「きらめく日々を駆け抜けろ」 (Kirameku Hibi o Kakenukero)
“Dash Through Those Brilliant Days”

After last episode I felt emotionally drained, like someone had strapped a vacuum to my soul and sucked out all the life. This week, I feel uplifted. All the pain, all the struggle they went through lead to something fantastic. Characters grew, learned about themselves, and came to realize what the true happiness of Sakurasou is all about. I could almost sing.

Mashiro’s Painting

Yet not all that glitters is gold, and though uplifting by the end, this episode had its punches to throw as well. It was subtly painful how they didn’t know that Mashiro was gone at first, but what did it more was the painting. As soon as I saw it, I saw the beauty of it – not necessarily in the placement of the brush strokes, but in the feelings they conveyed. It was like looking through Mashiro’s eyes at the Sakurasou she loved – which is when I realized what Sorata noticed as well. Mashiro was not in it.

The whole first third of the episode was heartrendingly beautiful, from Sorata’s frustration at Mashiro’s departure, to Jin and Misaki’s kindly advice, all the way to Sorata taking charge so definitely when it was Mashiro that may leave him forever. Which set up…

Nanami’s Feelings

I’m not sure when the first time was, but when Sorata became determined to find Mashiro, he stopped calling her Shiina and started using her given name instead. I think once Nanami heard that as they ran down the stairs to find her, she knew. He did it with so much feeling, so much more feeling than when he ever had with her. Or rather, with different feeling. No matter how important his nakama are to him, his concern for Mashiro was on a totally different (and deeper) level, and Nanami knew it.

That’s why she dodged. For a second I thought she was going to do it, she was finally going to confess her love for him, but she dodged it. She didn’t say what she truly felt. Well, she truly felt what she said as well, that she was glad to have met Sorata and that he made her feel like working even harder, but that wasn’t all. It was only when he was gone that she could say what she really wanted to say: “I was able to work so hard till today because I was in love with you.” By then, she already knew the score, and I think she loves both Sorata and Mashiro too much to get in the way until he has at least had his chance to tell Mashiro his feelings. The world truly isn’t good enough for people like Nanami.

Permission To Believe

Many will say that Sorata loving Mashiro is unfair. Why must the hardworking Nanami lose out to the natural prodigy Mashiro, who always seems to get everything she wants? I will avoid mentioning how much effort Mashiro has put in, both in her work and in pursuing Sorata, as haphazard as the latter has been. Instead, focus on only one thing – Sorata’s feelings. If we’re talking about who Sorata loves, that’s only fair, right? In fact, not a whole lot else matters. Though any of us might think his choice is wrong, it only matters who he loves. So, why Mashiro?

It comes down to what caused his eye to turn towards her first, and in fact, it’s similar to what turned Nanami’s eye towards Sorata. For Nanami, what she most needed was someone to help her through the dip, the slog, through the hard times as she tried to reach her goal. That’s because she already had her dream, and was working actively towards it. But while Sorata eventually benefited from this as well – and he said as much to Nanami this episode – that’s not what he needed most of all.

What Sorata needed, more than anything else, was permission. Permission to believe, permission to strive, permission to chase after his crazy, stupid dream in the face of all challenges. Sorata was trapped, thinking he couldn’t do it. He wasn’t even trying! Every day was boring…and then came Mashiro. Mashiro gave Sorata permission to strive for his dream, simply by being there and being herself.

Of course, there are other reasons – Sorata has always struck me as the type who likes to be needed, for instance, so that points to Mashiro there. But most of all, simply by being around her, Sorata feels like he can become a better version of himself. Simply by being with her, he strives towards his dream and has had some of the best times of his life. Maybe it’s unfair to the hardworking Nanami, but so be it – love is, of course, subjective. As with dreams, love doesn’t need a good reason. It only needs the feeling.

Away On A Train

I cannot praise the scene at the station between Sorata and Mashiro enough. From a storytelling point of view, it was beautifully done, from how it was arranged to the use of pauses, silence, and uncertainty. And uncertainty is the key. As I have said before, we often “know” the ultimate ending of a story like this – the title girl is going to win, right? But then again, that’s true of nearly all stories, because the good guys almost always win (eventually. Unless you get into horror stories. Those can get pretty bastardly). So if we already know the end, what’s the point of even watching?

It’s the journey, of course. I could go on at length about this, but I’ll confine myself to one point – if the audience already “knows” how it’s going to end, how do you heighten the tension and enhance the relief when what you knew was going to happen anyway comes to pass? Doubt. Uncertainty. You make the audience unsure for just a second, so that when it happens they are relieved. “Phew!”, they will go. “I almost thought it wasn’t going to happen for a second there!”

That’s what the train scene was. Setting them up across the tracks from one another was great, and having the train come right as Sorata was getting to his confession set the moment up well. And did you hear all the emotion in Mashiro’s voice? That too, primed the pump. Yet it was in the pause while the train loaded and headed off that uncertainty set in. The story stopped talking, and let the audience’s brains go to work. That’s where the thought came to me – oh gods, what if she isn’t standing there when the train passes?

And she wasn’t. My heart almost stopped in that moment. Uncertainty had crept in, and all the sudden it was fulfilled, and I was totally floored. Only, nope! But that’s okay. That’s perfect, in fact! For Mashiro to actually get on that train would either have been uncharacteristic of Sakurasou or a huge waste of time. Instead, they shocked us with an event we didn’t dare consider by making us consider it, if only for a split second before they proceeded to the sweet, sweet reunion between friends. I still feel it, a dull shock left over from that moment. Instead of speaking to the logical Stilts, they grabbed the emotional Stilts and jerked him around for just long enough for me to feel.

And that, my friends, is why I love fiction. In a world full of so very many troublesome things, good fiction almost feels more real somehow. You have to met the author halfway, but if you can immerse yourself in their world and let yourself be swept away in the tale they are telling you, you can experience emotions more real than anything we get in our day-to-day lives. Shock, dread, sadness, despair…and of course, overwhelming relief when the clouds part and our heroes come out the other end okay. Woohoo!!

Rita Returns

I am still not sure whether we’re going to see an anime original ending or not, but if I were to point to any event as evidence of one way or the other, I would say that Rita’s return points to an original end. For the series to satisfactorily tie things up, we need a resolution to all the major couples, Ryuunosuke x Rita included. Combined with a certain event that was left out of the Valentine’s Day episode (I won’t go into details, and I ask that anyone who comments on it use spoiler tags), I think they saved enough material to give us a satisfactory end to this relationship here at the end. But of course, that requires Rita to be in the area, and now she is.

Aside from that, I have only to repeat what I’ve always said about Dragon x Freeloader – the seiyuu shipping that this couple inspires in me is certifiably lethal. Hocchan x Ayachii? *dies*

Looking Ahead – Graduation

As noted in the previous section, I’m seeing signs of an anime original ending in our future. Not that that’s bad – with how much original creator Kamoshida Hajime has been involved in this project, I’m sure they’ll be able to knit everything together into a satisfactory ending (probably). Plus it does spare us from an uber-rushed Toradora ending, which I appreciate. But we still have two more episode to go! In that time, we’ll have to see a satisfactory ending to Sorata x Mashiro (did she hear his confession? How will the two react?), Nanami (where will she go from here? Will she really go home?), Ryuunosuke x Rita (just…all of that mess!!), and Misaki x Jin (we’re probably okay on that one). And maybe Chihiro-sensei x Fujisawa? Oh, and that whole Sakurasou demolition thing! (What are you up to, Jin?) There’s a lot to do in these last two episodes, so let’s hope the series finishes out strong.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – From the depths of despair, we are uplifted #sakurasou

Random thoughts:

  • The soundtrack continues to be wonderful. From wistful, almost pained strings during pivotal scenes to the deliberate lack of any sound whatsoever during others, the soundtrack is being deftly used to enhance every scene. This is a soundtrack in service of the story at its finest.
  • Points go to team for making me laugh even amidst all the roaring emotions. From Dragon’s GPS tracker on Mashiro’s cell phone to Hauhau being moe to Mashiro’s deep love, I was laughing more than I had any right to in such a powerful episode. Which worked well – with everything they were piling on us, the occasional laugh served to lower the tension and keep the episode in balance. Plus, you know, funny, so that was nice too.

Full-length images: 15, 16, 26.




      1. Although one may find the Mashino x Sorata pairing cute (story wise, I do), I find it disturbing that Aoyama got the short end of the stick to everything. Like what many people said here, not fair. I personally want to see her happy. On the bright side though, that shows how well her character was written (perhaps more than Mashiro, because you can relate with Nanami). Mashiro, you’ve got a great friend in Nanami, don’t lose it!

    1. I think we all kinda knew Nanami had no chance. Its in this episode she came to realize it as well. Better she friendzone him and look for a boyfriend elsewhere and be happy.

  1. I loved this episode, after being so emotionally drained by the last one I’m glad this one had such a hopeful and uplifting tone to it. After these last two episodes, I have a feeling that the series will finish strong, we’ll get proper closure and not a rushed ending. Really excited about the inevitable talk between Sorata and Mashiro after his confession though, I bet it’s going to be adorable. =3
    Though honestly Stilts, did you expect Rita to be right behind Ryuunosuke after he called her? That was the one thing I didn’t see coming and was kind of thrown off by it, but asides from that- really no complaints. Everything does seem like it’ll be wrapped up nicely, just a matter of how they’re going to save Sakurasou now…

    1. Yeah, I didn’t see that either. And once you think about it, it’s pretty convenient…but it’s an acceptable break from reality, because it would have changed nothing for her to be in town (which was necessary) but not nearby. Plus, tsundere Dragon is best Dragon!

