I am a man who doesn’t believe in much, but one of the things I believe in is the power of stories. A good story well told can spawn movements for good or ill. They can compel armies or turn back axes. They can help abolish diseases and right great injustices, or they can perpetuate them. They can turn a person’s life around even as others end them. More than facts or logic, it is stories that can move the hearts of men, even if it’s just to convince a gym full of people at a high school graduation to save an old building that eight people love very much. Maybe it even had an effect on you.
Setting Up The Moment
Though good scenes are often made of bigger things, it’s the little details that make them great. Last week I spoke about how Rita’s presence gave us a chance at a resolution of her and Dragon’s love affair, but she also added to the effect this time merely by being another person who truly cares about Sakurasou. She also – though it was Ryuunosuke’s idea. Who would have thought! – brought the sakura pins, without which the vote later on would not have been nearly so uplifting. Of them all though, perhaps my favorite was when we later found out that Misaki’s speech was actually handed to the principal, who didn’t even bother to read it. That Jin’s old friend would go so far as to place the offending speech in the principal’s hands, knowing full well that he only had to glance at it to ruin everything…well, that little detail added spice to the moment, power to their triumph. It’s always the little things that matter.
Then Misaki mounted the stage. She gave a very un-Misaki-like speech, which is what made it great – when Mashiro’s emotions started opening up, it was wonderful because they were once closed away, and so it was with serious Misaki. To hear her heartfelt plea…well, a tear may have appeared in my eye from the moment she first mentioned Sakurasou. I had to ask myself, why? Nothing has happened yet! Maybe it was the anticipation, of what I knew what was coming. Or perhaps it’s that I’ve come to love that old building too, over these past six months of spending so much time with the people there.
Of course, there was an element of calculation to Misaki’s speech, which Dragon called them out on at the very end. He said they tricked the audience. Well, it’s true that they wrote the speech with a purpose in mind, and guided the audience towards the conclusion they desired. But tricked? No. Those were Misaki’s honest feelings, and those of the others, and those of the audience as well. They made it easy for the other students to vote with them, true, but in return they gave them their honest, heartfelt feelings and a wonderful story that will stay with them for a lifetime. Not a bad trade, if I do say so myself.
Such is the power of stories my friends, as I alluded to in the intro and I mention every other week. Misaki stood up there and sold the idea of Sakurasou with all of her heart, but it wasn’t a lie. Selling isn’t bad, only trickery and deception. What the board did, that was bad. But Misaki, in a moment when everyone was listening, poured everything into her speech, and they responded.
If I had to criticize anything, it was that Misaki summarized past events for a bit too long. It worked best was when she approached them from a new direction, like through the lenses of their rooms or their nabe parties, because that showed the events we’ve seen before in a slightly new light. They showed, what, 10 nabe parties? So much happiness! What didn’t work as well was when she straight summarized. The feeling she was building started to wane when she got past Nyaboron. Fortunately, that didn’t last long.
I have to say, I looooove love love love stories with an ensemble cast like this one, where many characters are important and they grow closer as the story progresses. Sorata and Mashiro may be the leads, but only by so much – without Nanami and Jin and Misaki and Ryuunosuke and Rita and Chihiro, Sakurasou would be nothing. Each of them teared up this episode, and I teared up with them as Misaki went down the list of why each and every one of them means so much to her. Chihiro-sensei’s lip quivered, and Dragon actually cried. Only Misaki can do that. Only Misaki.
I have a feeling this post is a mess, and for that I apologize. In truth, I suspect there’s not much that needs to be said – after all this time, whether this episode works or not for you will largely depend on whether you have come to love these characters, as I have. It wasn’t a sledgehammer of drama, it didn’t rip me down and wrench the tears out of me. No, it was gentle, wistful, as if longing had been wrapped in images and words broadcast directly into our hearts. It made me reminiscence about how far these character have come, and that I was there the whole way.
What else is there to say? Well, when the old OP played, when Sorata stormed the stage, when Nanami cried out and Mashiro took a stand, when Ryuunosuke strolled in and laid down the law, when Jin’s old friend drove the board into a corner, and when Chihiro proposed that they take a vote right now…ahhh, those were glorious moments. You can’t keep Sakurasou down! And don’t worry, it’s okay to cry Sorata. Real men cry sometimes. This is one of those times.
In the end, the kids of Sakurasou never did reach two-thirds of the student body. That wouldn’t have been their style. No, they reached every single one of them, all in one go. Let’s hear it for Sakurasou – may it live forever!
Looking Ahead – Running Off Into Tomorrow
It nears its end. 24 episodes gone, one more to go, and then I get to tie a bow on this series. There’s so much to say, but I’ll save most of it for next week. For now I’ll stick to the obvious points – this is a romance, so we need our couples to come together now if they’re going to do it anytime soon. Jin and Misaki are fine, but the others – Ryuunosuke and Rita, Chihiro and Fujisawa – they need to wrap everything up. Oh, and of course, Sorata and Mashiro as well. Though some of you might not like it, that’s the couple we’re ending with, and it’s the right one, for them, for right now. One more week and we’ll see how it all ends.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – A sakura-coloured graduation. Time comes for the speech, & Misaki stands up & tells the story of Sakurasou. There is none sweeter #sakurasou
- Flustered Misaki, hng~
- I knew as soon as Ryuunosuke said it, I knew they would swap to Nanami crying, and they did…and yet still I laughed. To be honest, it may have been out of sentimentality more than anything else. Who knows.
- This was an episode of tears. KyoAni, you’d better watch out. Much more than this and J.C.Staff is going to start gunning for your teary throne!
- I loved how everyone blamed Sorata for them getting yelled at, even though Misaki yelled first. Of course it’s your fault, Sorata! Misaki is graduating. Also, she’s Misaki. You should be used to this by now.