「明けない夜の夜明け」 (Akenai Yoru no Yoake)
“The Dawn After an Endless Night”
The last episode of Seishun Buta Yarou caps off Kaede’s arc by solidifying that she did, in fact, regain her memories from before. But with Kaede’s memories restored, she actually takes a back seat this time around as it was Sakuta who had to confront his own anguish. The episode was definitely setting up towards the movie as Shouko returns to try to comfort him after he rushed out of the hospital, torn up about losing the side of his sister that he had grown attached to.
This episode makes a pitch towards seeing Shouko in a different light as more than just a girl from Sakuta’s past. Shouko appears right at the perfect moment to reconceptualize Kaede’s push to change by reading her diary out to Sakuta. She highlights parts of her diary where Kaede feels guilty about the possibility of Sakuta blaming himself for not being able to help her, pushing her to go out of her way to overcome her anxiety even if it means having to say farewell to the side of her that Sakuta had just started to get to know. Sakuta says he was cheered up by Shouko, but nobody can tell me that someone who bites into a whole tomato and a slice of bread is a jolly guy. The most interesting part of Shouko’s presence is how much of it feels like a blur. Futaba seems on-board with the suspicions I have of Shouko being more of a figment of his imagination as she only materializes when Sakuta is at his worst. And since no one is around to tell who she really is, there would be reason to believe that Shouko is more of a concept than a person. Almost like the Adolescence Syndrome itself, Shouko’s presence is an enigma that feeds off of Sakuta’s emotional state at its height.
And speaking of emotions, there is one last hail mary for the episode to make as they throw in one last conflict for Sakuta since Mai is upset at him about Shouko coming to comfort him while she was away. Admittedly, this one felt like it was added in to bring tension to Mai and Sakuta’s relationship for the final episode as it culminates in a bonding scene between the two where they make up. It brielfy dabbles into that cliche romcom trope where a misunderstanding threatens the relationship until a window of opportunity opens up for Sakuta to realize his mistake and make amends with Mai just in the nick of time. It does tie into Sakuta’s guilt with Kaede since him and Mai are distraught about not being able to be there for their loved ones, but the good thing is that Nodoka really cleaned up that particular mess before it overshadowed what was otherwise a decent final episode. With the episode concluding on the two reconciling as Sakuta opens up to being supportive of Kaede’s older self, aims to strengthen his personal relationship with Mai and introduces her to his dad and Kaede, the last episode at least ends on an optimistic note.
Without a doubt, there’s a reason why Seishun Buta Yarou is one of the best shows this season. it’s a series that hooks viewers in with its clever writing, its finely crafted narrative that aims to defy expectations, and its loveable characters that make you want to root for their success.
What automatically drew me into the series was how unique the anime is in its structure. The logic that the cast operates off of is far more sensible and realistic than your standard romantic comedy. Rather than dragging out a mindless dramatic moment for the heck of it, they nip a misunderstanding or negative train of thought in the bud as they seek out a solution that makes far more sense. The twists are particularly hard-hitting as well with many of them come out from left field in a way that leaves you jonesing for what’s next. When an episode ends on a strong note like Mai coming over Sakuta’s house to confront him about the fake relationship Koga was planning or Kunimi’s girlfriend showing Sakuta a social media account with Futaba posting seductive selfies, its hard not to have the air sucked right out of you. The anime thrives on such moments and it becomes a part of Seishun Buta Yarou‘s identity for the drama to be as shocking as it is satisfying. The pseudoscience also offers some fun times when you have the characters making sense of the enigmatic, shape-shifting state of the Adolescence Syndrome.
