Love me or Leave me
Come on Kaoruuuu, sing along, the words come naturally! Babababa-baaaang~
Haaah, with a show like this, I keep on resisting the urge to say “This was great”, leave the post like that, and then scamper off to listen to the jam session all day. When every part of the episode is used to progress some strand of the entire whole, it creates a very connected experience with which is easy to fall in love with, to drift away in the enthrallment, I almost run out of words to say. I’m not just saying that either, it’s honestly refreshing to have a show come together so well, it’s just…
It’s really nice.
But this ain’t the last episode, so I gotta stop acting like that. But as far as stories go, this episode appears to wrap up Jun bro’s, and in what a way. Receiving a proposition to form a publishing company with his injured comrade, Junichi is finally taking the steps he needs to get over the last year or so and continue on with his life. However in order to do this, he would have to move to Tokyo full-time, leaving behind the small seaside town. This includes the clearly dismayed Yurika and the distant Sentaro.
Starting from the latter. After their last encounter where Sentaro had his heart broken, and the one previous where Junichi nearly experienced the same with his jaw, the two ain’t on good terms. Kaoru’s sentiments echo in this regard, how Sentaro’s previous adornment of his older brother figure has turned into something so sour, this is the last chance for either of them to bid farewell and not leave their ties in such a mess. And with his letter of challenge, it’s pretty clear that even Sentaro realized that. But when words won’t do anything but deepen whatever rift the too have developed, they take their one remaining tie and duke out their feelings with music. And as is with every music session in the series, it hits all the right chords of emotions. Extra note to Ritsuko’s dad who nearly tears up as Junichi leaves, after which he essentially says ‘get a haircut hippie’. He really doesn’t play a prominent role, but man, he’s a good dad with some choice advice.
Moving on to the former. Yurika faces Junichi with her words, although not before having some with Ritsuko. And what she says contains what I think is one of the most important life lessons around. Sentaro approached Ritsuko about her feelings, and it turns out to have been a mistake once she turns him down. But it was the mistake of someone brave enough to even get that far, for someone who dared to be mistaken in the first place. And it’s these people feel pain, but they learn, they live, and these are the people who open themselves up to an impossible amount of great possibilities. Ritsuko took this to heart as she went to retrieve the half-knitted woolen mittens she had thrown away, in the process passing along the lesson to Yurika. And she confronts Junichi at the train station as he’s about to leave. And her daring pays off as she gets dragged on board at the last second, a totally satisfying end to their story. Another train scene for the history books~
And it conveniently paves the way for the main trio for the final three episodes. Ending with yet another memorable moment, one of the sweetest gift givings I’ve ever seen, Ritsuko is finally ready to confess to Kaoru. Considering Kaoru, this might take a while to get used to, but more important is how Sentaro pictures into all of this, and if his mistakes will finally pay off.