Sket Dance – 64

When Bossun (with Himeko inside) is momentarily left alone, Saaya approaches him wanting to talk. She asks him what he thinks of Himeko, and Himeko tells her “he” has no special feelings. Himeko then asks her what she thinks of Bossun, and all she can tell her/him is that “he is on her mind.” Later Himeko has to sleep with Bossun in the only spare futon in Chuu-san’s room, and asks Bossun if what she said about her was what he would have said, and he concurs. In a post-credits omake, the Sket-dan and other classmates are in an RPG world trying to assign themselves jobs, but hardly any are desirable thanks to Remi’s writing errors.

One of the more annoying aspects of Sket Dance is that it is constantly, well, dancing around the issue of Bossun and Himeko’s relationship. Clearly, the two of them are closer to each other than Switch, and yet both are either oblivious or petrified of their relationship ever being given a concrete definition. They’re always in limbo. Even Bossun’s apparent aggrement with Himeko’s improvisation as him – that he harbored no “special feelings” towards her, isn’t enough to quell our doubt.

It’s all in the wording: what she said (as him) may match what he’d say were he in his own body when Saaya talked to him, but it’s not the complete truth. That’s what he’d say, not what he truly thinks. We think these two have feelings, but just won’t acknowledge it. Alas, until whenever this series ends, it’s probably an issue that will never be resolved to our satisfaction, so all we can say is c’est la vie, and Saaya apparently has a chance at Bossun, since Himeko didn’t ruin it for him. As for the RPG omake, it was good for a chuckle or two, but nothing outstanding.

Rating: 3

Sankarea – 12 (Fin)

Furuya starts wavering in the face of the responsibility of caring for Rea. Is it posssible to give her the normal life he promised, or is he holding her back? Rea insists she’s fine with the way things are, but wants to start going to school. When the fireworks festival rains out, Ranko suggests they have their own. Rea continues to feel uncomfortable with Ranko, but they have a talk while Ranko helps her into a yukata, and make their rivalry official. Furuya and Rea return to the bowling alley where they met, where Rea converts to zombie mode and bite-kisses him.

With Dan’Ichiro’s reluctant blessing and bestowing of his daughter’s welfare upon Furuya, the final episode of Sankarea marks mostly a return to the status quo; a comfortable resting spot upon which to wrap things up (although the very end was a little confusing; more on that later). Furuya doesn’t find a miracle remedy for Rea’s body rot; Gramps doesn’t have another lucid moment in which he reveals anything useful, and even though he has two girls gunning for him, he’s still not interested in making a choice between the two, because he’s more concerned with other things.

Ranko was thankfully toned-down in this episode, with her boobs never occupying a full frame, and her quick, direct “Yes, I love him” to Rea was as good a way as any to make her understand she won’t just let her have Furuya without a fight (Not a physical fight, obvviously; Rea would win easily). So much is left unresolved. Then there was the final scene, where Rea suddenly becomes dead-eyed and embraces Furuya. We imagine forget her hydrangea leaves, but with the series ending right there, it’s one final statement about how neither Rea nor Furuya have an easy road ahead. Perhaps the second OVA will expound on that.

Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Natsuiro Kiseki – 12 (Fin)

The day of the audition repeats; Yuka messes up at the audition again; they tour Tokyo, and all wake up back in Sumida again. They realize they wished on the big rock’s cousin for summer to never end. The day repeats numerous times; some days they go to the audition, other times they do other things. The only change to anyone else is Rin’s mother, who sees her off by saying something different each day. When her mom asks her when she comes home, Rin figures it out. The four have to thank the rock and say goodbye to summer vacation and the miracles it gave them. The wish is released and tomorrow comes.

If last week’s episode had ended with the first moment of this one – Natsumi waking up in her bed at home in Sumida, then opening her curtain to see Saki standing there – if it had ended just like that, we would have been satisfied. A sudden end, sure, but one that left open the fascinating possibility of a literally eternal summer. One in which Saki never moves; they have infinite chances to nail their idol audition, and they can essentially do whatever they want. But since this is not a noitaminA series, it has twelve episodes, and it decides to not only show us that timeloop, but how the girls ultimately get out of it, and grow in the process.

One reason we love timeloop episodes so much is that deep down, they’re, well…they’re creepy. For humans, time moves forwards and that’s it. When it starts behaving strangely, it opens up a whole can of worms about the nature of our very existence, which can be be unpleasant. Not only that, it’s fun to watch the characters react to this anomaly. A never-ending summer sounds fantastic, but it gets old fast, because it will always get old fast as long as you wake up in the same place at the same time you did yesterday. Everytime the day resets, you feel you exerted all that energy yesterday for nothing; it wears on you.

As a timeloop, it employed lots of montages, which did a good job of quickly portraying the fact that many days were passing and they were getting a lot done, but Rin’s mom, who introduced them to the big rock, subtly prods her daughter to end it soon, or “come home”, as she calls it. The rock’s miracles are…miraculous, but they aren’t everything. Life for the girls can’t truly continue until they release their wish and return to normal time. Life goes on, and Saki moves, but the girls wish one more time – on the now dormant rock – that they’ll stay friends forever. Bawwww.

Rating: 9 (Superior)