「森島はるか編 最終章 レンアイ」 (Morishima Haruka-hen Saishuushou – Renai)
“Morishima Haruka Final Chapter – Love”
In this final chapter of Haruka’s arc before the reset, they somehow managed to cram in both a pool scene and a hotel one before time-lapsing ten years into the future. There was no shortage of service from Haruka in her swimsuit thanks to a full-length shot, but her Christmas Eve night with Junichi in the glamorous hotel remained behind closed doors. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what they were up to — especially when Haruka came out of the bath in only a towel and was visually upset about Junichi not peeking — but the build-up towards her teary-eyed confession in that scene was the real focus this episode and what I felt played out really well. I attribute that primarily to how it was revealed that their feelings for one another stemmed from a meeting well before the first episode. It was also showcased in a way that made it clear that romance wasn’t something either of them was really looking for at the time, yet innocently came about given their situations.
In Junichi’s case, it was naturally about feeling depressed over being stood up last Christmas Eve and being reminded of it when he’s at the overlook he was supposed to meet his date at. In Haruka’s case, it was being reminded of her pet dog John who passed away the year before and being unable to leave a depressed Junichi alone. In other words, it was the whole “fateful encounter” background info that was slipped in that made the happy ending a lot more heartfelt. The lesser part of year was all the time that passed between their first encounter and their return to that same location to reflect on it, but it was enough to give off that impression that these two were meant for one another. As a result, it made the time they spent together on Christmas Eve much more meaningful in my eyes, since it not only involved Junichi overcoming his broken heart and opening up to the idea of loving again, but also the perfect girl for him to fall in love with to that end. All the scenes with the dusk sky gave their flourishing relationship a true love story-type of feel and even a bit of a surreal one as well.
During all this, the more lighthearted moments involving the matchmaker arcade game that gave dire results, Haruka revealing that she’s a quarter British with the middle name “Lovely” (hence the blue eyes I guess), and her using the initials “L.H.” to score a 95% result with Junichi did keep me guessing on how things would turn out. Subsequently, Haruka misleading Junichi into thinking that they were stopping at a hotel room to “work up a sweat” (double meaning of “wash off sweat” in Japanese) before meeting up with her family only served to misguide both him and me further. Their time at the pool more or less masked Haruka’s upcoming revelation that they’d actually be spending the night alone together since her grandfather’s flight was delayed, which in combination to everything else that happened in this episode, allowed the eventual confession from Haruka to totally sneak up on me (…in a good way). The way she unexpectedly came out of the bath and declared all her worries about being unable to be honest about how she felt and fearing that Junichi would give up on her made that scene really sweet. It wasn’t cheesy nor overly emotional despite Haruka’s tears, but the culmination of their feelings for one another finally being realized made it work well from a romance perspective. Ah, isn’t love sweet?
I did get a chuckle out of the time-lapse ten years later that shows the two of them married, yet still very much into the kinky role-play. Looking back, I’m admittedly a bit sad to see the Haruka arc concluded already, but I am looking forward to the ones we have in store. Next up is Junichi’s middle school friend Kaoru, with Sae, Ai, Rihoko, and Tsukasa lined up in that order. For those hoping to see the childhood friend Rihoko or the class president Tsukasa, you’ll have to wait awhile since they’re saved for last.