「わかってる? わかってる」 (Wakatteru? Wakatteru)
“You Understand? I Understand”

Amid the snowy night, their relationship grows a little closer one more time.

It’s Okay To Be Selfish

Three giant cheers for Mayura, the best friend in the world! Mayura’s way of doing things is very much like my own way of doing things – either stop worrying or do something about it! It’s totally okay for Kobeni to worry, but while it’s in her power to go check on them, she might as well – especially since she and Hakuya are engaged. It’s about time she got a little mileage out of that, ufufu~

Not A 4-Koma Anymore

Did you notice how the style of storytelling completely changed this episode? It was less “punchy”, with very few gags and long stretches of contemplative silence. Though I haven’t read the source material, this felt like they were departing from it completely to tie a bow on the series. Which is fine! It did it admirably well. It was just such a change in storytelling style that the difference struck me.

Then again, it’s possible all this was in the source material. I actually think that 4-koma (or 3-to-4 panel horizontal Western-style comics) can have poignant, meaningful strips where there doesn’t need to be a joke. If so, I applaud mangaka Cherry-Arai all the more.

It All Makes Sense

I feel like I’ve said this a hundred times this season, but drama in a un-dramatic series can get tricky. I liked how they handled why Hakuya and Mashiro went home this time, because all of it just fit. Them wanting to pick the edible plants for Kobeni was something I called last time, but adding on the reason why their clothes and books were gone – both reasonable – plus how Hakuya’s message didn’t give all the necessary information – which was totally in line with his personality – made the whole scene feel natural. Or if not natural – it was obvious the storytellers were trying to pull out emotions from Kobeni – at least there was as little friction as possible.

Lost In The Snow

Another thing that was foreshadowed heavily was Kobeni’s weak constitution, and this was used to good effect here at the end. I was struck by the apt silence of the blizzard, save for when Hakuya was running to get help – seriously, Dogakobo never skimps on the animation. Kobeni’s apparent fear of being left alone did seem like it came out of left field though, especially with the kind of loving (and overly-loving) mother and sister she has. Something to do with her absent father, perhaps? Whatever the case, the atmosphere was done nicely…and then she fell. Oh shi–!

Hakuya For Best Husbando Ever

You have to give it to him, Hakuya is a man of action, not words. When Kobeni was about to fall – yes, the sudden separation of so much of the cliff was a bit much, but the dull silence of the moment it happened was perfect – he was there. That, plus the entire next scene… *flaps his arms in fangirl glee* Eeeeeee!!

That hime carry, and the relieved smile, and Kobeni’s delightful blush in return, oh my! Their relationship is a bit strange, with them being engaged before they even (re-)met, but it’s undoubtable that there are feelings there. Kobeni doesn’t want him to hide something as important as the scar on his eye, hnnnng~!! I think you might have her, Hakuya. I know she definitely has you.

Happily Ever After

That final montage, awwww! One more note before I go into the final impressions…I feel like Kobeni and Hakuya have come to something of an understanding now. I’m actually glad they haven’t kissed, because they haven’t known each other long enough for that. There’s definitely something there though, a feeling, and I’ll take that happily.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – A sweet yet settled ending to a warm love comedy amidst the cold of winter. D’aaaww! #mikakunin END

Random thoughts:

  • Hakuya can only make out light out of his right eye? So he’s basically a cyclops. I shall call him Saip–wait, no, that’s been done.
  • My first reaction when I saw Mayura’s company’s helicoptor was that Benio hijacked it to save Kobeni. In fact, I choose to believe that’s what happened. Anything for her imouto!
  • Hakuya is glowing! Lucky bastard.
  • Iron Chef Kobeni is chou kawaii. I’ll miss you!

Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Three lessons from the editing desk, The easiest to not do, Realism, cynicism, & the unreasonable man, and Weak business models.


Final Impressions:

I didn’t want to blog three shows this season. I had so much to do, work was so crazy, I have a book I badly need to finish…there’s so much! I still had Log Horizon, and I decided to pick up Sakura Trick because it started with such a bang, so I settled for not blogging Mikakunin de Shinkoukei because I didn’t think it would surprise me. I didn’t think there would be much to talk about.