Part of the charm is also in how loveable the characters are. Sakuta and Mai’s chemistry make for so many fun moments where the two play off of each other while they handle the latest problem. Sakuta fits the “rascal” role to a T with how willing he is to go any length he feels is necessary to get his point across. Only a guy like Sakuta could approach a bully, and rather than just walking into his fist like other dense romcom protagonists or anime leads, he kicks him in the shins while he’s caught off-guard, steps on his face, and then pretends that he just stepped in poop before doing all of this. And rather than playing coy or getting overly embarrassed, Mai knows just the right steps to throw any of Sakuta’s clever one-liners right back in his face. They’re a very fun couple, and this level of fun also goes into the other characters as well. Koga’s countryside mannerisms, Kunimi’s status as Sakuta’s bro, his girlfriend’s efforts to gradually shed her ice queen reputation, Kaede’s ability to worm her way into our hearts as everyone’s imouto right before she regained her memories, Futaba’s love for science and the love she slowly starts to dedicate to herself, Nodoka being there for Mai and Sakuta even if she doesn’t entirely understand how the two operate. There’s no shortage of characters who make us want to cheer for them as they face both their everyday lives and the mysteries that come from the Adolescence Syndrome. My personal favorites are Futaba and Nodoka. Futaba for her tendencies to brew coffee in the lab equipment, her need to find a scientific explanation for every phenomenon, and the struggles she goes through as she confronts her unrequited love for both Kunimi and her desires to be closer with her friends. And Nodoka for how much she truly cares about Mai, how she warms up to Sakuta to the point where she’s more than happy to help him and Kaede out, and the trials she faces as she puts more faith into her own abilities.
It’ll be sad to bid Seishun Buta Yarou farewell, but luckily, it isn’t a permanent goodbye. With the film coming up in the horizon that dives into Shouko’s role in Sakuta’s life, it’ll be bound to give us more time with the characters and ambiance created by the series and the beach town of Enoshima. While it will take some time to get used to not having my Wednesday “KIMI NO SEI” fix, I’m glad to have experienced such as gratifying and enjoyable romance this Fall. I’m looking forward to the prospect of seeing some of the stories translated such as the Futaba and Nodoka arcs, but above all else, I’m excited to see what’s in store for the series’ future with the upcoming movie.
Not having read the source material, and hoping the movie that covers her arc gets translated quickly, I’m going to say that Shouko isn’t imaginary or a concept but exists as more of a time traveling paradox built around her own adolescence syndrome.
The paradox comes from where Shouko-san got her ideals which she instilled in Sakuta… which is from Sakuta himself, who got them from Shouko-san who got them from Sakuta and on and on.
We start off prior to the series with Kaede’s syndrome leading to Sakuta’s breakdown which is healed by his encounter with Shouko-san who instills in him the belief in being a better person every day. Sakuta takes her words to heart and eventually meets Shouko-chan and through whatever arc is next ends up helping her and instilling in her the same ideals which Shouko-san passed on to him. Skip to several years later and Shouko-san is dealing with her own Adolesence Syndrome (if I had to guess maybe linked to feeling indebted to Sakuta for all he’s done for her) and ends up projecting herself back in time to key points where Sakuta needs her support and perhaps ultimately overcoming her own syndrome when Sakuta is able to confess the feelings he had for her and how much her presence has helped him, giving her a sense of closure.
Thanks! This helps to give insight on Shouko. I wasn’t able to draw the lines together that she was woven into part of the Adolescence Syndrome by lingering in Sakuta’s life, building a complex around the role she played that day to become almost like a phantom or spectre when she’s going through something as abstract of an issue as the Syndrome.
Hmmm interesting theory…but i’m more inclined to think that shoko is an imagination from sakuta, because if i’m not wrong first time sakuta meet with shoko-san was when he got a scar in his chest and now he met shoko-san when his chest bleeding again.
Mai is not mad at Sakuta being comfort by Shouko. She’s mad that she herself cannot be there for him.
I figured that was the case when Nodoka came to visit, but it was further cemented when she explained it after sharing the jacket. And given how much she feels guilty about the long distance relationship at times, it also stings that instead of coming to her for help, it’s Shouko who swoops in to help him
Agh, let the weeb/otaku fantasies run wild. The poor “unfortunate souls…” Agh, the unrealistic bars are set.
Remember when middle school school Shouko was first introduced back in episode six where she was shielding a poor, helpless cat from the rain? Well this time, it’s Sakuta’s turn. She is practically his personal angel.
And yes, no romantic aspirations between these two, apart from Sakuta’s initial deep love two years prior. Of course, a different parallel universe have it differently. But for this particular universe, there is none between the two.
A very entertaining series indeed as long as one doesn’t take it too seriously.
