It is now March 10th, 2037, and the girls are getting ready to graduate. Much time has passed since that school festival, but Mikan notes that nothing has changed. Thanks to Kyouko, their uniforms and everything stayed the same even though the school administrations were combined. Each girl has their own plans: Momo is going to a digital journalist technical school, Mucchii is joining a corporate team, and Mei is going to college. As for Manabi, she had told the group earlier that she intended to be a freeter. The big surprise, however, was Mikan who is planning on going to America. It is on this March day that Mikan is lying under the blooming sakura trees when Manabi dumps a handful of petals on her face. After Mikan shows Manabi her passport, Manabi talks about Mikan being able to see what she is able to do in an unfamiliar place and being able to search for excitement again. Mikan thinks to herself that Seiou didn’t change at all, but a little bit of herself changed.

Once the graduation ceremony is over, the five girls head back to the roof of the school for one more meeting to reflect on their times together in the student council. Manabi feels that she caused everyone trouble and apologizes for it, but the others are okay with it because they had fun. Mikan then talks about how she wasn’t able to move on her own and instead always followed the others, and this causes her to start crying. She doesn’t want everything to end and wants to stay with everyone. Hearing this, Manabi tells her that they’ll always be together no matter where they are and that this isn’t an end, it’s a beginning. Mikan leaves town with these words in mind, and she vows to find excitement and come back. On the day of Mikan’s flight to America, the other four girls drive out to the airport and arrive just in time to catch Mikan at the departure gate. Though they’re out of breath from running through the terminal, they all still manage to hold out their fists. As she turns to go, Mikan finally understands that this really is the beginning – from now on, everything will be their stories.

The girls follow their own paths for the next year and five months. It is in the summer that Mikan returns to Japan and finds everyone waiting for her. In their time together, the five friends decide to use a special spray that will disappear after one night and cover Seiou Academy with a message that reads “A HAPPY LIFE.”

I was a bit surprised that they jumped ahead to graduation, but it did make for a really really satisfying ending to see the girls go on with their post-Seiou lives and then get reunited at the end. That was quite an “A-ha!” moment for me when they came back full circle to the opening animation. Everyone singing the opening song together was just icing on the cake.

Final Thoughts: Now that I think about it, Mikan really felt more like the main character because more of the story seemed to be told from her point of view, particularly in episodes five and six and in the end here. Manabi was still the central figure behind everything, like the school festival and the Massugu Go! motto, but Mikan acted like the narrator guiding us through the story. Both Horie Yui and Nonaka Ai did a great job (as did Inoue Marina, Hirano Aya, and Fujita Saki), and they fairly quickly erased my initial reservations about how the voices sounded like characters from other series. In the end, I was pleasantly surprised with this show’s emphasis on friendship and the superb soundtrack, and I look forward to the extra episode coming out on the last DVD on October 10th.


  1. The PV watchers were seriously eviled and pwned by the trailers … heh.

    Okay… beautiful ending and I go be depressed because its over. I wonder if we’ll get any OVAs…

  2. Thanks for the info. And yes, it is a terribly long way away. However, since i rely on fansubs for my viewing, and they’ve only released up to 7 i cant really complain to much.

  3. I was mislead – I was expecting shit hitting the fan.

    Oh well, in any case, one of the better anime this season, and since it caught me completely off guard, one of the better endings.

  4. lol I cracked up when I saw Mei driving xD;

    I loved the way this ended 😀 Especially the ending credits, it was interesting to see what they were all doing with their lives after high school :3

    ;A; No more fluffy friendship anime fix for me this season~

  5. I always fell a bit sad after watching great animes like this, because they end and I will no longer have new episodes. The entire series and the ending bring Azumanga Daioh to my mind, which isn’t a bad thing at all, since Azumanga Daioh is almost legendary now and, mainly, I think and feel that Manabi Straight is actually BETTER than Azumanga

  6. Yeah, while I feel both are great animes I think I enjoyed Manabi Straight much more… you see, I liked all characters from the main circle while in Azumanga only the unforgettable Osaka seems to be of some appeal to me nowadays. But hey, I’m probably wrong but I just thought I would throw my 2 cents anyway Crecente…

  7. I’d agree with Dokkoider in a sense. Manabi Straight is better as you actually have the motivation to watch on, since there is a storyline of sorts. With Azumanga, you just kind of rolled along with the school year as random events occured along the way. Plus, I think we could all say that Manabi Straight’s soundtrack totally rises above anything Azumanga Daioh spit out.

  8. Manabi Straight is just unique, I’ve never seen a series like that before. Both, story and characters are awesome, that’s why this anime has a place on my “most favourite anime series” list^^

  9. I bet the Final Episode (released on DVD) will have something to do with Mikan returning from the US or what not. Hopefully it’ll be extended to a 40minute movie or beyond and not just a 20minute episode.

    Regardless, even though it’s “finished” it still keeps you interested in finding out what happened to the 5 after the series ended, therefore extending the date until Onctober of 2007. In other words, they’re dang smart keeping the date of release so far away =P ^^;

  10. I really wouldn’t compare AzuDa and Manabi other than they can both be insufficiently described as “cute girls doing funny things”.
    One watches a group of young women as they journey through the high school experience in their surreal way. The other is minor science fiction with a lot of “never-really-explained” undercurrents that seem to press against their goals of a “happy life”.

    I like them both (thumbs up).

  11. I wouldn’t compare Azumanga Daioh and Manabi Straight because Azumanga’s more about humor while Manabi Straight focuses on cuteness and friendship. Also, don’t forget the all important loli-factor that Manabi Straight is swimming in, while Azumanga only has Chiyo (who *is* really adorable, but can’t compare with the entire Manabi cast. And funnily enough Chiyo’s seiyuu appeared in Manabi Straight. :D).

    It’d probably make more sense to compare this to Ichigo Mashimaro, which also has lolis running around doing cute things. Of course, I think Manabi Straight wins here too due to actually having a story line, a better soundtrack, and more memorable friendship-y moments.

    Neo Horizon

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