「君が選んだこの世界」 (Kimi ga Eranda Kono Sekai)
“This World You Chose”
The last episode of Koga’s arc brings their fake relationship to a close, but not without some complications. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as strong of an arc as Mai’s considering that much of the resolution was easy to predict as soon as Koga started showing regrets at the end of the last episode after seeing Mai’s commercial. Although the story has pleasantly subverted our expectations with how Mai and Sakuta are handling their ordeal, Koga’s personality and mindset was far simpler to see coming. Once their last date ended, she would continue to restart the universe because, as Mai hinted at, Koga ended up emotionally compromised by the plan and got too into her role. The anime’s understanding of science is also as spotty as ever with Quantum Entanglement being equated with the impression Sakuta made when him and Koga kicked each other on the rear. Futaba’s reaction to Sakuta’s explanation was priceless, but it does feel like each scientific principle or theory introduced alongside a plot development feels too loosely related to the events of the story.
Whereas the scientific aspects of the anime feel a little too forced, the interactions that characters have as they handle conflict resolution and grow together are what make Seishun Buta Yarou unique and compelling. Koga wasn’t the most sympathetic in regards to how close Mai and Sakuta were getting before she intervened nor did she win any brownie favors for looping the date and lying for almost an entire week of the same date. But in return, it’s hard not to feel bad for Koga as she grapples with the fact that Sakuta will never reciprocate the feelings she developed. Particularly, the main conflict once Sakuta calls Koga out for lying was fascinating in contrasting how they feel about love and emotions. Because Sakuta’s love for Mai never wavered throughout this entire endeavor, he firmly believes that emotions can never change towards a completely opposite direction no matter how many times the date is repeated, and fondness can never develop any further even if he was forced to fake his emotions for years.
For Koga, however, being in her shoes ended up being tormenting because she fell in love with him so quickly that she could never agree with the notion that love is a continuously changing feeling that surges with time. She finds herself falling in love with him deeper with every date, but, in the process, his lack of reciprocation could never factor into her desire to eventually force him to feel the same. Sakuta’s resolution turned out to stem from having her acknowledge her feelings, admit that she ended up falling in love too quickly despite their deal, and opening up about the pain she felt from bottling up her feelings to the point of triggering the Laplace’s demon qualities of her syndrome. The episode closes with her righting any wrongs she felt she did by taking responsibility in wearing her emotions on her sleeve, taking a proactive measure in having a better circle of friends, and letting Sakuta live his own life while they still hang out as friends.
The many plot developments that happened in the background were also highly satisfying. Once the last time loop occurred, winding the clock all the way back to the beginning of the arc, the planets finally aligned for Mai to go in for a kiss. It was on the cheek, but it was a huge step for our main couple as their relationship is further cemented by Mai taking the initiative to kiss Sakuta. We also learn more about Kunimi’s point-of-view as the hypothetical that Sakuta gives him also reflects on his own perception of possibly having someone like Futaba taking interest to him despite having a girlfriend. Other than the abrasive side of her that Sakuta experiences regularly with Kunimi’s girlfriend, we don’t see as much of her with Kunimi, nor are we able to gauge how his feelings towards her might be. It’ll be neat to see how it turns out, but the episode ends on a jaw-dropping cliffhanger that overshadows it entirely. Shoko’s reappearance, especially in light of Sakuta’s introduction juxtaposing hers from the second episode and the rumors that appeared with a mysterious Shoko in Sakuta’s life, was quite the shocker to leave the episode on. With her role in the syndromes that appear in Sakuta’s endeavors in mind, it’ll be interesting to see what she makes of their reunion now that he’s with Mai.