      1. Yeah, I was more surprised than angry about that sudden development, you know? And about tsundere dragon, I gotta agree with you there! It weirds me out how good Hocchan is at voicing male roles. But yeah, that pairing of Hocchan and Ayachii is just… too… much…

  2. Finally, some silver lining at the end of the corridor. We need an original edning for this series to close nicely. Stop all those nosense of open endings we see all the time for the sake of more seasons to come (hadly in this case), so I’m glad to feel we’re getting something new. Hopefully this will happen in two weeks.

    Syaoran Li
  3. On a light note I’ll say that Mashiro surprised me. I didn’t think that “Plan C” was “Plan Crush!” Nanami almost went down at that point.

    But I agree this episode really brought my mood back up. They did a great job with that train scene. Despite the initial frustration of “oh god not another confession cut out by a loud noise,” came that worry of what we’d find. I was pretty sure she’d be there, and then she wasn’t….Had me in a panic mode until Mashiro just came down those steps.

    I salute Nanami. She could tell how Sorata felt and didn’t try to create this extra pressure of having him respond to a full out confession right there. Especially when they had to hurry and find Mashiro. A great person, who just isn’t going to get the guy she liked. Props to you Nanami, despite the fact that I was pulling for Mashiro I do feel like you deserved better.

    Just so many good emotional moments here. Seeing that painting that reflected Mashiro’s feelings towards Sakurasou was something else. But also how I noticed Sorata starting to say Mashiro instead of Shiina. Like subconsciously he had finally come to understand his feelings and worked through things.

    Also just want to say, wow to Mashiro. I mean her transformation through this series has been spectacular. The amount of emotion she showed in this episode was intense. She really has changed and good for her.

    1. To be honest, I really think the whole Nanami x Sorata x Mashiro thing could have easily gone the other way. Had Sorata found his will to create some other way (or had it coming in, like Nanami did), then Nanami easily could have won.

      …though then again, Misaki has the same genius-level talents as Mashiro, and Sorata didn’t fall for her. So maybe Nanami would have only won provided Mashiro never came to Sakurasou, which just seems like cheating 😛

      1. I agree it could have gone the other way. Though seems like Nanami was in a tough spot from the beginning. If Mashiro had never shown up would Sorata have snapped out of his view of the world in order to respond to Nanami’s feelings? If he had found another way then I think for sure Nanami would have had her shot even if Mashiro had arrived sometime after that. Just so hard for her in this case because she was competing against someone who pretty much changed Sorata’s viewpoint in regards to his whole life.

        And good point with Misaki. The only thing her talent and personality made him want to do was get the heck out of there XD.

        I also just appreciate people noticing that Mashiro has been working in this series. This isn’t a case of pure extremes between Mashiro and Nanami. Nanami is definitely a representative of hard work. But Mashiro also threw herself into her painting for years and worked herself through long nights for her manga. Not to mention the emotional growth she needed in order to understand love and try to reach out to Sorata. The talent gap certainly made the difference though between the results though.

      2. Yeah, Misaki’s personality was a little too over-the-top to change Sorata’s worldview…at least, yet. I think a combination of Misaki and Nanami could have done the trick though, it just would have taken a little longer. That may have resulted in a Nanami end, but I don’t think it would have been nearly as good of a story without Mashiro.

      3. I feel like the author didn’t know how to handle his own characters and the situation they were in. Even if a story is entirely an author’s choice, cohesion is a must have. For an ending, it’s ok, since I’ve witness other worse and atrocious endings. But I still find this resolution lacking.

    2. At least Zessica was able to overcome the confession block known as 300 missiles exploding all around you with a second round of confession. It’s a pity Amata likes that wooden cube known as… meh I already forgot her name.

      Suppa Tenko
      1. Which part of my post do you three downvoters not like?

        About me saying Rita being a professional artist? Or about me saying she had suffered under Mashiro’s shadows (but has since gotten over it and made up with Mashiro and moved on)? Cause both have been mentioned in the story earlier already and are nothing but facts.

  4. I simply love it when characters like Mashiro just show off so much emotion all of a sudden. I really really love it. As for Nanami. It just isn’t fair for her at all.

    I just hate when nothing goes a person’s way. Especially for someone like Nanami. Its to much, and too one sided for her right now. Failed at voice acting (Does that sound harsh the way I just bluntly say it?), failed at protecting the Sakurasou building, and she couldn’t even confess her feelings.

    I just PRAY that Nanami can at least let her feelings loose for Sorata to hear, even if she is put down gently, she deserves the right to confess. Like Kanna in Ano Natsu de Matteru. How much more episodes left? 2? 3? However many, Nanami must confess. Even if she pretty much lost now, she needs to let her feelings go.

  5. “As with dreams, love doesn’t need a good reason. It only needs the feeling.”

    And the same could be said of other issues apart from love.

    Stilts, I’m enjoying this anime at the same level as your comments, and vice versa.

  6. Not that that’s bad – with how much original creator Kamoshida Hajime has been involved in this project, I’m sure they’ll be able to knit everything together into a satisfactory ending (probably)

    That- and the Queen of Heartstrings Okada doing the writing certainly give me much hope…I think I’m pretty optimistic about the ending at this point…

      1. I’d like to meet the Okada herself, just to see what she’s like- I imagine that she probably has that super-empathetic social-worker type persona- but imagine the irony if she turned out to be quiet and non-expressive à la-Mashiro…

  7. Oh Dragon, you’re such a tsundere. Just as he was about to learn from Houtarou and take the most “energy-saving” way of finding Mashiro (i.e. leaving a message for Rita), here she was right behind him not letting him go.

  8. This episode… my God.

    Nanami friend-zones herself. (T_T)

    Kayano Ai being godly during the train station scene.

    Sorata finally taking his own advice and letting out all his feelings during that same scene.

    That feeling you get after you just watched something incredibly wonderful and uplifting.

    What an episode, seriously. I don’t think I’ve ever really been wowed this much by a rom-com series episode in quite a while. Music was amazing and set the mood really well and the train station scene was just…wow. Now I don’t know if I’m going to be able to enjoy the last two episodes as much because I just don’t think they’re gonna be able to hold a candle to this one

  9. This show has officially put voice acting in anime on another level. I can only imagine what it was like for the VA’s recording this show.

    As for you Stilts, I think this might be your best post ever! The detail, the feelings, the personalization, it’s always fantastic.

    I really fely for Nanami, it just seems so unfair, and it’s frustrating knowing that it’s never the friend who wins (although I have been surprised before), However; while I would have berrated Sorata for his choice just a couple of weeks ago, I can’t fault him for it now. I need not say why, you outlined it pretty well already, and it reminds me of Dera’s line from the previous episode of Tamako Market:

    “Everybody loves Somebody”

    Also I just realized that Sorata looks a lot like Yumeji

    1. *bows* Thank you kindly. The best posts – like the best episodes – are always full of honest, personal feelings. And the best comments too! Those are always my favorite ones to read.

    1. Agreed on the b-couples. As much as I enjoy a good harem, I much prefer it when more characters get a chance to tackle a romance. Not every character needs to have someone (that doesn’t happen often IRL at their age, so why should it here?), but more than just the main couple is appreciated.

      And when those couples are ones like Dragon x Rita and Misaki x Jin? Even better!

  10. Stilts, I gotta say this: That was an absolutely brilliant posting. It’s like you pretty much covered every angle for how enjoyable this episode is by properly breaking it down into segments, especially your ‘Permission to Believe’ part. +1 Salute!

    Highly impressed and impacted by the episode. If the previous one reduced me to tears, this one brought an involuntary smile of joy to my face.

    It wasn’t just the happy end to the episode, but rather more of the characters – mainly Sorata and Mashiro – revealing or discovering more of themselves that made me really enjoyed the episode.

    Special mentions to Nanami and Ryuunosuke. Ahh…Nanami. Shipping aside, she’s fast becoming one of my favorite female characters this season. After going through all that crap, she had the sense not to disrupt Sorata with a direct confession and yet was truthful to herself. Would a direct one be better? I’m not so sure, even if in the future. That scene itself was something of a resolution for her, IMO, especially how she sees Sorata naturally changes the way he calls Mashiro at the thought he might never see her again.

    Speaking of which, unfair as it may seem, the decision ultimately lies with Sorata. If we’re talking about a love triangle here, he’s the tip, the pivotal one. Sure, she might be failing in all that she tried for, but kudos to he strength in putting aside all her personal issues to deal with larger things. Pretty amazing girl.

    Ryuunosuke certainly has changed greatly too, to the extent of calling Former Freeloader for help and even thanking her! They might not appear much together, but the pairing is certainly very entertaining and hopefully something actually comes out of it, somehow. 😀

    And Sorata…So very awesome. No moping, no hesitating this time. With the very thought that Mashiro could be gone for good, the man in him took action quickly and swiftly. Yet he was so very human, evident in the confession of how he felt towards Mashiro. The envy, the frustration…yet also the excitement, the adventure and the love, which all came in consistent with how he has acted throughout the series.

    On a sidenote, I like how his thoughts as he was running towards the train station were a stark contrast to those in the very first episode despite having almost the same dialogue. We see a Sorata with greater energy, enthusiasm and energy as compared to when he first started out, and who changed him? Mashiro did, simply by appearing in his life.

    On the whole, it’s really a great episode that highlights most of the themes of the show very well. you stumble, you fail, you get angry and make mistakes, say things you shouldn’t…But you get up, you try again, you think things out and rectify mistakes, then say what you really feel. That’s youth for ya. 🙂

    1. Life is a series of failures, of hundreds of mistakes leading eventually towards wisdom. This series has always been great at exploring failure like few stories I’ve read have.

      And thank you for your compliment. Now I’ll blow your mind – if you liked the Permission To Believe section, then you praised marketing : ) Not in that I was trying to sell you anything, but that the central tenants of marketing – or at least, the marketing I subscribe to – have to do with taking risks, being honest, and giving yourself permission to fail so that you might achieve your dreams.