WRONG! Turns out there was more to talk about than time to write it all up some days (though I made it work), and after my first double post ever – though I’ve still never had to do one for being late. My pride won’t allow it!! (So far) – I was off. I enjoyed writing about this every week, and am supremely glad I picked it up.

Why? Because Mikakunin de Shinkoukei is in the vein of shows like Hataraku Maou-sama! in that it’s a story that’s not necessarily revolutionary, but it’s executed really, really well. From details like the backgrounds which visually conveyed the emotion of a scene to the impressive animation Dogakobo put into what would normally be a low-budget show, everything was done well. Pacing, character development, story – oh my, the story! It hit us with so many revelations in the early episodes, and though that evened out in the second half, when it became clear they were stretching the story more – though that was likely in the source material as well, once the manga-ka felt they weren’t going to be canceled – it still remained admirably strong throughout. It reminded me of Kotoura-san, though it didn’t peek as early and remained more consistent throughout.

Character-wise, I was pleased to watch a show where the main character was both female and handled well. Perhaps I’ve glimpsed into too many otome game adaptations where the female lead was a bland everywoman, but Kobeni was interesting, flawed, and bucked a number of trends by being neither a tsundere nor a pettanko with breast envy. A level-headed girl with rocket launchers, child-bearing hips, and a talent for housework? Le gasp!

Of all the characters, I’m the most impressed with Hakuya, if only because he could have been so easily mishandled. Dogakobo could have gone full ImoCho and promoted Hakuya to the main character unnecessarily, but the whole thing would have tanked hard, so I’m glad they didn’t. It takes a deft hand to develop an intensely introverted character like Hakuya, but they slowly developed him as he opened up to the others and we got to see more of why Hakuya x Kobeni might not be such a bad idea after all. And when we have a haughty loli and a siscon/lolicon onee-sama to keep us entertained in the meantime, all is well.

I could say more, but after twelve weeks of dissecting this show, I believe I’ve said it all. From Kobeni’s tsukkomis to Benio’s outbursts, Mashiro’s UMA fascination to Hakuya’s love of absolutely anything Kobeni cooks – and everything Mayura, Suetsugi, Nadeshiko, Niko-chan, loli mama, and Yonomori mama brought to the table as well – it was a good ride. Hopefully we’ll get more darkhorse surprises like it soon.


  1. Overall I liked the episode, but Kobeni walking backwards after she wakes up is bullshit. Who does that? The whole scene with her walking backwards and the cliff breaking was bullshit. Completely unbelievable, even by anime standards.

    I can’t believe all we get is 12 episodes ;/.

    1. an exhausted, disoriented, and nonathletic highschool girl who just woke up from a fever-induced daze whilst being stranded in the mountains where there is very little oxygen does that. i could understand your frustration had she walked off the cliff but kobeni has been shown to be fragile. the snowstorm also makes it damn hard to see and grasp a sense of direction.

    2. Taking a step or two back when you’re staring at a scary scene you’re unfamiliar with (like a dark, snowy forest) is actually a natural thing to do. It’s about creating distance to make you feel a bit safer.

    3. I initially had that thought too, but I am glad in that scene a large chunk of the cliff collapsed beneath her (as opposed to her walking backwards and slipping off the edge). To me, it seemed like she took 2 steps back to get her bearings and thought she had more room to move before the cliff face broke away.

  2. I thought now would’ve been a good time to reveal the full nature of the accident, but instead they decided not to, perhaps in anticipation of another season. Oh well, a rather okay ending for this season then. 😐

  3. Nuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu, don’t be over!!!! ;_;

    Between this, Chuunibyou (also nuuuuuuu, don’t be over!), and the last bit of Golden Time, my diabetes should’ve killed me.

  4. I really liked this anime.I just wish it was longer.

    Benio may be insane but her protectiveness of Kobeni seems to be understandable. Between Kobeni’s poor health and her low self esteem she does need a keeper. I wish they had went a little deeper into what made her think that all she was good for was housework and the last episode fear of being left behind.

  5. You know Stilts, I was about to comment last week about what you said that Hakuya and Mashiro left to pick some mountain veggies in that it was plausible, but why the need to take all their belongings. However, I kinda caught the lazy virus (as always) so I just decided to wait for the revelation…

    Then it happened and you were right on the mark. If I had doubts before about how you can see where a story goes from a writer’s perspective (I also follow/ed your blogging of Log Horizon/Sakura Trick and other previous titles), I consider it gone now.

