The best arc of the series had the best ending, as Junichi manages to draw out the animated, obstinate Tsukasa he knows and loves. Frankly, it would have been a huge cop-out if it was literally the case of her suffering memory or personality loss. It turns out, she had just buried that other side of her because she misreads Junichi’s vague words. In reality, he loves all the sides of her, and doesn’t want her “erasing” any of them. Once he makes her understand this, she can be at rest.
Mind you, this isn’t before she Kicks. Junichi’s. Ass, which is an awesome way for the “raw” Tsukasa to re-surface (Thus we’re briefly treated to Amagami MM!). She’s also finally able to reveal why she is the way she is. When she discovered Santa didn’t exist, she decided that she’d be Santa; that is, she’d be the source of everyone’s happiness. Somewhere down the road “everyone’s” became simply “her’s”, and she developed her merciless drive towards perfection. But that way would only breed loneliness. Luckily, Junichi volunteered to help her out, and you know the rest.
Having confessed their love and devotion to one another, we jump forward ten years, to the cutest of epilogues, if a bit saccharine. Junichi and Tsukasa are a married couple with a cute-as-a-button daughter, attending the founder’s festival once again. They’re positively oozing happiness; but not fake or forced happiness, but the real stuff. It was a nice touch, and establishes that they didn’t just share a high school fling, but a lifelong love.
Ayatsuji Tsukasa was so dynamic and fun to watch, she’s the one girl I wish had an extra episode or two to explore. But the final episode will instead feature Kamizaki Risa, a new girl. As of now I think I’d prefer either more Tsukasa, or for the ending to feature the girl who originally stood Junichi up. Then again, the series can’t exactly end with a cold rejection, now can it? Rating: 4
I was a bit dubious of Shiki’s unique, out-there character design, just as I was with House of Five Leaves, but in both cases, simply watching them through has totally eliminated that stigma. And having so intricately built up a story with so many characters and motivations, the final payoff is made all the more awesome. Toshio and his followers (led by Ookawa) go on a staking spree, but only succeed in destroying a third of the Shiki; there are other hiding places.
Some Shiki have resorted to desperate measures: murdering Toshio’s mother as retaliation and to send a message to other humans; an enraged Seishirin picking off humans with his rifle; and even a glamored human being sent out as assassins. It’s all underhanded and not what Sunako wanted at all. She’s still in the basement with Seishin, growing more and more afraid of her expectant demise. You can’t help but sympathize with her: though she’s killed thousands in her centuries of life, it was always so she wouldn’t starve. She now questions whether it would have been better to starve; if her life itself is a sin that shouldn’t be.
Meanwhile, Tohru finally surrenders to Ritsuko’s refusal to feed off of her friend. She wishes to avoid detesting herself by not killing anyone, even at the cost of her life. She wishes she had never risen. Tohru’s pleas are no use; all he can do is make her comfortable in her waning hours. At some point, Sunako, Tohru, and all the others made the choice to live and live with the guilt, a choice Ritsuko isn’t capable of making. She is a nurse, after all. It is truly heart-wrenching to see her suffer, but breaking her will would be worse.
Which brings us to Toshio’s dilemma: their enemies aren’t just Shiki, but the humans they control through drinking their blood. Ookawa splits the village into black-and-white: good guys (them) versus bad guys (the Shiki and the “traitors”. Ookawa even stakes the human assassin, disturbing Toshio. He absolutely does not want humans murdering other humans, but what choice do they have when they’re coming to kill them? We’re in for a hell of a final two episodes. Rating: 4
Last week Miyuki told the cops that Yakumo’s dad would kill Isshin. This week he all but does, as blood loss from a stabbing results in his brain death. We’re not sure who stabs him though, as spirits can’t handle physical objects. What we do learn is that at least part of him now possesses Miyuki, and through inducing a seizure, she has been released from prison. Something tells me she’ll slip out of the hospital without to much difficulty.
The real meat of this episode was how everyone dealt with Isshin’s plight. Yakumo knew he had a year to live anyway, and lets Haruka know. Both Haruka and Gotou’s roles are similar now: Haruka needs to be there for Yakumo, and Gotou needs to be there for Nao. He’s even sent home to spend time with his new ward, which means also spending actual time with his beautiful but sheltered wife. They have a very interesting relationship: they hardly see each other or talk, yet they love each other deeply. All but adopting Nao could be the best thing to ever happen to all involved.
In a final gesture of her resolve to stay by his side, Haruka presents Yakumo with a red contact for his non-red eye. She’ll have to, if he’s to stay out of the darkness his father wants him in. This rich episode even managed tie up the loose end of the patient-haunting girl at the hospital, whose heart Isshin soothed. I will certainly miss his cool-headed, zen presence, but his demise wasn’t in vain, as it brought people closer together. Rating: 4