      Crazy, ne? ^^

      (Sorry for the tangent there. It’s just that, if there’s anything I love more than writing and anime, it’s…well, nothing! Though my chosen profession (and beer) are close behind :D)

      1. That, sir, is absolutely the best kind of marketing one can ever get, especially around here (and probably all over the world) where failure is inertly not an option. No regrets at falling for that kind of marketing. 😀

        Perhaps that’s why the process of the characters going through their ups and downs, successes and failures, joys and heartbreaks resonated so deeply with many of us – It just applies to all, regardless of the different situations we go through.

        Keep writing Stilts! 🙂

  11. It was to be expected since episode 1, the (childhood) friend is always the third wheel in these kind of shows. It’s sad that they don’t provide an alternative ending like Amagami SS for example.

  12. Man…. It’s a bloody wonderful thing how different folks can enjoy vastly different things; what one man sees as manure, another sees pure gold and vise versa. There is no use being enraged at “good show!”, “best episode ever!” comments, just because you or I (or anyone else) happens to not share that sentiments. Ditto for the opposite, “this sucks”, “worst episode ever”, etc comments.

    That said, for me, there is nothing like this show, Sakurasou, recently. Who knew that I -back in 1-15 ep, especially pre 9 or 10 ep- would come to despise this thing with such raging contempt, LOL!! I can’t even watch 20 continuous seconds of the past 4-5 episodes (i.e. 17-22 ep) without getting seriously resenting on having to watch this thing coming off the screen, into my pupils with the most wicked, vile ferocity, ahhaha~! It’s a darndest thing, I tell ya. It’s almost automatic now: do I want to get angry, for no apparent reason at all? Why, I tune in Sakurasou for 20 seconds~~! 😛 One can only laugh at such ludicrous prospect, yet it’s true. I had tried to blow through offending parts, in a vain hope that my personal shit storm will pass, but no. It’s quite a marvelous thing, there I was, just minding my own business under a clear winter sky, merrily clicking the play button, 20 sec later, BAM! I AM piseed off~~! he he he

    Come to think, this must have been some sort of a delay reaction to what is fundamentally a wrong show for me. And since I had invested so much already, only to realize, well, to be filled with vivid understanding that the show I was watching had been gradually changing on me while I mightily fought and soldiered on until I could endure no longer; this development only makes sense “only if” I had a wrong impression of what this show was about and indeed I had mistaken what type of a show this was. This is a through-and-through generic romcom type show that didn’t agree with me at all and gave me quite violet tummy ache on mind, a mental diarrhea if you will. 😛 Not all formulaic, pseudo-angst filled shows disagree with me, mind and soul, just like not all off-kilter shows agree with me. Ahem, FLCL, Sasami-san@Ganbaranai, ahem. Perhaps, had I not invested so much and cared, I probably wouldn’t be as enraged at all the missed potentials, what couldas, shouldas, in my view, but OY~~.

    It is what it is, my friends~! That sort of rueful sentiment is nothing new anyway, people still enjoy regardless and haters will float away eventually. I had briefly considered revisiting in the end to check on Mashiro, Rei Ayanami Expy 43, but alas, I’m afraid that the show is completely ruined for me and I no longer care about that character or anything; the joy has been completely sucked out and left me completely bone-dry when it comes to this show by its incredible formulaic nature, a disagreeable kind to this particular viewer (Why bother writing all this, you might ask? Gosh darn it, because I used to care about this show, that’s why! Good day!! :P)

    1. I’m not going to criticise you for expressing your honest opinion, but I can’t really see how you could call this show formulaic. It’s only “formulaic”, if at all, at a very superficial level. It may appear to be a love triangle at first sight, but really as soon as you read the title you know who is going to “win”. It’s actually a parallel love story of several couples (and I include Nanami in that, because I’m sure there’s a story to be told one day of her and the boy who confessed to her), and the complex interactions between them as the couples develop. It’s also about hard work vs sheer talent, and how unfair the world can appear to be sometimes (and how the people without talent tend to ignore all the hard work that the talented people have to put in, too). And above all, it’s about Mashiro’s journey from the cloistered environment of the atelier to the emotional rough-and-tumble of the outside world, which was beatifully symbolised in this episode by her journey across the bridge from the platform with the train that threatened to take her away to the platform Sorata was on.

      And is Mashiro a Rei Ayanami expy? No, not at all. Again, she might appear to be at a superficial level, but really they are very different. If perhaps you had watched more than 20 seconds each of the recent episodes, you would have seen that 😛

      1. It’s formulaic in that there isn’t any way for Mashiro to “lose” – at no point in this series did I truly feel Mashiro lost at anything, which compounded with the shallowness of character, mars the series completely. I mean, for those that say that Mashiro is many times the character she was at the start – you’re right. But when I saw her at episode one, her personality was hovering a hairs width above zero, so even if she took 1 tiny step forward, that could still be considered massive progress.

        Really, at the end of the day, you can go back to all the posts made on the series by not just myself, but other posters. Not just this episode, but look back at the other episodes as well. People post about what an ass Sorata is sometimes, wtf is going on with Jin and Misaki, Nanami’s trials, Dragon and Rita, but when it comes to Mashiro, what really do people have to say? “She won again”? “She’s made progress”? “She is showing some emotion”? The character itself just doesn’t have a lot going for it compared to the rest of the cast, which is why I’d stand by my initial post that the series itself would have been far better, and less “formulaic” as has been stated, if she was simply left out altogether.

        Lastly, as a pre-emptive response to anything related to Stilt’s ‘permission’ part of his post – I honestly don’t think Sorata as a character – really, all of them as characters – would have been that much different without Mashiro. Perhaps it would have taken Sorata longer to find his dream, but really? Watching Nanami chase after her voice acting dream (which she was doing before Mashiro even came to Sakurasou), or Jin trying to become a better man for Misaki wouldn’t have pushed Sorata forward? This is probably the most problematic part of having this particular main character. Relationship drama aside, she’s used as a convenient ‘Mary Plothook’ to push the story forward and brute force a character change in Sorata, when it could have been done just as well, and very likely better, without her.

    2. As you said. You are entitled to your own opinion on the show. I disagree on a couple of points, but thumbs up on your quite courteous and diplomatic way in reviewing (that is, you did more than people who just post profanity and leave). By the way. Do you have your own blog? I would want to read your opinion on what you feel is a good show.

      1. Jacques, no. No blog for me, sir/madam~~. I leave that sort things to more professional minded folks (and a load of discipline to not stray, to publish week after week regardless of wavering motivation, state of mind, etc and genuine care for what others will think of the shows you cover and your word on them) like Stilts, Enzo, Zephyr, etc.

        And I don’t post often, but I think I’ve commented in the past: to me, the excellent shows that are currently running are uchuu kyoudai and shin sekai yori -and probably slightly lesser degree, but still great, Zetsuen no Tempest. Haven’t really tried hunter x hunter even though I keep hearing it’s great -it’s still a case where the kiddie-show appearance kept me away and probably will for the foreseeable future. I’m sure Chihayafuru is great if you’re into romantic shoujo/josei, but this particular one I never took into since I really hated the card-flipping/old geezer voice poem reading thing (yeah I know it’s a tradition thing, but I’ve never been to care for that sort of things, ahhaha!) and since that is like the main thing of the show, it never agreed with me. But I always felt the show looked good enough and if you or anyone can get past that, it could be a good one (a bit formulaic, yes, but if it is romantic shoujo/josei, it’s almost assumed that it is…besides one can even argue that all and any show is formulaic to a certain degree. This I can articulate further, but that’s for another time). There are a few other shows, maybe 3-4, I do watch, but they are either acquired taste or shows with flaws that they are nothing to boast about.

        Angelus, as always, all I can say is that we can agree to disagree since the nature of the argument has become rather subjective. I would have thought that “formulaic” would be more universally understood, but I suppose “unsavorily formulaic” could be interpreted so vastly differently among different folks, oh well. That’s the beauty of it, ha ha! I submit to you that you’re perhaps choosing to ignore the glaringly awful side and rather focusing on what you view as the good side, as we all tend to do. If it pleases you and what’s the problem, eh? I don’t see any, it’s just a bloody show, ain’t it? And I am sure you can just as say that I am digging up and zeroing on the barely-there bad side (superficial, in your word) and looking past the obvious good stuff. To me, this show for the past 5 episodes or so have been so disturbingly, diabolically formulaic to its fullest in its execution on plots, character dialogs, relationships, emotions, movements, pretty much everything there is to it in every minute there is that I’m quite bothered and want no part of it, LOL! Oh it’s a long time coming, it has slowly built up for this, little by little and now it’s full fledging~~. But enough that, like I said, enjoy the show! I’ve never lashed out and had much problems with other viewers enjoying the shows with their own time in their own place -well except for few brief occasions of extreme mob mentality displayed by SAO fanboys in the past… good ol’ time~! My enemies, my targets have always been the shows themselves and the studios/writers behind them (and not the viewers nor the bloggers) if they irk me enough to write. Cheers.

  13. As I mentioned last week, most people knew this was going to happen – that Mashiro was going to win in the end. Very disappointing, not so much that Nanami didn’t win, but that all it apparently takes for Mashiro to win everyone over is to show enough emotion that we don’t mistaken her for a machine. This series really could have been something special, but instead it’s still relegated to the “Yeah, I guess I could watch it” series. Can’t be helped, I suppose.

    1. Guess we prioritise different things then. From a certain point of view that focuses on comparison, though, I guess you have a point. Perhaps what the anime could not show in terms of the emotions underneath could be shown even better in novel form, by which the portrayal of Mashiro might perhaps be a little better or easier for you to appreciate. 🙂

    1. Agreed! It’s no surprise that Kayano Ai won RandomC’s Best Female Seiyuu award last year, and Matsuoka Yoshitsugu is gunning for the male award this year (at least if I have anything to say about it!)

