「出会い… そして! アホガール」 (Deai… Soshite! Aho Girl)
“Meeting… and! Aho Girl “
For a final episode, I’m surprised at how flippant Aho Girl is about its impending end. Rather than having a massive 15 minute send-off, it’s a relatively casual episode that looks back on when Akuru and Yoshiko first met. While it reflects on how the two interacted as kids and how it shapes their relationship today, the episode could’ve easily blended in with any of the ones that came before it. I wouldn’t have known it was the finale until the last minute where Yoshiko is given one last uppercut into the sky as everyone looks in awe. Regardless, it was still a very funny take on how they grew up with each other, and how, in a way, they are the perfect couple.
Even though the pair is incredibly young in their flashback, it was funny to see that our first impression of little Yoshiko was that she was as dumb as she ended up remaining in the future. There was very little change in Yoshiko’s mindset, but the flashback does propose how special it was for Yoshiko to have Akuru in her life as an influence to her current behavior. The origin of her banana obsession going back to when she met Akuru was significant in that it continued to mean something to her that he introduced her to bananas. Her love of bananas ended up being strong enough that it was that first bite that ended up giving her the idea that he must really have feelings for her to have given her what would become her favorite fruit. She’s the dumbest person in Akuru’s life, but it meant enough to her to give him a spot in her heart, and eventually, an exception for her hatred of perverts.
Additionally, she’s shown to be able to dodge Akuru’s attacks. It might’ve been his training that allowed his punches to finally connect, and it is something that’s not explored much in the episode, but perhaps it’s her budding feelings for Akuru that eventually had her let him express his feelings in that manner. It can be said that it’d be a destructive way of thinking to say that love let her guard down for Akuru to get violent or perverted with her, but the episode makes a convincing argument of how Yoshiko’s thought pattern has made her vulnerable to giving Akuru a pass.
Meanwhile, Akuru’s feelings are a lot more complicated. As a kid, he was frightened by Yoshiko dragging him down to her level, and tried his best to get his revenge on her for letting her affection ruin his grades and privacy. However, there were times when he felt concerned or sentimental about her in a way that is deeper than just making sure she doesn’t hurt herself or others around her. After recovering from the sickness he got during his training to fight Yoshiko, he was touched that she would tend to him while he was sick up until he found out she tried kissing away his flu. He also felt remorseful after making Yoshiko upset when he tried to be a repulsive pervert around her in a bid to make her leave him alone. Little Yoshiko’s crying was enough to make me feel bad, but little Akuru seems to have a soft spot in his heart for Yoshiko that resonates somewhat with his grown-up self.
In between parts of the flashback, there are some present day glimpses into how the two act today. Yoshiko remembers how special those times were for her to the point that she wore the same panties she put on Akuru’s head as a kid to commemorate the day. Akuru’s behavior, however, harbors deep-seated feelings about Yoshiko that may or may not be passionate hatred depending on how you see it. It reminds me of Durarara in how the Shizuo and Izaya pairing look to Erika; raw hatred can look like passionate love in some respects. The emotions that boil over on Akuru’s end as he looks back on how his thoughts, feelings, and affection remain to this day can look like a double entendre that appears as unbridled loathing on the surface, yet can also take on the form of a strong warmth he keeps in his heart for Yoshiko.
I’m actually kind of devastated that I didn’t see this finale coming. I assumed it would end around a thirteenth episode or continue for another cour since it’s a short series, but learning the day I saw this that it’s the last episode caught me off-guard. I got so attached to the crazy cast and the comical slapstick humor of the show that it felt sad to watch the finale. I liked how Yoshiko ended up becoming more complex in her stupidity in that it goes above just the first episode’s banana jokes, and makes her into a methodical idiot who goes out-of-her-way to shape the world in her image whether it’s for her own personal benefit or as a well-meaning gesture to help out the people she cares about. Akuru also grew beyond being joyless and abusive, and has a capacity for compassion whether it’s in his doting on Yoshiko that he continues to kick himself for or his adoration for his little sister.
What I also enjoyed were how the side characters were equally strong components of the series. Sayaka grew to be one of the funniest characters on there with how she’s one of the only sane people in the cast, and feels trapped in everyone else’s lapses from sanity. The Morals Committee President was also a riot as her crush on Akuru manifested to obsessive degrees as time moved forward. The gal group lead by Akane were my new favorite characters as popular girls who had grown too fond of Yoshiko, and enabled Akane to start embracing the benefits her foolish yet carefree lifestyle offered. There were some characters that weren’t as fully focused on like Ryuuichi or the kids, but it was still fun to see Yoshiko interact with them, and how they play off of each other.
I’ll miss these short spurts of goofiness that Aho Girl offered throughout Summer 2017. There was some confusion as to why I’d continue to follow the show week in and week out considering how dumb it can be, but I’m glad I got to follow it’s ridiculousness as Yoshiko’s antics made my day all the more brighter. Aho Girl has the distinction of being the first one I completed all the way through, but it is also a show that represents what I tend to look for in the anime I watch. I love many of the series’ I’ve followed here, but my niche is specifically in fun, goofy, and cute comedies, and Aho Girl hit the nail on the head as a show I would say is without a doubt one of my personal favorites this season. I would definitely look forward to a second season if they made one.