「七咲逢 後編 トウソウ」 (Nanasaki Ai Kouhen – Tousou)
“Nanasaki Ai, Second Chapter – Escape”
If I were to make one complaint about Ai’s follow-up arc, it would be the somewhat nauseating sensation I get from watching how happy she is with Junichi. It’s almost like the two of them are sucking all the happiness around them and taking it for themselves. For those watching Ano Natsu de Matteru, I gather this is what Kanna feels like watching Kaito and Ichika. I can’t get in between Junichi and Ai because they’re clearly head-over-heels in love with one another — particularly Ai who quietly consented to spending a night at a love hotel — so all I can do is acknowledge their feelings and be happy for them. It’s all about taking the high road, much like Umehara who remained the better person when presented with an opportunity to sell Junichi out.
Looking back on this arc, it was a lot more starved for conflict than the previous two, relying primarily on the overzealous cram school for Junichi and the feelings of loneliness for Ai to stir things up. At times it was alright with the random bits of comedy and Ai falling more in love, but at others it felt pretty underwhelming for a romance series. I figured it was going to hard for the writers to make things interesting in this sequel since being in a happy relationship isn’t nearly as “eventful” as the steps leading up to one, so I was honestly expecting more arcs like this one than Tsukasa’s though. From a viewer perspective, the obvious downside is that there isn’t the same kind of drama as the first season when Junichi’s single and alone. However, that’s not to say this was a terrible original follow-up, as we got plenty of “lovey-dovey” looks, a very cute Christmas Eve date, and implication that they finally did the “deed” when Junichi got his own place. It just a very different type of focus, given the stage Junichi and Ai’s relationship had progressed to.
Curiously enough, the writers don’t seem to be giving us any definitive endings like they did with the time skips from season one. Whether or not that’s to keep the door open for future mini sequels I don’t know, but it’s definitely something I wouldn’t mind seeing more of to really make these continuations worthwhile. I’m actually kind of disappointed that we didn’t get to see a time skip for all the heroines in the original, so I was secretly hoping that we’d see some more now. This was especially true for Rihoko since she had the worst ending in the original season, but seeing as we didn’t get one for her, I can’t say I’m keeping my hopes up for the remaining arcs. Regardless, I am looking forward to Kaoru’s next time, because she had the sweetest confession. That was probably my favorite moment in the original series.