  14. This is one of the best, if not THE best, post I’ve ever read in randomc. You have said all that is to be said about the episode and express all there is to express, at least for me.

    So I’ll just add only one more thing. Any episode with Rita in it is always a plus! I still don’t know why I like her character this much. Maybe it’s about to can relate to her a lot. And yeah, while I was really hoping for her to show up, I didn’t expect for her to show up at all in that scene.

    1. I must admit, I’m surprised. I thought this post was pretty good when I hit submit, but it’s getting better reviews than I expected. Which just goes to show you that even the writer themselves doesn’t often know what will resonate. So that means there’s only one path to great writing – write a lot.

      Ya hear that, Sorata!? Create frequently! That’s the only way you can be sure to strike gold eventually. Mashiro and Misaki know that, so get on it!!

  15. The irony when Aoyama failed her audition but her seiyuus voice acting was within my top 3 for the show (this episode when she “confessed” especially). Can we have an alternate ending please even if its just an short OVA or something 🙁

    1. I’d like to see that, but I’m not exactly sure how you get to a satisfying conclusion with a NanamixSorata match. The way Sorata pursued Shiina in this episode makes it incredibly difficult for me to imagine Nanami finding a way to truly confess, even if Shiina leaves, especially with how dense Sorata seems to act whenever Nanami and find themselves in these love situations. If they could pull it off, it would be legendary.

    2. I’m still not entirely convinced that Nanami’s dream of becoming a seiyuu is completely dead. If nothing else, a certain anime creator and a certain game designer both have seen exactly how good she could be during Nyaboron, ne? Ufufu~

  16. Anime series including romances are like a wartime convoy. After a long and hazardous journey, some ships have sunk, some arrived at destination, and sometimes new ones were cobbled down from a wreckage.
    As the Sakurasou story ends, I must say for best ship I vote Nanami X Mashiro – and not in the yuri way (though YMMV), but in a way of a lifelong friendship that was formed. I can imagine them keeping in touch and helping each other until the old age!
    Last but not least, nice catch, Dragontamer Rita! Dragons are scaredycats are famously hard to domesticate, but you have the perseverance to get this one!

  17. When I see Nanami didn’t cry despite her broken heart, I cried in her place because I felt so sad for her. Uh well, I guess Sorata didn’t deserve to be with Nanami. I hope she will find someone better than Sorata.

    Thx for the timely post and your wonderful impression as always Stilts.

  18. What I love about this romcom is the b-couples. I love how people’s attention is not focused on the one (or maybe two) main characters (okay, granted that most romcoms I watched are harems). In these shows, everybody have their own persons of interests. (the only other anime I watched that is like this is Honey and Clover, again, I haven’t watched much). This show is not without its shortcomings, but none is too annoying, i can chant the MST3K mantra at most of them and then I won’t be upset. (I’m still upset about Chihiro’s lack of screen time though)

  19. I honestly don’t get it. I truly don’t. You have two great themes in “Talent vs Hard Work” and “Standing in the shadow of a genius,” and they should have been complementary themes. What’s the whole point of a love triangle, then? Heck, a love triangle shouldn’t have been troublesome to the story, but what frustrates me to no end is the fact that they made the two ends of the triangle the embodiment of these themes. Nanami was the spokesgirl for working hard towards the dream you’re passionate about and Shiina was the embodiment of the genius that casts a huge shadow. The moment the writers did this, they trapped themselves in a corner unable to adequately conclude both themes. That’s just sad. I felt at the start Nanami was just an annoying throw in to make a love triangle. At this point, I’m still annoyed because that’s how it just turned out. Nanami carried the torch of the hard worker, but she fails. She doesn’t become a seiyuu and she has to go away and change her entire future, which makes staying in contact with the rest of Sakurasou difficult. She doesn’t even get a guy. Sorata gets a significant other, Jin and Misaki get together, and Dragon gets a girl against his own will. The hard worker fails, and Sorata even sort of admitted it, even though he still loves Shiina. And Nanami? She gets to give Sorata a pathetic “Thanks for the time we spent together.”

    Seems needless.

    What infuriates me more is that they spent all this time building everything up. Nanami was built up for practically the entire second half of the anime, just to get crushed in the end. Shiina stood on the sidelines with minimum character development (a couple scenes here and there, and a little character development at the end of episode 17 when Sorata spends most of the episode helping Nanami out). and at one point was relegated to just a plot device (kick starting the “Sakurasou Demolition arc.” as well as being the standard of measure Sorata compares himself to). All she needed was one episode to resolve everything. She never even loses once through the entire story. Sure she feels defeat and feels guilt, but it’s not her fault. It never was her fault at any point. I kind of want to call her a Mary Sue, but I can’t obviously.

    They could have done much better just axing Nanami out entirely, or just relegate her to just a friend and nothing more so they can resolve the major themes in a satisfying way.

    At least they got one thing right, and that was affirming what Ryuunosuke stated about the friendship that the Sakurasou members share. If it was just a crummy old building that their friendship was reliant upon, then it was no friendship at all. At least Sorata comes to the right conclusion- Sakurasou isn’t the dormitory, but the deep friendship they all hold. Though the house may fall, the bonds of their friendship will never break.

    As for “Permission,” I think “Gave him the will to” is a better term, IMHO. And even at that, I fully admit that Shiina did give him the will to be ambitious work hard, and pursue a drem, but to say Nanami also didn’t do this is for Sorata is inaccurate. On multiple occasions, I can think of 3 times, where Nanami’s work ethic was became a huge inspiration for Sorata. In other words, Shiina was the inventor of Sorata’s will, but Nanami was the innovator, the person Sorata worked side-by-side with to pursue their dreams and someone to help when she stumbled, and then Shiina came back in big ways to innovate as well in brief sporadic intervals, seemingly when Sorata always stumbled….

    As for the conclusion of this episode, I don’t think the Shiina end could have been orchestrated any way better, so props to the writers. Sorata realizes that you don’t stand in the shadow of a genius, but you walk up and put your arm around their shoulders and befriend them.

    I seriously need to stop watching love triangles… I always get burned….

    1. I used the word permission quite deliberately. It’s not that Sorata didn’t have the will – if it wasn’t there, then seeing Mashiro would have done nothing for him. He would have said “Wow, she’s pretty good,” and that would have been the end of it! Sorata already had the will to create, and the desire as well, he just hadn’t given himself permission to pursue it. To do so would be silly, irresponsible, “not realistic”…but also energizing, and makes him truly happy. That’s what Mashiro gave him.

      This is totally different from what Nanami did. Nanami’s persistence helped Sorata power through the Dip, the rough part where most people stall out and quit trying. Though then again, while her effort was inspiring, so was that of everyone else in Sakurasou, so I doubt Sorata would have stalled out either way.

      Oh, and you misused the term innovation. Neither Mashiro nor Nanami created anything in Sorata – all the feelings within him are his and his alone. They both simply provided examples that inspired him, to a greater or lesser degree.

      1. Heh… I think we are arguing over synonyms. Remember in the beginning? Sorata wanted out of Sakurasou. He was bored. But then he admitted to himself that his boredom wasn’t really boredom, it was because he was acting normal like the rest of his peers. He didn’t want excitement or adventure. He had that dealing with his crazy family, and that’s why he went far away to Suime. He could just run through the motions, get a normal degree, get a normal and safe job, and live a normal and safe life. Having to move into Sakurasou was a severe set back. The arrival of Shiina and subsequently Mashiro-Duty only served to accelerate his desire to get out of there ASAP and resume normal life. Oh sure, he loved video games and wanted to get involved in that field, but to him it was nothing more than an ambition that only a super talented individual could ever hope pull off. He felt it wasn’t worth trying because he didn’t think any effort he’d give would amount to anything.

        Of course, Shiina changes things. He thinks he’s taking care of some total incompetent dependent. Then he discovers she’s a world renowned artist as well as a persistent, hard, and passionate worker who chases down her goal without relent. He couldn’t ridicule her for being a loony who was in over her head. She challenged Sorata and turned the tables on him. It was him who had to answer the question of what the heck is he doing with himself, not her.

        Sorata realizes that he was lacking ambition (the key word in this arc). He wanted to stay safe. He didn’t want to be bold. He lacked the desire to be adventurous. He didn’t want to allow himself to explore. He wanted to get out of Sakurasou before they inspired him to reach to their level and risk crashing and burning in an epic failure. But he became inspired by Shiina’s hard work and to strive for his own success, which was something he didn’t want to think about (and something he tried to project onto Shiina just to criticize her for). That’s what he lacked- ambition and inspiration. Suggesting he needed to permit himself to go into video game, at least to me, suggests he had everything set up and just needed to give himself the green light to succeed. I don’t think that was the case. To him, the VG industry wasn’t a realistic option. I think the providence of inspiration (fittings, since the arts are a focus of this anime) best serves what we’re both looking for. But then again, our original words chosen work just fine too.

        To use a better analogy, it was Shiina who lit the fire of inspiration and ambition in Sorata to work towards a great goal in life, something he previously put off and labeled as pointless. He was inspired to try, and became ambitious and bold to attempt to pursue his dream of becoming a VG programmer.

        But I contend that Nanami played an important role in stoking and keeping that fire burning, moreso than Jin and Misaki. The way he put himself aside to help Nanami when she needed it and vice versa was something he never really did for Jin and Misaki. In fact that was something I saw in the Tomoya/Nagisa relationship. That is something I admired in Sorata x Nanami.

        People forget that Nanami was the first girl. Before Shiina, Sorata was already vocally admiring Nanami’s guts to fund her own way towards becoming a seiyuu. Eventually, Nanami would have returned the serve and ask if Sorata even had any ambition he wanted to follow, considering how much he admired everyone else’s hard work.

