「華園 光・滝島 彗」 (Hanazono Hikari / Takishima Kei)
“Hanazono Hikari / Takishima Kei”
Episode at a Glance:
Watching Hikari chase after his plane, Kei is reminded of how she always gave him presents and stayed by his side until he opened them, just so that she can explain what they were. Back at the greenhouse, everyone figures that the S.A class was restored because Kei agreed to leave for London, but Hikari is furious about being challenged to a competition that Kei never intended to win in the first place, so she decides to go to London too. While Akira tries to explain that Kei did this for her sake, Hikari says that’s what pisses her off so much, before storming out. Ryuu, Jun, and Megumi then decide to go along, prompting Tadashi to ask if he can sit out, but Akira naturally doesn’t let him. Sui then arrives holding onto Kei’s uniform.
Back at home, Hikari realizes that London’s farther than she thought, but recalls that tomorrow’s Kei’s birthday. Sui then arrives with a helicopter, asking Hikari to go to London and stop Kei. Shortly after, Aoi comes by with his men after following Sui’s suspicious actions and threatens Hikari with the S.A class again if she continues. However, the rest of the S.A class shows up after submitting their school resignation letters and head off to London with Hikari. Aoi says that going won’t change anything, so Hikari tells him that she never gives up and always sees things through, much like how Kei can accomplish anything once he sets his mind on it. Watching them leave in the helicopter, Sui tells Hikari that he’s counting on her.
In London, Akira is instantly goes into sightseeing mode, but they eventually make it to the Takishima Group headquarters, where they’re told that Kei doesn’t want to see them. Hearing this, Hikari suggests sneaking in, but Akira reveals that the premises are rigged with traps by using Tadashi as a guinea pig. Claiming that she has a plan, Akira suggest shopping until the evening, making everyone suspect that she just wants time to shop. Ryuu on the other hand mentions that Kei once told him that he has a room in the main tower and reminds Hikari to be careful. Inside, a butler asks Kei if he’s okay with not seeing them, which he confirms.
Later that evening, Hikari and others infiltrate the estate during Kei’s birthday party, but run into various obstacles along the way. With Ryuu staying behind to deal with the guard dogs, Tadashi with the defensive lasers, Jun with the maids (thanks to Sakura’s help), and Megumi with some additional guards (thanks to Yahiro’s help), Hikari and Akira continue to make their way towards Kei’s room. Tadashi suddenly comes flying along in a motorcycle, inadvertently interrupts a moment between Yahiro and Megumi, and catapults Hikari into the main tower. When Hikari comes to her senses, she realizes that she’s in Kei’s room.
Sensing that someone is coming by, Hikari hides in the Yappi rabbit suit, only to realize that it’s Kei, who still doesn’t want to see them. Questioning if that’s really true, Hikari tries to take off the head piece, but Kei stops her and asks her to leave as she is, claiming that seeing them would be too painful. Relieved to hear this, Hikari gives Kei a present and wishes him a happy birthday. Speechless, Kei decides to take off the head piece so that he can see Hikari’s face and recalls how she always gives him presents on his birthday. Kei then wonders if she realizes how much he eagerly anticipates them, how happy they make him, and how much he thinks about her. Opening the present, Kei finds dolls of each member of the S.A class, after which Hikari challenges him to continue the contest. Stating that there isn’t much time left in the day, Hikari stipulates that he has to return without any complaints if she wins, which Kei accepts, saying he’ll take her as his prize if he wins.
Seeing Kei chasing after Hikari, Aoi decides to call off the guards, informing them that there’s no end to this with how persistent their opponent is. Back at Hakusenkan, Sumire receives a phone call requesting the readmittance of the seven S.A members, which she happily accepts. Chasing Hikari all the way up a clock tower, Kei questions if she really hates losing to him that much, so Hikari says it’s because he’s special. With his ability to do anything since they were kids and her inability to beat him no matter how hard she tries, Hikari explains that he’s more amazing than anyone else and that she respects him as much as she hates him, before declaring that Kei’s her eternal rival. A gust of wind then comes by, blowing the bunch of flowers from Hikari’s pocket, so she leaps out for them. Instead of going for the flowers himself, Kei jumps in between, catches Hikari in his arms, and kisses her.
Back at the Hakusenkan greenhouse, Hikari shows everyone her test score where she got an extra 20 points for finishing 30 minutes early, making Akira think that she’ll beat Kei for sure this time. However, Kei arrives saying he finished the entire test in a minute and was awarded double the number of marks, before smiling at Hikari and calling her “Rank 2”. While frustrated, Hikari smiles back and tells Kei not to call her “Rank 2”.