    And well, the anime? I haven’t actually caught wind of this until a friend posted some screen caps in our FB group–I very much liked the first ep, and the second and the third, and so on. This was such a good anime, period.

    1. Nyahaha, domo, domo *bows* I take great pride in my ability to read the flow of the story, so it’s always nice to be proven right : ) I’m glad you enjoyed it, and the other ones I was blogging this season to boot. Clearly, you have good taste.

  6. I think this is one of the best romantic comedy anime I’ve seen. Personally I like it better than Toradora but your mileage may vary. I guess Toradora felt like ages before it got to develop Taiga into a dynamic character than your average tsundere. As for Kobeni, she might have that bit of tsundere quality, if anything she was too considerate or too anxious to express her feelings. Plus, so many minor characters I like in this anime that had not too much screentime, it is a shame, it’s only 12 epidodes and 1 ova.

    1. IMO Toradora is a different kind of romance than Mikakunin. The former is more concerned with Taiga coming to understand herself and open up to others, while the latter deals with the daily lives of two very different groups of people brought together by a prearranged contract. One is not necessarily better than the other in this sense, they both root themselves in very different plot lines.

      As for Kobeni she is not really tsundere as much as shy and uncertain, left treading water in a scenario she never envisioned happening to her. Taiga lashed out in an attempt to hide her feelings from others as well as herself out of embarrassment, while Kobeni is worried more about how her feelings will impact others; Kobeni simply doesn’t want to be a nuisance, Taiga just wants to avoid having feelings in the first place.

      1. Don’t mind me really, I didn’t really enjoy the characters in Toradora as much as in here. The only character I really watched for was Minori and the hope that the main character get together with her. I think I watched it in a wrong mindset. And you’re right the setup is too different to compare.

  7. A fitting end for a very well done show, nothing new was added, but it touched quite nicely upon all the themes presented earlier.

    There’s no doubt Mikakunin is the the black horse for winter 2014, it was simple, consistent, cute, and funny. A SoL with bite in a sense, not groundbreaking, but well thought out in how it handled its underlying story and how it showcased its characters. Similar to Noragami, Mikakunin bit off enough to flesh out 12 episodes without the need to resort to filler or become forced to rush through material better served over a two cour run. Even with the familiar character archetypes, the drama never felt forced nor did the humour ever become stale. Quite the feat for a show with only a modest budget and expectations.

    Overall Mikakunin gets an 8/10 from me. A good mark for a good little SoL show. I do hope this ends up getting a second season, it is definitely deserving of it.

  8. Yes that was an amazing ending really, I couldn’t have asked for more. Although I was kinda wanting them to kiss in the end, I guess as stilts said they haven’t met long enough to get that intimate and the final scene where Hakuya rescued Kobeni, hime carried her and the final dialogue where Kobeni told Hakuya to never hide anything from her, OMG TOOOO MUCHHH HGNNNNNN, really, nicely played, Dogakobo, the way the beam of light highlighted them, the dialogue, the atmosphere and the smiling Hakuya and blushing Kobeni, that was too much for me to take, I am still really mesmerised by that scene. That scene was honestly so sweet it was actually just as good and if not, even better than a kiss, and I was just completely screaming in joy as that scene played on!(fanboy scream!)

    Man, This is an awesome series and I really am looking forward to the OVA, although a second season would be nice too to see how the relationship develops between Hakuya and Kobeni now that wall that separated them has kind of melted away.

  9. LITTLE WITCH MASHIRO-TAN!!! (The Benio in me had just woken up @_@)

    That ending makes you want another season! All’s well, that ends well. Just a little disappointed because the issue of the accident was not elaborated more.

    My biggest disappointment…I DID NOT GET TO SEE THE DOG VERSION OF HAKUYA!!! And I did not get to see his SCAR, too!!! I want to see those!!! (>.<)

    Pickled Cucumber
  10. I really, really liked the scene with glowing Hakuya freaking Benio out–that was just such a nice change of pace. Not that Benio (or anything except Kobeni) seems to ever really unbalance Hakuya, but it was still a nice touch. Bodes well for his future dealings with her.

    All around a great show. Don’t really know what else I can say–it excelled at everything it tried to do.

