 100% happiness^^
    Hmm, the ending of the anime Chrno Crusade sucks. I read the manga, it’s completely different and they also changed pretty much in the story. Was bit disappointed then. But whats the CC? I just know the anime and the manga and the manga is finished here in Germany with 8 books.

    *Chi*
  5. Hmm, but what my father told me (he’s a doctor) Rika can get a heart transplantation and live a normal life and even become older than 80^^ (well, just wanted to know that, so i asked hmm^^)

    *Chi*
  6. About the last novel:
    Show Spoiler ▼

  7. No marrying????!!!!! Neuhhh ;_; I was hoping it would end with Yuuichi proposing or something >.>; Anyway, I’m happy for them. I’m hoping for Rika that she’ll get to her 90’s :p

    Mayuna
  8. I thought this anime was perfect. Taking a slice of life from a life altering event and not going into too much detail; 2 ppl just coping with their situation. Part of me wants to see the next major event in their lives though, Rika’s enevitable early death… showing the time before and after, and having Natsume show a more sympathetic and supportive side to Yuuichi… having him emerge from the whole experience without the cynicism Natsume has / had… but part of me wants them to continue living, so leaving it as-is without an “ending” is fine too. Guess I’m a little torn.

    The literature was a big hook for me too… so endearing when they called themselves Giovanni and Campanella. I think that’s when I really started caring for the characters. But episode 5, with the translated excerpt from “Les Thibaults”, damn, I HAD to get myself a copy… 2000 friggin pages, but think it may be a worthwhile venture for me, just rec’d it today. If you’re interested too, found you a copy for 4 bucks =) (should be vol 1 from a 2 vol collection, the 2nd being “Summer 1914”)

    http://dogbert.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=603775756&searchurl=bsi%3D30%26tn%3Dthe%2Bthibaults

    BTW, do you know if there’s an English translation of Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora?

    fAtbOy
  9. The short answer to that is no, there is not.
    The long answer is that no, because translating novels is significantly more work than translating manga. You have stick close to the author’s original meaning while still making it readable for a different language audience. There aren’t many groups who translate novels (Boku-Tachi is the only one that comes to mind), and the odds of the HanTsuki novels getting licensed and translated are pretty small.
    And if you REALLY wanted to read it/see it translated, your best bet is to shop around the scanlating groups and IRC channels until you can find a few people who are also interested and get them coordinated and involved.

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