        To be honest… After re-watching the first few episodes of Sakurasou, I’ve come to the conclusion that Nanami and Shiina are twins. Twins in the sense that they both serve the same purpose. They both have a goal. They both pursue their goal relentlessly. They both serve as major inspirations to Sorata. Of course, even twins aren’t 100% identical. Shiina has talent and financing to muscle her way to victory. Nanami has to fend for herself. But the basic concept behind the two are identical. I wonder if Nanami would have won had we been saying the same thing about Shiina in our eulogies to Nanami. I guess chalk it up to life not being fair. It really came down to who challenged Sorata first, and Shiina won in that regards.

      2. I’d like to clarify and condense my statements, because I felt I didn’t do a good job expressing myself.

        I don’t think you’re wrong, Stilts. I just think there is a better answer. When you use “give himself permission,” It seems to posit that he doesn’t have a choice, because permission is an allowance to do something he previously wasn’t authorized to do. I disagree.

        I resonate with “Pre-Episode 5 and beyond” Sorata. I have a bunch of things I want to do. I’m in the same stage of life as Sorata is in where I need to pick a career path. But I choose, and struggle against that choice, not to pursue a dream. I’m too comfortable with what I have now- laziness, going through the motions, just enough effort to get by. There’s no hard work and subsequently grief and failure in that. That’s what I choose (And I despise myself for that, because I’m addicted to that lifestyle). Likewise, Sorata wasn’t denying himself the freedom to choose the gaming industry, he chose the easy way out- normalcy. Get through HS and College on just enough effort, get a safe job, live a safe life free from conflict and failure. He wanted to be a VG programmer/designer. He chose not to because he felt it wasn’t worth the hassle and guaranteed failure that he, who had put no effort into understanding game making nor possessed the innate talent in technology to make up for his lost time.

        To those who are blessed to live in countries where this freedom is given, we have the freedom to choose how our lives will progress. Our life is the sum of choices made and their consequences. Nobody is restricting that choice.

        I don’t think what Sorata needed was permission, but someone to show the erroneous thinking behind his choice not to try on the basis that he couldn’t do it. Shiina showed him that even a genius can adventure into a new endeavor and meet trials along the way. She tore down his reasoning to choose not to try by showing him you’re going to probably fail, so you might as well try and shoot the moon in the process. And thus, he was inspired and realized he had no sound reasoning not to be ambitious.

      3. In which case my friend, I can only say that you should be paying attention to what Sakurasou (and you yourself) is saying a little more. I’ve done the normal thing, and it was boooring. Better to be weird. Better to try, even if you fail. Life is too wonderfully varied to do anything else…at least if you want to reach the end of the whole shebang without regret.

  20. Wow, this really was one of the best episodes in the second half. Everything just clicked right, and you could really see how the characters have developed since the very beginning. I’m hoping it ends well too, as the show has two episodes left – and there are no real big developments to be made anymore (only a conflict to be resolved) because the characters already pretty much said everything this ep.

    Nanami losing was expected – Mashiro was the first girl that caught Sorata’s eye and the first girl tends to win, after all. Still, I salute her for swallowing any negative feelings and realizing she’s lost – kind of in the same way as Ami from Toradora, really. Not to mention that she was awesome when she was chastising Mashiro, Kansai-ben, ahoy!

    You could see Mashiro’s change as well this arc – as Chihiro said, she never used to care much for anything besides her art and was relatively unemotional, yet now she’s very much aware of the people around her and shows outbursts of raw emotion. As far as the archetype goes, I quite like Mashiro, to be honest. She’s quite funny too, as she’s got a pretty dry wit (and her strong hug this ep was hilarious too). Don’t really mind her winning either.

    Also, the return of Rita! Yaaay~ Heh, for some reason the Rita X Ryuunosuke ship is still my favourite in the show, so with her here, I’m hoping we’ll get some resolution out of it before the show ends.

  21. I love how Chihiro-sensei slapped Fujisawa. That burst of emotion she had for not only the people she’s looking after but towards Fujisawa as well made it awesome

  22. One thing that I felt confused was that Shiina felt the need to apologize to Aoyama. Can someone explain to me what conflict they got into? I can’t really grasp why Shiina would think it’s her fault for Nanami failing…

    1. ATM she was overencumbered by guilt, thinking her abilities pissed everybody off, particularly Sorata and Nanami who had experienced failure the day before. She saw Nanami’s breakdown,and then Sorata’s frustration that somebody just always get what they want while the “lesser beings” will always fail. So I guess she thinks that it’s not only Sorata who hated her…talent, but also Nanami.

  23. My favorite moment was when Chihiro-sensei smacked Fujisawa for “messing with [her] kids” and then told him that he doesn’t need to intervene with the demolition since she knows that they can do it. Ahhhh… that heartwarming faith and love is sometimes what we all need to get through crap like this in life. +1 Chihiro-sensei! 😀

    1. Agreed! I didn’t get to speak on Chihiro-sensei enough in my post, but while I think she has been sorely underutilized, she is a fantastic character when she gets in on the fun. Go go, Chihiro-sensei!

  24. Many will say that Sorata loving Mashiro is unfair. Why must the hardworking Nanami lose out to the natural prodigy Mashiro, who always seems to get everything she wants? I will avoid mentioning how much effort Mashiro has put in, both in her work and in pursuing Sorata, as haphazard as the latter has been. Instead, focus on only one thing – Sorata’s feelings. If we’re talking about who Sorata loves, that’s only fair, right? In fact, not a whole lot else matters. Though any of us might think his choice is wrong, it only matters who he loves. So, why Mashiro?

    It comes down to what caused his eye to turn towards her first, and in fact, it’s similar to what turned Nanami’s eye towards Sorata. For Nanami, what she most needed was someone to help her through the dip, the slog, through the hard times as she tried to reach her goal. That’s because she already had her dream, and was working actively towards it. But while Sorata eventually benefited from this as well – and he said as much to Nanami this episode – that’s not what he needed most of all.

    Or you could argue that this outcome is indeed the fair outcome. I’ve said this here many times, and I’ll say it again; most geniuses like Mashiro pay a great price for their superior abilities; the price of genius is to stand apart from the rest of humanity, in place where most will never be able to understand or accept you. They will turn to you for your abilities, but almost never for who you truly are- because they cannot see it; most are either incapable or unwilling to take the extra effort that is requisite to understanding a genius. And if you take the proactive stance and try to open up to them yourself, your peculiarities end up driving them away- and so the genius is forced to live a lie, lest she be cast out from society.

    Sure, the genius is given a guarantee of great success in his/her field of work- but is that really what matters in life? I don’t think that after watching this show anyone here can say with a straight face that career success matters more than the little things; that fame or fortune somehow matters more than having someone who can love, understand, accept and appreciate you for who you truly are. And it takes a special kind of person to love a genius, especially one with Mashiro’s emotional deficiencies. The old adage “Money/success doesn’t buy happiness” still holds true.

    Before we go on I must distinguish the concepts of “love” from “admiration” as they are applied here. A genius will be admired by many but loved by few. Admiration occurs when you are drawn to a person because of their talents, you are interested in their abilities, but you aren’t interested in who she actually is as a person- admiration is superficial. Love on the other hand is when you are actually interested in a person for who they are- talent may be an aspect of this, but it is minor, and far superseded by personality components.

    Clearly what brings true happiness to people in life is not superficial admiration, but love which comes from the heart. And geniuses are hard-pressed to find love outside of their immediate family- because their abilities overshadow their persona, blinding most men with awe and jealousy, ensnaring them in the mire of admiration, rendering them forever unable to see the person, the human being behind the genius. And when the genius attempts to reveal her person, the peculiarities of her nature drive others away- which is especially true for Mashiro with her emotional deficiencies.

    It takes a special kind of person to love a genius, especially one with special needs like Mashiro- one who is willing to take the extra effort to look past the talent and see her as she truly is- not the patron goddess of some realm of knowledge/art, but a human being with the same basic emotional needs as the rest of us. Attempting to do so, however, is an emotional roller-coaster. Anyone who attempts it must deal with their own inferiority complexes and the many peculiarities of the genius’ nature- few are willing to put themselves through that kind of emotional hell simply to understand someone. Only to the rare bleeding heart, a breed of person so uncommon that he might be considered to be a kind of “genius” in his own right, who places human relationships above all else, do the benefits of doing so outweigh the costs- and Sorata is one of these people.

    If Sorata chose Nanami and cast Mashiro aside, then it is very likely that Mashiro would be precluded from ever finding true love, especially with her shut-in lifestyle, given that people like Sorata are as rare as Mashiro herself. Forever would she be doomed to being surrounded by admirers who only care about her talents, and not who she is or what she needs as a person- and perhaps face the pain of rejection that comes from becoming romantically involved with someone who doesn’t care about/can’t understand you as a person- not once but many times over.

    It is hard to love a person like Mashiro; he/she will draw much admiration, but little love. People like her would be lucky to find even a handful of true friends over the course of their entire lives, let alone a soulmate to share it with. So isn’t it only fair that she gets to keep the only man who has ever cared enough to try to look beyond the shroud of her genius and understand her as the human being that she truly is?

    Nanami is a hard worker, and that certainly counts for something- but giving Sorata to Nanami would probably preclude Mashiro from ever finding true love in her life- whereas Nanami, who is the epitome of “normal” will be loved by many wherever she goes; her compatible soulmates are legion and finding someone to share her life with is comparatively easy- how Nanami-shippers vastly outnumber Mashiro ones to an alarming degree is evidence to this fact.

    For all that hard work may be worth, does it really outweigh the injustice of the fact that giving Sorata to Nanami would, more likely than not, forever doom Mashiro to the cruel fate of being unable to find true love, and therefore preclude her from living a happy life, bearing in mind that the little things far overshadow career success and whatnot in bringing us happiness?