  11. Awesome little show that hit all the right notes for me. I usually start every season watching about 15 shows, but by this time, I’m usually down to 4-5 I look forward to and still keep up with. This one made the cut. (Not many did this time.)

    I’ll admit that at first I was a little hesitant. It felt a little too cliche at first, but the writing, acting, and comedy was good enough to get me over that little hump and keep watching. Well done.

    All of the characters were amazingly likable, too. (I have to admit that like Benio, I have a soft spot for Mashiro, because her reactions are so good.) Looking forward to the OVA, and would love to see a second season… if it’s well done. Enough unanswered questions to fill another season, but none are pressing enough that they HAVE to be, so it can stand alone with just one season, too.

    Good job, Stilts.

    1. Agreed – I would like another season, but it doesn’t need one, making it work either way. That’s the ideal, so we aren’t clamoring angrily for more. Instead, we can just enjoy what we have and quietly hope : )

  12. what a surprisingly successful and simple series. loved it from beginning to end, and wish there was more. thanks for covering it, stilts. i’d have to agree that this episode was very different from the rest (in that it broke away from the gag 4-koma style) and that it was a good decision by them. kobeni losing herself in the snow was a little silly, especially since her mother and benio love her so much, but it is interesting how you bring up the fact that kobeni is without a father; it would have been a more interesting dilemma but they probably didn’t want to introduce the possibility of a new character at the end of the series.

    hoping for a new season. i have no idea how much material there is to cover in the 4-koma series, but i wouldn’t be dissatisfied with an anime original plot that focused more on their romance while still delivering on the punchlines.

  13. “That relieved smile”

    I actually broke down laughing at that point because that was the cockiest, most cool-guy expression I’d ever seen on this blank visage.

    Final episode animation budget was fittingly allocated, some nice fluid running scenes. We never did see Hakuya transform, which for me was kind of a shame. I’ve actually seen 4-koma mangas “take a break from their regular programming” by temporarily changing to full-sized regular manga pages for emotional or dramatic scenes, so this could have been an example of that.

    Mashiro just has to cause mass destruction even in the last episode. That broomstick jump, AHGNHHHHHHHHHH~

    Awesome series, thanks for covering it, Stilts!

  14. Real sad that this is over. This series has been for me the surprise package of the season. I only hope and pray that this is not merely the end and we are given the blessing of a second season. There is just so much potential for more Kobeni x Hakuya. And Mashiro-tan as well!

    1. Whoops, showing my Southerner ignorance there. I’ve spent plenty of time in the snow, but I haven’t gone out hiking in the dead of winter or anything like that, so such a thing didn’t even occur. I’ve seen that kind of thing happen on a smaller scale though, now that you mention it, so it makes sense.

  15. What a great ending to a great series. I liked how little time they actually spent on the issue of Mashiro and Hakuya going home: probably everyone figured what was really going on from the start, so there would have been no point in prolonging that. Indtead, we got some very nice character development from Kobeni and some KobenixHakuya that induced massive HNNNGGs.

    To the very end, Mikakunin kept that light-hearted, simple feel that, coupled with (or cused by?) well-written story and character, caught my attention from the beginning. It was a great treat to watch every weak.

    Kobeni’s apparent fear of being left alone did seem like it came out of left field though, especially with the kind of loving (and overly-loving) mother and sister she has. Something to do with her absent father, perhaps?
    I think even that was justified pretty well: Benio and their mother were always leaving very early and coming home after Kobeni, even on off-days as this and the last episode showed. For a young child, being left alone like that can really leave a mark.
    Then, when Hakuya and Mashiro joined the household, there was suddenly someone there whenever Kobeni was home. I would say it’s a classic and effective case of not wanting to lose a nice thing you got, spiced up by fever-induced delusions. For me, the somewhat questionable part was where Benio was going at such young age, and even that can be explained simply with school.

    1. They really put down Kobeni’s cooking and cleaning and keeping house skills. Speaking as a guy, I don’t care about a woman’s ability to hold a salaried job or her smarts in other areas. If she can’t cook, can’t clean, can’t do laundry, etc – that’s a negative in my book. I can keep a house by myself, cook, etc. That’s no problem. But if a woman expects the man to do all the work at home as well as a salaried job, well, that’s what’s wrong with America today. We need a return to traditional roles! Keep excelling at those housewife skills, Kobeni!

