「天国は待ってくれる？」 (Tengoku wa Matte Kureru?)
I know it’s somewhat cheesy when they play the opening theme near the end of a finale, but I actually like the whole “coming full circle” feel it gives off. Sure enough, Junpei’s curse does just that as he gets transformed into a cat completely before having the curse’s severity reduced. He’s human again but not free from it entirely, leading us to the biggest surprise at the end of the episode — a second season has been greenlit!
I haven’t looked into when it’ll possibly be airing, but I’m happy that both the series and AIC studio’s work on it are well-received amongst fans. It’ll be interesting to see how things go in a second season, since the manga material was used out of order and there was a fair bit of original content this time around. The writers did a good job tying the two together this season, so I’m not really worried about that being done well. I’m just curious as to which direction they’ll take things. The letter from Junpei’s father during the omake suggested it will focus on the romance aspect. With the whole love triangle between Junpei, Kaede, and Kanako in full swing, they could probably ride on that alone for another season if they wanted. Hayate no Gotoku!! 2nd Season went a similar route when they focused on those particular chapters of its own manga. I happened to enjoy that a fair bit, so I’d love to see Nyan Koi do the same.
I mentioned before how I felt AIC’s production was impressive across the board, let alone for a comedy series. This final episode reiterated that notion, as the number of in-between animation frames was pretty amazing. While the faces were pretty goofy on a few ocassions, the facial animation was noticeably more fluid and pronounced than previous showings. This includes the characters’ eyes as well. All in all, it really does the manga justice, which I’m sure those familiar with the artwork there can attest to. Now if only all production studios could follow suit and make this level of quality the new norm, I’d be one happy anime viewer. Normally, I’m not too concerned about production studios when deciding on what to watch, but rest assured I’ll be taking special consideration for anything AIC’s involved with from now on. The only thing I could really fault them for this episode was the case of the disappearing Manekineko, after Junpei and the twins tried to trick Kaede into believing that the curse was lifted. Not a huge mishap, but noteworthy nonetheless.
As for the episode itself, it turns out Junpei did become the cat shown in the preview last time. During the first half, I honestly believed that Nyamsus’ idea of fooling Kaede into believing that Junpei’s no longer cursed was going to work. As such, it was pretty amusing seeing Nagi stroll along and pull off Junpei’s hat, exposing his cat ears to everyone. Conveniently enough, there was some Sun Road shopping district costume contest going on to prevent Nagi, Haruhiko, and Kouta from suspecting anything. Too bad the same couldn’t be said for Kaede, whose suspicions took Junpei’s curse over the edge and transformed him completely.
During all this, I loved watching Kotone and Akari trying to help by sneaking out food for him and even picking up his clothes. Akari’s reaction to inadvertently sniffing Junpei’s underwear was pretty priceless. It was also cool seeing Kotone’s stalkerish ways (with GPS tracking and all) actually prove to be useful for a change. If there’s anything that has me really excited about a second season, it would be seeing more of Tomatsu Haruka as the Kirishima twins.
Much like I was saying above, things really came full circle with Kaede’s return to the park and the cats from episode one running away from her in fear. Back then, Junpei was telling her not to be too forceful when petting cats, which she was reminded of when approaching Junpei himself. I thought it was pretty cute having him be the cat that lets Kaede get over her inability to get along with them, and even cuter when all the cats Junpei helped so far miraculously showed up. The screenplay and music there was really well done, as Junpei was thinking he’d just die happily in Kaede’s arms. It was a very somber yet heartfelt mood, before Kaede spoke out about how Junpei couldn’t possibly be cursed when he’s so nice to cats, thus reverting him back to his naked human self. If there wasn’t a second season, I would’ve been satisfied with ending on that note.
There is however, so hearing Junpei say he’ll continue working towards lifting his curse was a nice way of getting the story back on track for the next arc. The same goes for the New Year’s shrine visit, where both Kaede and Kanako wished to get closer to Junpei. I liked how they left things off on a comedic note though, with the bell dropping and hitting Junpei, Kaede, and Tama for a well-executed three hit combo. Overall, this has been great light-hearted comedy with top-notch production values, making Nyan Koi pretty easy to recommend to anyone — especially cat lovers. Anyone else ready for season two already?
* Kaede was unbelievable cute this episode.
* Uploaded copies of the really nice cat-themed sponsor message eyecatches. The first one has Kaede in the same neko maid outfit as Sakakibara Yui in her PV.