    Maybe to you it does. Maybe you believe that she who puts in the effort should be rewarded, even if it is at a great and dire cost to another. Or maybe you believe that Mashiro’s overwhelming guarantee of career success by virtue of being a genius far outweighs the little things in the happiness equation (An unconventional belief, to be certain, but not as rare as you might think)- and that Mashiro will have more than her fair share of happiness in life even without Sorata beside her. Yet even if you believe these things, consider how your favored outcome could be interpreted as being reprehensibly cruel, that you would knowingly and willingly doom a human being to a life of solitude when she has done nothing to deserve it- and in seeing this perhaps reconsider your beliefs…because as cruel as it may be to devalue someone’s hard work and give her nothing but pain and disappointment for her effort, her remedy should not come at the cost of the destruction of another’s entire life- if an evil is done to Nanami by giving Sorata to Mashiro, it is nonetheless by far the lesser of two evils- we cannot and should not destroy the life of an innocent merely so that the efforts of another are rewarded…

    1. When it comes to love, i am not about who i think deserves to win; i am more focused on who has the best chemistry with one another; whose interactions feel the most natural and heartwarming, and whose interactions feel like they are composed of what is true genuine love. Like Stilts said, there is just something uplifting about watching romance shows such as this, because we dont see, pure and raw emotions like this in real life, so much so that even though we are aware that the show we are watching is fiction, we cant help but feel a sense of connection and reality to them. Personally, this is why i love watching romance in anime; they are so sweet and heartwarming that they make you take an extra good look at yourself and life and appreciate the good stuff as well as make you forget about all the horrible crap that goes on in world. It makes you wish that love was this genuine and special all the time; and while i would have rather had Nanami win Sorata’s heart in regards to what i feel makes a good couple, like Zen said, there is some fairness to Mashiro having stolen Sorata’s heart; she is everything he needs and she is what he needs to be a better man. As disheartening as it is to see my first choice lose out to Mashiro, I am ok with that because in many ways, Sorata and Mashiro complete each other as well.

    2. My problem is will Sorata be able to deal with Mashiro’s greatness over the long haul. Think of it years down the road. Nanami is now an Office Lady somewhere. Sorata is a salarayman at some game maker, If he fails (which is most likely) would he really be able to deal with it? Mashiro having accomplished everything she wants to in manga is now focused on some new project to the exclusion of everything else. Maybe even starting to resent Sorata’s nagging about being ignored. Could he accept that over time? He showed how jealous he could be even now. This seems to me to be a likely outcome of MashiroxSorata.

      If Sorata and Nanami had become a couple they may have had a comfortable life, a family and happiness supporting each other. Mashiro, having gained much needed experience with life having lived at Sakurasou, goes on to even greater fame as an artist. All of them would have gained by it.

      1. Maybe Sorata will become a world famous game producer instead?

        While you make good points aren’t you exaggerating a little.
        Another thing, besides people like Sorata there are people who ignore things like the general social opinion,career success,fame,etc. and if such a person has no interest in art he would see Mashiro as a normal person.

      2. But Sorata is not ordinary- this is what many people fail to realize. He may not have any hard talents per se, but he is a prodigy in terms of his soft talents- he is a bleeding heart with superb people skills and a sincere, inherent undying love for all life- and therein is where his extraordinary strength lies. The corporate world is the perfect place for Sorata, in fact I would contend that he needs to fail at his game so that he can go work as a salaryman/developer at some megacorporation where his true talents will be allowed to shine. Believe me when I say that in a high-powered corporate team filled with prodigious talents and big egos, things turn nasty really quickly without a team leader with the requisite people skills to diffuse things, and the deep, sincere love for all of humanity which allows him to put up with all that bullsh*t day in and day out without batting an eye- which fits Sorata’s profile perfectly.

        In any case, the crew at Sakurasou sounds just like the aforementioned corporate team- a group of prodigious talents with presumably mega-inflated egos (Or perhaps more like emotional issues). All Sorata needs to to is to whip (softly) this group of talented misfits into shape (And I have established that he is an extraordinary individual who is perfectly capable of doing so) for some collaborative project and success in any endeavor would virtually be guaranteed. Hmm, sounds like a potential ending prediction…

      3. @Anonymous

        While you make good points aren’t you exaggerating a little.
        Another thing, besides people like Sorata there are people who ignore things like the general social opinion,career success,fame,etc. and if such a person has no interest in art he would see Mashiro as a normal person.

        I don’t think not caring about the art world in of itself would necessarily preclude any jealousy/awe of Mashiro’s success in general, however, there certainly are people who care little about success/social opinion; these people are exceedingly rare- in spite of the fact that literally everyone claims to be one, few if any pass muster. And even among these, those who lack a bleeding heart’s love for humanity will almost always shun a genius, especially one like Mashiro.

        Think about it. You are a person who cares next to nothing about the opinions of society and/or success. And then you see this solitary, non-expressive girl who sits in the corner concentrating all her effort on her drawings all the time- she dedicates all her time to honing her talents and is exceedingly successful at what she does; she appears to focus on her work with little concern or need for human interactions. What would be your impressions of this person according to your superficial observations, in the absence of the closer scrutiny that only occurs in the presence of special conditions such as the possession of a bleeding heart? Quite obviously, your impressions of this person would almost certainly be overwhelmingly negative- a highly successful workaholic who shuns human interaction? Why, she must be the very antithesis of what you are! A highly conscientious, stuck up snob who revels in her success and has no time for “lesser beings.” And so you shun what appears to be a disgusting, stuck up workaholic.

        It is worth noting that these misguided default impressions are not due to any prejudice, but occur because this is indeed the case when ordinary people exhibit this kind of behavior- people interpret Mashiro’s behavior to mean this because this is what they are used to seeing, they are employing a fallacious (but entirely sensible and resource-conserving) logical shortcut which says that because most people who do X are Y, all people who do X are Y. But in reality, humans can exhibit similar behavioral patterns for completely different reasons; ordinary anti-social workaholics act as they do because of their reprehensible greater-than-thou attitudes, while geniuses like Mashiro do so through no fault of their own- because their brains are literally structured to be exceedingly talented and focused on one specific thing (Art, math, music etc.)- of course, coming to true, emotional realization and acceptance of this fact is an exceedingly difficult, time/resource intensive thing to do, and without the patience to do so, you simply pass her over as a potential friend in accordance with your initial impressions, whether you care about success/social opinions or not- unless you happen to be a bleeding heart with overwhelming love and compassion for all of humanity (Or if you are another strange person who can easily identify with Mashiro personally)…both of which are very rare…

      4. Personally I believe people like that aren’t that rare but it’s pointless to argue that because unless either of us have met and intimately understood a larger part of the human population we can’t really say anything with certainty.But my initial point wasn’t that they would necessarily make good partners for Mashiro but that she wouldn’t be as lonely because in a realistic sense the world is much more diverse place(not to mention the differences of geniuses is exaggerated in this show) and there’s bound to be people who will be friends with her.

        By the way, you make a excellent point on the third paragraph and I agree it’s unfair but it’s most likely something people do subconsciously in order to save time and energy – think about it, when a person travels in a train for the first time the brain records the requisites of being a train and it’s attributes but they’re not going to keep doing the same thing every time they travel in a train, that would be a waste of time, but that in turn tends to turn a blind eye to the fact that the train’s attributes can be different despite meeting the requisites for it(or like you said meets the prerequisites of judging such a person but he/she is like that for entirely different reasons).But it’s probably best if people didn’t use this kind of thing when dealing with other human beings.

      5. @ Zen

        I didn’t think about it that way when I wrote my post, but it’s a great point – Mashiro is liable to have far fewer shots at love than Nanami, so it is probably the BEST END (in a utilitarian sense) for Mashiro to win. Of course, you make assumptions there – that this is Mashiro’s only real good shot at love, for one – but they’re ones I’m reasonably comfortable agreeing with. As you said, Nanami at least will have plenty more chances at love, if her shippers are any indication.

        @ Bear

        So it would be easier to be with Nanami, even if being with Mashiro drives Sorata to be a better person? If nothing else, I haven’t heard of a better reason for Mashiro winning than that.

        Don’t settle. Even if it’s harder, reach for greatness. I think Nanami would agree with that, ne?

        @ Zen (again)

        A random side bar, but your point about people’s assumptions touches on the reason I hate police procedural shows. In those shows, some smart chap or lass goes into a crime scene, looks at everything, and makes all these assumptions about what happened that turn out to be unerringly correct. What happened to the massive variety of human experience? Yes, there might be scuffed fingerprints on the window and dirt on the floor because the murderer snuck in through said window and tracked dirt in from the flower bed. OR, maybe the victim had a potted plant that they put outside to get some rain for a while, and they happened to dump a little dirt on the floor and walk through it beforehand.

        To make assumptions is undeniably human, but to forget that there are exceptions is to fall into fallacy. I have no problem with leaping to conclusions – I can clear a large conclusion in a single bound. We must just not forget that we might be wrong.

      6. @Stilts
        It might make him a better person, but as Jin said earlier it could tear you apart. As Sorata said she’s running so far ahead he can’t even see her. If you’re left in the dust you’re both going to be alone in the long run. Better to have someone to run with than someone to chase after or at least that’s my POV.

      7. Wow… take a couple of days off (just watched the EP) and already a huge discussion…

        @bear: My problem is will Sorata be able to deal with Mashiro’s greatness over the long haul. Think of it years down the road.

        FWIW, I agree with you on this for the most part, though personally I think the issue is still undecided (i.e. Sorata might change/mature or become a success in his own right). People tend to change quite a bit from their high-school days. That being said, as things currently stand… caution is warranted IMO. Regardless of “right” or “wrong” or “who is worthy of who”, simply in terms of compatibility, I find Sorata x Nanami a much better pairing.