Futaba never fails to completely miss the mark with her “explanations”. 3 people saw younger version of Shoko, this time she left a note (seen later by Mai) – “Shoko is a figment of your imagination”. Is she even trying?
The Adolescent Syndrome would allow even a figment of imagination to do that.
That was a bit rushed but at least Kaede’s problem got resolved.
Who or what is Shoko Makinohara anyway? Find out next time in the movie!
They did race through Kaede’s side of the story now that she remembers her past. It’s good to see things are shaping up, but we barely got to see the side of Kaede that is her regular self.
I thought at first that old Shoko coming back into Sakuta’s life was related to Kaede’s adolescence syndrome affliction since she came back right after old Kaede came back, but it would seem Shoko’s mystery is deeper than just that.
What a self-centered bitch. Sakuta would have been much better off with his now-disappeared imouto.
Along with what luckyman was saying, it’s easy to see why Mai was feeling upset when she’s spent much of her time depressed that she couldn’t be by her boyfriends side normally due to her job, but then comes to find out that her absence made Sakuta resort to getting help from another girl behind her back. Given how tricky it can be for a couple in a long distance relationship to allocate time together, it’d have to sting to not only have your boyfriend lie to you about being fine with you away, but also have him hide the fact that another girl cheered him up.
It is similar in a sense to what Sakuta felt about Kaede where he feels selfish for building a connection with the imouto Kaede when his real sister is back. Of course he’d be happy that she was fine, but because the newer Kaede became a part of him as well, it’s hard for him to move past the notion that he has to part ways with that side of Kaede, especially since he hasn’t been able to forgive himself for not being able to do anything for Kaede. That last point resonates the most with Mai’s reaction since Sakuta should know the feeling of guilt that comes from being powerless in a situation, and yet never had Mai in the equation during this time of need.
Also, who doesn’t know their significant other’s birthday?
Bruh, don’t you think you’re letting the few times we see Mai’s bad traits blind your judgement of her character as a whole a tad too much? I mean seriously, you call her self-centered but have you even seen episode 3 of the anime? Where her existence was practically at the verge of being erased from the memory of the single person left on earth who remembered her, yet she was willing to make the sacrifice for said person’s sake? She knew that Sakuta was the last person who she could still interact with, yet she allowed herself to be forgotten from his memory without a second thought. That’s no easy feat. It’s eaiser said than done. Imagine living amongst basically billions of people and not being able to interact with them and all that. And you have the guts to call her self-centered? Because of this one episode where we actually see her blunder? Where we actually see that she too, has her own weaknesses and that she is not perfect?? She’s human, so god forbid she can’t even make a mistake once?
While it will take some time to get used to not having my Wednesday “KIMI NO SEI” fix,
Bah. I have no idea how to quote correctly…
I’ll have to keep an eye on it. I might not get it, but I will probably get the ED theme at the drop of a hat. The ED for this show is perfect.
Her reaction was perfectly understandable. She loves sakuta much more than people give her credit for, but mainly due to how mature she always acts and doesn’t do the cliche going swon swon over her BF it doesn’t show that much . I would be extremely depressed too, if the one I love so much ended up in a huge crisis and was supported all the way by NOT ME and someone else instead.
Despite the her hard outer shell, she is just teenage girl inside and being selfish is being of their nature !
He was supported by somebody else because Mai wasn’t there when he needed her the most, probably the most in his entire life. Shouko is a “strange existence” who manifests when Sakuta is at a critical point and really needs support. Mai needs to understand that, especially because she’s had her own Puberty Syndrome problems and also because her acting job takes her away frequently.
Also she knows, she is being selfish, hence the apology at the end. Cut her some slack man. You expecting too much out of a teenage girl !
Sorry, I’ve had too many problems in my own life caused by selfish teenage girls to have any real sympathy with her!
Her outburst was normal for every human being, it’s based on being angry at herself (aka, the opposite of selfish), she was tolerant of everything the Protagonist did through the story (even him having a fake relationship with another girl) which is something nobody else would do, and nobody has the right to blame her for wanting to pursue the career she wants to.
Seriously, if one considers Mai selfish, then they’d consider everything but 2D wish-fulfillments as such.