  16. A little sad we didn’t get a kiss but oh well. It’s not the only series that didn’t end with one this week.

    I’ve said countless times how this was my favourite series of the season and that I’ll be very sad now it’s ended. I’ve loved it from start to end. The OP and ED were just… adorable, the animation was superb, the casting was nailed across the board and the pacing was great.

    Hopefully this gets a BD release because it’d be an instabuy from me.

    P Ko
  17. A nice way to wrap up a wonderfully cute rom-com story like this. The ship is sailing smoothly~

    I’m glad they didn’t try to overdramatize the reason why they left home, especially since it would be hard to tell a story within an episode anyway, it was focused more on Kobeni’s misunderstanding.

    I actually wouldn’t say her fear of being alone is completely left field. In a previous episode, when Kobeni was sick and alone in the house, she mentioned how she dislikes being alone. Also, Kobeni views both her sister and mother to be much more talented than her, which has been pointed out throughout the series, so she feels as if she might be left behind eventually. However, her family is indeed very loving, so her fears may be “slighly” misplaced. I mean..Benio-sama.

    The only flaw in my opinion was that there was a bit too much screentime on Benio, and there could of been just a little more screentime for Hakuya instead. Don’t get me wrong, I love Benio’s sisterly love antics, and she gave me plenty of laughs. However, more often than not, she was taking up way more screentime than I would of liked, and may have cockblocked our two lovebirds a bit too much. However, the few times Hakuya says something or does something is definitely worthwhile, and him and Kobeni are just way too adorable together 🙂 An unexpected, fun and cute ride, thanks for taking the time to blog this Stilts!

  18. This is an excellent Anime, romantic comedy and supernatural.
    *There are only 12 episodes
    *They didn’t show their true form
    *They didn’t show us what kind of powers they have
    *I wanted to know what kind of power Kobeni has
    *They didn’t kiss
    *They didn’t hug each other
    *Hakuya didn’t blush
    *They didn’t show us what happened to Kobeni and Hakuya when they were kids
    *They didn’t show us Hakuya’s and Mashiro’s house
    *They didn’t show us Hakuya’s scar
    *Kobeni hasn’t confessed to Hakuya yet
    *Well i know that Hakuya isn’t good with words but he should at least tell Kobeni “i love you”
    –but i still liked this anime– :3

  19. This was a great last episode for the series. Just everything felt right and it had some really nice moments. Plus it was very much like this series. Another episode where character development continues forward and we get a few more pieces of information about things.

    At the time I thought Kobeni’s abandonment issue came out of nowhere, but thinking on it I can get behind it. I mean in her subconscious memory she probably recalls Hakuya leaving her so he could go and get some help. Even after giving her half his power they still needed assistance. Plus she’s probably usually left behind. Her mother busy working and her sister having to run off to do various things because of her responsibilities. While Kobeni is often sick. Heck that ties into her being left behind on school trips because her health isn’t stable enough to go on those things. So while it wasn’t hammered throughout the series it does fit.

    I’m certainly going to miss this one. Definitely one of my favorites from the Winter season. A show I thought would be ok, but turned out to be better than just that. Did a good job from start to finish.

  20. Every second of Mikakunin was enjoyable. That just speaks to the quality of the show. I’m not a heavy RomCom guy, but this show really went above and beyond the call of duty in its execution. I laughed and dawed and had no regrets.

  21. Mashiro for loli of the season, easily. Kate from Zvezda is right behind her.

    I went into this show expecting a generic rom-com, not knowing much beforehand, and instead I got a fun and cute series. Definitely the dark horse of the season.

  22. About the comparison with Imocho, probably you have not watched a lot of episodes, at least that’s what I understood from the last podcast; because it is only in the first one were it seems like the studio made the male character the MC.

    Anyway, other series of dubious quality aside, thanks for blogging Mikakunin. I also fell in love with the series in the first episodes: it had something, possibly how natural it seemed, that made it unique in my eyes, specially how natural a character Kobeni is. I would like to see more… for example they did not show us much about the “people from the mountain”.

    So, looking forward to the OVA, and for someone to please scanlate the manga as well 🙂

    1. Yeah, I only saw the first episode of ImoCho, and then I dropped it like a bad dream.

      Agreed! Can’t wait for more Mikakunin. Seriously, I’m getting the shakes already.


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