        One thing I found a little troubling was that during his “confession”, Sorata never apologized for him blaming Mashiro. He said (paraphrasing) “I think that’s how I really felt” which is fine, BUT I would have liked to see him add “but I had no right to blame you (take my frustrations out on you, etc.)”. That’s my biggest problem with Sorata – he makes mistakes (e.g. taking his frustrations out on Mashiro), yet rarely apologizes for wrongly doing so.

        Perhaps worse, he doesn’t seem to make any attempt to rectify his behavior. Frankly, he seems to be justifying it more than anything else. It’s perfectly fine/normal to feel frustrated/angry/depressed/etc. However, how you act upon those emotions is an entirely different matter. Other than determining his career, I find myself wondering whether Sorata has grown much on a personal level. I can’t say the same for the other characters. JMO, but unless Sorata makes some marked changes in his outlook/personality/temperament, I don’t see Sorata x Mashiro working out in the long run.

        Contrast that with what Nanami does afterwards. She expressly tells Mashiro it’s not her fault. Her success, her failures – everything is hers and hers alone. Mashiro is not responsible for any of it. IDK if it’s intentional or not, but from the way the script is written, Nanami comes across as much more mature (IMO) than Sorata. Mashiro seems to benefit as much from Nanami’s companionship as Sorata’s even though Nanami hasn’t been nearly as involved to the same extent.

      8. @Stilts:

        I understand (at least I think I do :D) your point about Mashiro making Sorata a “better person.” However, I disagree with your choice of words. Rather than “better”, I think “more focused” and/or “inspired” are more accurate. Granted JMO, but I view the term a “better person” as all encompassing (sort of a net sum total). While Mashrio certainly has inspired to Sorata to work hard, figure out his “dream” and pursue it, their relationship has also made him at times bitter, antagonistic and resentful. He even says as much (Rori subs). I don’t recall Sorata displaying such strong negative emotions early in the show. When viewed as a whole, I don’t find Sorata a “better person.” I simply find him more driven… and frankly, less balanced.

        To be clear, you make a good point when you say “Don’t settle. Even if it’s harder, reach for greatness.” Certainly one should try to reach his/her full potential. However, if I understand Bear’s point correctly (if not then, JMO), one shouldn’t look at that in isolation. For example, Ryuu’s hikimori tendencies might make him a better programer, but I’m sure you would agree completely isolating yourself from others in the attempt to achieve greatness isn’t a good strategy (even if effective). Obviously Sorata isn’t in danger of becoming a hikimori, but if his relentless pursuit of perfection greatness ultimately causes him to become bitter and resentful of others and their success – particularly those close to him, would reaching his goal (if he even does) be worth the cost?

    3. @Stilts

      Of course, you make assumptions there – that this is Mashiro’s only real good shot at love, for one – but they’re ones I’m reasonably comfortable agreeing with.

      Yeaahh, I might have taken a few leaps here and there. (Admittedly, mostly for the dramatic effect…XP) It’s probably true that Mashiro would have significantly fewer shots at love over the course of her life compared to Nanami- but to imply that Sorata is her only shot might be stretching things…

      Remember that for me it is always about the argument, and not at all about the positions, were it Nanami who was getting the short end of the stick in the discussions here, I could just as easily form other assumptions and make the scales of utility tip in her favor instead…;)

      To make assumptions is undeniably human, but to forget that there are exceptions is to fall into fallacy.

      Which is why it’s always a good practice to give a person the benefit of doubt, at least at first, before you’ve actually tried to get to know them. Because some people who appear “mean” or “stuck up” aren’t really what they seem at all. Employing over-arching generalizations in evaluating people has always struck me as a tad…heartless…it’s sensible, but still completely insensitive…

      1. Ahaha, I know you’re always in it for the discourse more than anything else, Zen. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to poke holes in your arguments when I get a change though! Nyahaha~ ; )

      2. By all means, keep poking holes! That’s what makes discourse fun…;)

        Sorry, I wrote that more for the benefit of other readers who might not be aware of it- didn’t want folks taking what I said at face value and misconstruing me to be all up on the “Mashiro wins” side or something…

  25. Kudo’s for a great post. Sorata is much like Ryujii from Toradora, he needs to be needed. That’s the one thing that probably prevented him from hooking up with Nanami. He supported her, but she didn’t really need him. I think that “Permission to Believe” is not quite the right term. Mashiro switching from painting to being a mangaka showed him that he had “permission to try” to do what he liked even if it was not something that he had shown talent in. Especially, when he saw that she didn’t get it right the first time. And a lot of the credit has to go to Jin.

    The animation of Mashiro in the station scene was phenomenal. We finally get to see full emotion coming from her (the only other time was the airport). I finally accepted that she actually cared for Sorata, and not just because he took care of her. As for Nanami, yeah she’s too good for this world! Going back to Toradora, she takes the Minorin role in the relationship of the three of them. She did the right thing for all the right reasons (and almost gets crushed to death for it www). That part of the scene with Nanami was even more emotional for me than the part with Sorata.

    Nobody mentioned that Jin and Misaki are up to something at the graduation ceremony. Be afraid, be very afraid. I think there is somehing epic coming knowing those two. And what did Jin give the Former Student Council President?

    1. That did feel so much like Minori’s infirmary scene in Toradora. And even in her moment of giving up, Nanami’s still working hard for Mashiro and Sorata. She could have so easily just checked the convenience store and given up, but she still ran down to the station, and kept helping her other friend Mashiro.

      And all I could think of of when she pulled her punch and didn’t really confess to Sorata was, as Sorata ran away, “Damn, Minori at least got an indirect kiss out of it.”

    2. And what did Jin give the Former Student Council President?

      Maybe the signatures of a majority of 3rd year students or all of them? I would see Jin approaching the demo of Sakurasou more logically compared to the rest of the crew who responded emotionally.

    3. @ Bear

      As I said in my exchange with J_the_Man above, I used the phrase Permission to Believe deliberately. However, your alternate (permission to try) is far closer to my intent. I just feel that “believe” is a stronger, more powerful sentiment, and for the kind of things that Sorata has tried (and is still trying), he needed that to even get started. After all, you can try by just giving a “meh” effort, but if you truly believe…well, that’s a whole other level.

      1. @Stilts
        I see your point. I think it’s a combination of believe and try. You have to believe that it’s possible to make it, but then you also have to take that first step and try to make it happen. I’ve known people that are sure that they could do something (even bragged about it), but never took that step and made it happen. I’ve also seen the reverse where people try but their lack of faith kept them from putting their full self into the effort because they didn’t believe they had a real chance at succeeding.

  26. After this episode, in looking at the dynamics of the Nanami or Mashiro pairings, I see Nanami/Sorata as a couple that would complement each other like pieces of a puzzle. Each there to support the other, finishing each other’s sentences and going forward in a mutually supporting relationship that would carry them through good times and bad. I don’t necessarily see them accomplishing anything major, but a comfortable life filled with a series of satisfying small wins few real defeats. Mashiro/Sorata, on the other hand, is going to be a roller coaster. As was noted by others earlier, each fulfills the other, each takes the lead at times going up those spiraling stairs, other times in a supporting role, taking the two farther than they would go individually. Mashiro will be loved for herself, as Sorata realizes that’s his role for her, and she motivates him, providing him the drive to excel as his scope of dreams expands. They would have each other’s backs, and with that angle covered, they can free themselves to try anything, getting satisfaction just out of having made the attempt. While the basic idea that “they complement each other” sounds similar to Nanami/Sorata, I just don’t feel the dynamic potential for them that I do for Mashiro/Sorata.

    Good thing this is fiction, or I’d have to start charging consultation fees….

  27. A most wonderfull episode,one of the best so far along with one of the best episodic reviews so far ~ bravo!

    Now that that’s out of the way:

    I think it’s pretty clear that the only way Nanami would’ve ever had a shot at snatching Sorata’s heart would’ve been by taking a more selfish and not-so-fair aproach on the whole love-triangle thing.And that,my friends,would’ve been something completely out of place in a show such as this.

    THEREFORE!Nanami fans don’t be dissappointed and understand that this is for the best for Sakurasou as an anime.Having one of the female leads in a love triangle doing something similar to what I said earlier are best left for shows that prepare it’s audience for something like that,such as this: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/713/kimiganozomueiencoverby.jpg/

    1. Danke for your kind words *bows*

      And yeah, if Nanami played forcibly (and even dirtily), she may have been able to claim Sorata’s heart, but it wouldn’t have been right for Sakurasou’s tone. At the end of this, they’re all still friends, nakama. That’s the BEST END, no matter who is dating who.

  28. It’s the journey…. Doubt. Uncertainty. You make the audience unsure for just a second, so that when it happens they are relieved.

    I dunno about this one, I’ve been watching anime for a long, long time I never doubted things would not go as expected. I feel like the anime industry doesn’t take into consideration the experience of their viewing population, that or I feel like it needs to change some “cliche’s” if it’s going to not make myself anyone else that feels the same let out a sigh of disappointment.

    For starters can they not make it so blazenly obvious in the opening and endings who the guy gets with? It would be easier to enjoy if I wasn’t constantly reminded AND spoiled since episode one that Nanami hasn’t got a chance. I haven’t seen an ambiguous ending in a romance anime since Shuffle! back in, what 2005??

    Bryan Abella
    1. You have to take into consideration that the viewing population gets new members every day and for people hasn’t watched older anime(because of stuff like animation quality) it wouldn’t be so obvious.

    2. It seems a lot of these shows are based on LN’s and if they keep to the storyline you wind up with the resolution from the LN. I suppose the readers of these expect these clichéd endings. Sort of like Perry Mason always winning the case, or Sherlock Holmes always solving it. That’s what the readers expected and that’s what they got.