Someone Mai is supposed to love was having a major, major crisis, a sort of on-the-verge-of-total-breakdown crisis (this is Japan, remember, you don’t normally raise your voice in public let alone run around screaming), and all she can do when she finds someone else (something else?) has saved him from the brink of insanity is treat him like shit? If that’s normal then I’m glad I don’t come in contact much with the sort of “normal” human beings you evidently do.
“Oh, I wonder what the amnesiac-me wrote in this journal.”
“What is all this loving Onii-chan?! And w…w… what do you mean with I snuck into his bed that morning to give him all my love?!”
That’s probably the most traumatic part of Kaede’s memories awakening. Kaede woke up as if it was the day after she was bullied, but time has not only jumped months and months into the future, but her family is completely different because of it. She’s in a different room from her old one with some of her possessions gone, her brother is having mental breakdowns over her health, her mother will never be the same after developing a disorder, and her dad had to move away, making it so that she may have to continue living without her parents.
Well her reaction here seems to be more comical than traumatic. Which is to be expected, seeing what stuff Kaede-chan wrote there ;P
Though it’s true that her situation is quite dark (not to mention that her brother basically lost another little sisters, as Kaede-chan and Kaede-san are different people, which would be a starnge feeling for her), but I imagine if the author touches on it, it would be in a later arc.
It’s a bit of a shame that the Anime ended here. It would be interesting to see the changed family dynamics at home, and to have seen more of Kaede-san in this episode (as much as I like the shippy scene, I did feel a bit annoyed that Kaede-san got so little spotlight, though the director’s decision is understendable).
While yes, I do feel sad that the Kaede we knew isn’t the real Kaede we should know. But Sakuta shouldn’t feel so broken up by it. Think upon how Sakuta’s mother is doing having to come to terms that her daughter had amnesia. The purpose of both Sakuta taking care of Kaede alone was so Sakuta’s old man can deal with his wife this way of life was a means to an end. So in a way it is better that Kaede recovered.
For all intents and purposes, a girl who was Sakuta’s second sister has died. She was her own person, with her own personality, likes, and dreams, and now she is dead. Kaede-chan wasn’t just Kaede-san without memories, but from the blank point she was already different. And Sakuta made it pretty clear that. as far as he is concerned, the two Kaedes are two vastly different people.
Nobody says that return of real Kaede is a bad thing, but it doesn’t change the fact that someone dear to him died alongside it, and grief over a loved ones’s death trumps every other emotion. Feelings care not about reason or gains.
I do see what you mean, yes Kaede we know is gone but, her circumstances was a launching bay for Sakuta and Mai. The writers could have neglected to bring back Kaede original and kept Kaede alternative bringing this adolescent disorder to a cliffhanger and no closure to the story. Most Anime do this, Sakuta would have continued on this path solving adolescent disorder cases along with Mai and others supporting him along the way. The writers opted to bring in Kaede original, close the story for Kaede so Sakuta can have a life with Mai.
Shoko Makinohara = Sakuta’s IMAGINARY FRIENDS, just like Blue
Gah! Still no kiss. 🙂
Love the series. Let’s see what the movie brings.
Had mixed feelings after the episode, until I learned about the upcoming movie next year which will probably answer all remaining questions. It seems when they got the ok for the movie they decided to wrap things quickly in the series, kinda like with Gundam ZZ and Char counter attack movie
I feel like in the movie, Kaede chan will come back and fuse with old kaede… And she will remember everything. Because lets admit it that is way better ending than just reverting the old kaede with no memories of the new. And There’s no way that the everyone’s little sister will vanish just like that… NO WAY!!! And also it seems like the diary will be a significant tool for that. But well… Like I can wish for shenanigans like that… T_T
I understand what you mean by getting your “Kimi no Sei” fix. That song made an impression on me right away with its unique sound and I looked up the group. They’re an actual girl band (as opposed to a singer with instrumental backup) called “The Peggies” and they’re quite good. And cute.
I am not usually into romcoms but this show was simply brilliant and only watched because of the rave reviews on this site. Thanks again for showing my the light…There relationship reminded me very much of another fast talking anime with a supernatural girl and a not so normal guy but can’t remember the name of it. aarrghh!! can’t remember! Something with scissors in it as well. Bakemonogatari!!!