Given how the last episode ended (and how they recapped it at the beginning of this episode), I have to admit that I’m slightly disappointed with the finale. The main reason for this is that they spent the majority of the episode emphasizing the strong bond between the S.A class. Once in London, they systematically had each of the members stay behind one-by-one so that Hikari could make her way towards Kei. While i could understand (and appreciate) the effect that they were going for, the whole endeavor came off a lot more silly than touching. In short, they were trying to highlight the nuances of each character and have them all work together to bring Kei back.
This includes Ryuu’s affinity with animals, Tadashi’s ability to survive any form of abuse (including lasers), Jun’s other self, Megumi’s singing (and speaking), and Akira’s overall love for Hikari. What I did enjoy though was how Yahiro and Sakura made appearances during all this, even though their presence there was never really explained. Yahiro reminded us of the role he played in the series, helping Tadashi for Akira’s sake and Megumi for his own, whereas Sakura triggered the other Jun in order to distract all the maids. All in all, it was cute how they brought everything together, but it wasn’t until the last third of the episode that they showed us what I really wanted to see—Hikari and Kei.
So as such, half of the screenshots that I decided to include were taken from the last third of the episode. It was only then that things really got good, with Kei wondering if Hikari realizes how much he looks forward to her presents, how happy it makes him regardless of what it is, and how much he thinks of her all the time. (Aww….) I actually teared up a bit seeing how taken back Kei was when Hikari gave him a present and wished him a happy birthday. Since Kei cherishes every present that Hikari has given him to this very day, including the pencil she gave him when they were kids, it speaks volumes about how much anything Hikari-related means to him. Kei even keeps the Yappi the Rabbit costume that Yahiro gave him, just because Hikari wore it once before.
As nice as that mood was, I found it befitting that they ended things with a contest, with Kei more interested in getting through to Hikari this time around rather than winning. While Kei probably could’ve easily won and had Hikari all to himself, I don’t think he wanted to force himself upon her, so it was nice to see things come full circle with the “Nii-tte Yuu na!” (“Don’t say rank 2!”) line. Except this time, Hikari seems a lot happier about hearing it.
Being a slice-of-life romance comedy with an excellent cast, Special A couldn’t have done much wrong in my eyes, regardless of whether it strictly followed the manga or not. Each of the characters were introduced and built up in such a way that made them easily amiable, despite the whole premise of the S.A class resembling the elite and arrogant F4 “class” in Hana Yori Dango. While I’m well aware they couldn’t include a lot of the material from the manga, including Finn (the girl for Ryuu), I think the anime on its own works pretty well. I’m still kind of iffy about how they decided to allocate the time in the last episode, but I’m pretty content with the actual ending itself. For a series such as this, it only makes sense to me that they end up where they started, except with most of the characters being closer to someone they care about. Since anime adaptations are usually intended to help promote the manga, I think this series has done a good job in that regard. In fact, I find myself wanting to read the manga just to see where Hikari and Kei’s relationship is now.
Looking back, I kind of wish that the production on this series was a bit better, since I feel this series deserved at least that much. For one, it wasn’t produced or aired in high definition (HD), nor did most of the episodes compare to the quality of episode seventeen. With that said, I don’t foresee a sequel for this series, but I guess DVD sales will ultimately decide that. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my coverage of this series as much as I did watching it and thanks again for reading!
– Hanazono Hikari (華園 光) / Gotou Yuuko (後藤 邑子)
– Takishima Kei (滝島 彗) / Fukuyama Jun (福山 潤)
– Toudou Akira (東堂 明) / Nabatame Hitomi (生天目 仁美)
– Karino Tadashi (狩野 宙) / Shimono Hiro (下野 紘)
– Yamamoto Megumi (山本 芽) / Takagaki Ayahi (高垣 彩陽)
– Yamamoto Jun (山本 純) / Yonaga Tsubasa (代永 翼)
– Tsuji Ryuu (辻 竜) / Horie Kazuma (堀江 一眞)
– Takashima Sui (滝島 翠) / Shimizu Kaori (清水 香里)
– Saiga Yahiro (雑賀 八尋) / Taniyama Kishou (谷山 紀章)
– Ushikubo Sakura (牛窪 桜) / Kuwatani Natsuko (桑谷 夏子)
– Ogata Aoi (緒方 蒼) / Yusa Kouji (遊佐 浩二)
– Karino Sumire (狩野 菫) / Tanaka Atsuko (田中 敦子)
– Hikari’s father (光の父) / Imaruoka Atsushi (伊丸岡 篤)
– Hikari’s mother (光の母) / Nabei Makiko (鍋井 まき子)
– Butler (執事) / Sugisaki Ryou (杉崎 亮)