    3. @ Bryan Abella

      All I can tell you is that you must meet the writer half way. Yes, I prefer a setup like Infinite Stratos where the end girl isn’t practically stated in the series’ title (Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, Toradora, I could go on), but that’s not my point. My point is that even if we know where things are going to end up, if you give yourself over to the story and let yourself be swept along by it, they can nail you with that momentary doubt that punctuates a scene beautifully.

      But you have to meet them halfway. If you remain dispassionate and logical…well, I was like that once. It’s much more fun the way I am now, let me tell ya.

      1. Not sure how I’m suppose to “meet the writer” halfway. I’ve seen so many of the tropes on display here that pretty much every Japanese story brings up it’s not enjoyable. It’s like how JRPGs mostly died out in the east as people got bored | fed up with it and the creators failed to innovate. That might be a bad example but I can’t think of anything right now.

        The limited aspects I thoroughly enjoyed was the focus of life taking dumps on you but that’s about it, everything else came across as meh. I would personally of liked it if Nanami actually confessed and Sorata, and then he chose Shiina. Instead we got the typical girl beats around the bush for 20 episodes and gives up without even saying it.

        Bryan Abella
      2. There’s no show that’s fun if you’re playing “Spot the Trope” unless you find fun in playing Spot the Trope itself. Things are tropes because they work, they are usually based on broad human experience, and are entertaining. So they’re going to get reused.

  29. Nanami nuuuu~ everything’s just so unfair to her 🙁 I think I’m just happy that I heard her going full Kansai-ben like a boss, such an eargasm… *_*

    And Chihiro x Fujisawa stole the show for me. That came out of nowhere but it made the most impact to me in this episode.

  30. But, but, but… I don’t think Mashiro heard Sorata’s confession of his love to her with the train in between them and all that noise and probably Mashiro already gone up the stairs heading to where he is standing. Could she?

  31. All pairings aside, I’d like to know more about Chihiro and Fujisawa. That should be a story by itself that parallels Mashiro and Sorata. It would be interesting as a role reversal in the not so distant future that Mashiro and Sorata not get married in the end, and Sorata ending up as a teacher in charge of Sakurasou and Mashiro being the successful artist that she is and she would visit Sorata from time to time like what Fujisawa does with Chihiro.

  32. This episode almost made me cry like a newborn babes. Though, there is almost no chance for this to happen, I would like to see a story where Nanami finds the man just for her. After all, I wholeheartedly believe she deserves it. It must be both bitter and sweet for her knowing that Mashiro and Kanda love each other. She deserves even more happiness than she has already. She’s worked too hard for too long for what she was given except for the fact that she received the best of friends. I think we can all agree that anyone would be lucky to have friends like Jin, Misaki, Rita, Akasaka, Nanami, Mashiro, or Kanda. Though they all have some serious flaws, they are fantastic and loyal friends I would love to have around. Besides, each and everyone of us have our weaknesses.

    I cannot stress how much I completely adore this series. Though there are flaws to the series as a whole, I am almost completely blinded to them because of the feeling of the journey this anime gives. I haven’t watched an anime like this in a long time. One with great character development, and young romances. Only if animes learn a thing or two from this one where I will truly be happy. Hopefully, there will be more series like this in the following seasons!

    No matter what happens in the next few episodes, this anime will continue to be one of my favorites for a very long time.

    Tim Dytianquin

    1. Haha,interseries matching might be fun 😛

      Nanami & Eita would probably work out quite well but I don’t think Masuzu would be interested in Sorata,or him in her.Maybe he’d be into Hime if anything since he’d probably have to somewhat look out for her like for Mashiro.

  33. Stilts, given the ruckus about the Korean dish served earlier in the series, is this series going to have a permanent black eye from the fallout, or will its overall superiority eventually win through? Over time, I’d think the general good talk about the series might override any hesitancy some people might have felt who hadn’t started the series yet when all the commotion started.

    1. No idea. The general feeling I got from western fans was a resounding “…huh?” when they heard about the dust-up…if they even did at all (I didn’t hear about it until after that episode aired myself). So for those of us not living in Glorious Nippon, I think it’s a non-issue. The series will be judged on its own merits, or at least each individuals personal opinions and biases.

      Of course, we don’t really matter, because series succeed or fail based on how many BDs/DVDs they sell in Japan. And I still must answer with “I don’t know” on that as well. To be frank, the mindset required to get so angry because a single unimportant detail was changed to something Korean instead of Japanese is so foreign (pun not intended) to me that I can’t understand it in the least. The whole thing just seems !@&#(%* stupid to me, I can’t say what the long-standing repercussions will be.


      P.S. Though I guess I could check the BD/DVD sales numbers to find out…but meh, too lazy.

      1. OK, so ‘splain me something and I’ll back off the subject. Are the levels of international sales such a trifling percentage of sales that they can continue to ignore it? Are ‘we’ 2% or something with no growth potential? I can understand that they have a built-in customer base, and international sales shouldn’t necessarily drive the content being produced, but if something is popular elsewhere and sales would balance lost of in-country revenues, it’s still Yen in their pocket to respond to that market. Oh, well. If you want to answer this offline, rather than use space here, feel free to pull this post and just send something to my email, I’m good with that.

      2. While I’m not confident that Sakurasou is actually objectively superb enough (It is good, but whether it is classic material is iffy) for this to happen, I’d like to see an instance where show becomes renowned as a classic masterpiece here in the west, but vilified by the Japanese- that’d make for some interesting discourse as to why it was the case…

      3. @ SmithCB

        Japanese fans pay frankly exorbitant prices for BDs / DVDs that western fans have proven unwilling to stomach. I mean they’ll drop as much on 2-3 episodes as we would on a full cour! (Maybe. We appear to be cheap bastards.) Compared to how much the Japanese are willing to pay, we’re just not important.

        Plus add in the lag time of getting things to BD/DVD here, and needing to license it to other companies (Funimation et al) to do the work…well, there’s not a lot of scratch left for the original producers. Every yen is appreciated, but they don’t count on us, that’s for sure.

  34. As I said in a previous comment, the author set up Nanami to die (as a character). He stripped everything about her character (except the accent, thank god) just to make sure Mashiro and Kanda could be together. That, to me, is just plain bad writing. You don’t treat a primary/secondary character like that. It just lacks respect for them.

    1. I totally agree with you.

      As much as i liked the story (especially the episodes about the B-pairings) as a whole it just feels wrong to build up her character and her connection to Kanda over almost the entire second half of the anime and then suddenly give her the death blow from behind shortly before the serial is going to end so the main characters could end up together. For me it’s just…hypocritical to simply shatter the already least given character, especially in an anime aiming for the message “If you set yourself a goal and work hard for it you can achieve everything” and repeating phrases like “work hard” about every third or fourth sentence.

      But the worst thing for me is that their isn’t any satisfying happy end left for Nanami. The only thing left for her would be making up with her parents and this feels very superficial to me since it wasn’t the point of her character at all.

      I’m sorry if this sounds a bit harsh but at this point this episode kept me already awake almost the whole night (which is actually a good thing to an objective point of view since I wasn’t this upset about a story for a long time).

      1. Nice reply! I also do totally agree with you. It’s not that Mashiro doesn’t deserve being loved, it’s just that the author didn’t know how to handle the love triangle (which is by no means easy).

      2. I don’t think the theme was “If you work hard, you’ll achieve your goal,” or at least was meant to be portrayed that way. The theme was hard work vs talent, and can people work hard towards accomplishing their dream, or will talent always win the day?

      3. Taking into account that neither Soratas nor Nanamis hard work actually pays off for them (at least not in a seizable/concrete way) I indeed must reconsider that point- thank you for pointing that out J.
        However this makes the presumable conclusion of the serial even less satisfying for me since I don’t really get the point of a “Prepare your dreams to get crushed if you don’t have special talents”- message getting rubbed into the audiences faces (exaggerated, but nonetheless). I know this is the way life works but is it really necessary to point in out in a story like this ..?

  35. Perhaps a little late to comment, but a few thoughts FWIW.

    – Rita, your awesome. Actually, I wonder if you’re clairvoyant since you appear right when Ryuu needs you without hesitation or request. Ryuu… close the deal NOW. You won’t do better than Rita.

    – Ryuu, finally making some progress. Good job, You still haven’t cleared the debt for Valentine’s Day completely as far as I’m concerned, but progress is progress. Just don’t regress. Back in the Ryuu x Rita camp.

    – Nanami. Even when you’re “dismissed” by the script you still manage to impress me more than the rest. Nanami’s quality of character shines through again. Unlike Sorata (as noted in my post above), not only did she not take out her frustrations, disappointment, etc. on Mashiro earlier (e.g. when she learned Mashiro made the magazine cover), but she expressly tells Mashiro that she is not to blame for Nanami’s troubles. Nanami tells her rival in love exactly what Mashiro needs to hear and understand. I’ll put it this way, in a show centered around “geniuses”, I’m easily more impressed by arguably the least talented/”genius” character (Nanami) than any other.

    – Sorata: *sigh* AGAIN we have the “I love you for your inspiring TALENT” “confession”. Because he met Mashiro, he was able to discover his goal in life. Not very romantic, but Ok so far. That discovery and subsequent pursuit along resulting feelings thereof form the base for his “love” of Mashiro – despite feeling jealous, frustrated and almost to the point of hating her on several occasions. Huh!? Yeah, that’s a quintessential example of a confession of love if I’ve ever heard/read one. >_< Same thing as before – Sorata loves Mashiro the ARTIST, NOT Mashiro the PERSON. Essentially, if Mashiro wasn't as talent and successful, he wouldn't be inspired = no "love". Bah. Now shipping for Sorata X Sorata (i.e no one). I'd much rather see Mashiro x Nanami and yuri has nothing to do with it.


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