So instead of finding out whether pre-amnesia (Kanji) Kaede’s personality is similar to the likes of Kirino and Sagiri (and whether she’s still friendly to the cats like her amnesiac/Hiragana self did), the focus shifts to Sakuta and his own despair event horizon about losing the Kaede he’s known for the last couple of years (as well as triggering his own Adolescence Syndrome). But apparently, it’s always at the lowest moments of Sakuta’s life where Shouko appears.
Shouko Makinohara…a mystery wrapped inside an enigma. That being said, the fact that Mai read Shouko’s note for Sakuta means that Shouko is tangible at the very least (more so if the middle-school version of Shouko is the same person). Can’t wait for the movie to reveal who she is and what her circumstances are. (And for Aniplus Asia to distribute the movie for screening at local cinemas next year!)
I was expecting another moment killer (along the lines of “your 15 minutes of lovey-dovey time is up”), but this was a better comedic twist.
Either Sakuta brought Hiragana!Kaede’s diary to the hospital ward or it was Shouko who did. Still nice to see that although Kanji!Kaede and Hiragana!Kaede’s personas didn’t merge, Kanji!Kaede still acknowledges the time Hiragana!Kaede spent with Sakuta–and even acts a little more friendlier toward her brother! (Hiragana!Kaede still best imouto, though–at least for those wondering where I stand in the so-called “Kaede Civil War.”)
Seishun Buta Yarou in a nutshell: Come for the bunnygirl fanservice, stay for the well-written narrative with meaningful, straight-to-the-heart messages. That, or the excellent romantic chemistry between Mai and Sakuta. Also, even though Mai is best girl, Tomoe, Rio, Nodoka, Kaede and Shouko are all good girls in their own way. (Definitely worth 4 out of 5 stars, if not more.)
Might as well watch the full music video for “Kimi no Sei” and listen to the song one last time. And damn it, Enoshima seems like a more tempting destination to visit now…
Enoshima is a nice place to visit. I tried to rush through in two hours, but couldn’t finish. I plan to spend a day trip to there and Kamakura on my next trip. To compare, Enoshima is like Lake Tahoe to the San Francisco Bay Area or the Hamptons to New York. However, unless you go specifically for scene hunting, I think there are higher priorities if it is your first trip. For some reason, Enoshima, Kamakura, and Fujisawa (Shonan) is a popular setting for anime and manga.
IIRC, MF Ghost (Shuichi Shigeno’s sequel manga to Initial D) and Tari Tari (another anime that also stars Asami Seto) is also set in Enoshima.
From my experience traveling to Japan back in July, a couple to a few hours is never enough to explore and get the feel of a place (unless it’s an area inside and around a mall like Diver City in Odaiba). One day is also not enough to visit places in Osaka or Kyoto, although if you’re going to see just one tourist spot (e.g.: Himeji Castle), sometimes one day is fine. The one-day bus tour to the Hakone area was pretty good too–and it even left some time to check out Shibuya once the tour was done.
I only had half a day to go around Akihabara and it just wasn’t enough thanks to how vast the place is. Not to mention one could spend hours upon hours looking at anime merchandise at the many shops there–with some shops having multiple floors.
And here I thought visiting Japan was going to be a “one-and-done” thing on my bucket list that I can move on from. Turns out there are more places there that I’d love to visit (Hiroshima’s Yamato Museum and Peace Memorial Park, Oarai in Ibaraki, Numazu in Shizuoka, Nakano Broadway in Tokyo, and now add Enoshima to that list)–or re-visit in the case of Osaka, Kyoto, and Akihabara.
Thoroughly enjoyed most of this series. Especially with the characters. But the ending, while decent, it really left me with an unsatisfied feeling. A slight feeling of closure, but not satisfaction. Maybe it’s a “buy tickets to watch the movie” message coming across.
In memory of かえで. She’s had it hard, but still managed to go with a smile. At least she managed to tick off almost all of her goals. It also looks like her body will still manage to finish them. Will definitely be missed by the 3-4 people that knew her.
Would had been nice if they gave us a strong ending and not this semi cliffhanger with a movie to tie up loose ends. The series isn’t memorable enough for me to countdown until the movie comes out. Goes into the enjoyed while it aired, but forgettable pile.