One Week Friends – 12 (Fin)

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Yuuki’s present awkwardness with Kaori, and Saki’s avoidance of Kiryu, are both the fault of the guy, and it’s up to them to turn things around. Interestingly, it seems Kaori herself is the catalyst for all of it, by doing what we suggested Yuuki to do, and that is to not let one’s strenuous efforts to retain every past memory interfere with the making of new memories, which is how friendships strengthen and grow.

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She also asks Kiryu what’s up with Yuuki, and while he tells her grudgingly, he knows its something Yuuki may never admit to her: he’s afraid of being with her, lest she one day lost her memories. The tender earnestness of their exchange provides Kaori with much-needed piece of the puzzle (and the knowledge Yuuki doesn’t hate her), it also inspires Kiryu to sort out his own self-made problem.

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The conciliatory scene between Kiryu and Saki isn’t long, but it’s extremely sweet. Kiryu capitalizes on the fact their group is up on the rooftop cleaning to confront Saki, and on her inability to run too far away from him, owing to her modest height. Saki merely misinterpreted his reaction to her proposal, something he apologizes for. He agrees to keep letting her rely on him since she’s so intent on it, though he won’t “baby” her the way her girlfriends do. What goes unsaid is that he doesn’t mind being her rock, because he likes her, but it’s implied in their agreement.

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With that couple’s problem efficiently resolved, it’s back to Yuuki and Kaori, whom everyone, even Kujo, notices a change in their behavior, like they’re forcing themselves. They seriously needed to work things out, so I was heartened when the news came both of them would be going on winter breaks with their families, because that felt like a dead giveaway they’d end up crossing paths.

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Sure enough, both their family trips are cancelled (or those plans never existed in the first place…?) Yet despite this, Yuuki and Kaori walk to the same bridge in what they think are futile hopes of seeing the other there. Their mutual shock and elation at finding each other there is lovely to behold. Though many opportunities arise to part ways, they end up spending the whole day together, because the truth is, neither wants to part ways.

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First, thank God, at long last, they FINALLY HIT UP THE CRÊPE PLACE! I’m in full agreement with Kaori that it’s “like a dream” watching them sitting there, enjoying the crêpes, together. Had the episode not done this, there’d be a far lower score at the bottom of this review, believe it. The dull grey of their surroundings is pushed to the edges of the frame by their warm colors; they look less in a gloomy fog and more in a kind of fluffy heaven.

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Yuuki walks her home, but they come across a shrine and decide to pray to it. Then Kaori starts to cry out of frustration, not knowing what to do in light of Yuuki’s wishy-washy behavior. While she doesn’t know what to do, she knows what she wants, and tells him: she wants to talk to him more, spend more time with him, and become ever closer friends. You know, what Yuuki wants. His wrongheaded attempts to keep her from crying caused her to cry.

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To Yuuki’s credit, he snaps out of his funk, hits himself in the face and insults himself for being such a dolt, and apologizes to Kaori, and goes further to say he wants the same things she does, and lastly, giving her a genuine, unforced smile, borne out of the progress they just made. From now on, they’ll worry less about losing the past or being burned in the future, but focus on making as many new memories together, in the present, as they can. They’re no longer just one-week friends.

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Final Cumulative Score: 8.33
MAL Score: 8.05

Stray Observations:

  • This was a thoroughly beautiful-looking episode, really making the cold overcast winter sky a major character all its own in terms of setting the mood and reinforcing that this was the end, or winter, of the show.
  • Like we said, as Kaori and Yuuki drew closer, they became a warm island, making the monochromatic starkness less ominous.
  • That’s not to say the whole episode was colorless save the characters. Kaori’s talk with Kiryu has a gorgeous palette and composition reminding us of a de Chirico painting, which also inspired the creator of Ico. An appropriate aesthetic, considering how isolated and lost Kaori was feeling.
  • Good on both Kiryu and Yuuki for getting over themselves, admitting they’re at fault, apologizing, and working to make things right. Like I said, the balls were in their courts.
  • I’ll admit I *gulped* when Kaori crossed the street, trailing behind Yuuki.
  • It’s notable that this episode didn’t contain any classic or overt “confessions”, but nor were they necessary, since couples are now on the same wavelength.
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Gokukoku no Brynhildr – 12

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This episode essentially started at “checkmate” with Mako and Chisato cornering Ryouta and his harem, but thanks to a lot of quick thinking, stalling, a trump card or two, a sacrifice, and a ghost it turns out to just be “check”; the game isn’t over. The episode relishes this standoff and explores the possibilities accordingly, keeping the specter of everyone dying just close enough to be taken seriously.

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The first thing Ryouta does is activate the mysterious GPS, because why not? Worst-case, more bad guys come, but there’s a possibility someone else could come too, which is what ultmately happens. Even so, he can’t stay Mako’s hand indefinitely (and calling her Valkyrie, a nickname she detests, doesn’t help matters). He gets in the way of her blast to save Neko, tearing out the side of his torso in the process.

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At death’s door, Nanami appears in his head and tells him Neko is more powerful even than Mako if she’s unlocked using the top button on her harnest. But with a 99.9% chance she’ll go out of control and die, he can’t do it. He’s ready for the end, but then Hatsuna, who was cut in half by Mako but healed, repays her debt, giving her life to heal him (he still needs mouth-to-mouth and CPR from Neko and Kazumi to be revived). Haruna hangs up and melts, but not completely, and a hint of life in the last shot of her suggests we haven’t seen the last of her.

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Why does Chisato allow all this to happen? Well, he peaced out with Mako and Kotori after the timely arrival of Hexenjagd (Witchhunt), a shadowy organization fighting Chisato’s lab. You’d think they’d be natural allies of Ryouta & Co., but their first duty is to exterminate all the lab’s witches, and not for the reason we thought (so the lab wouldn’t have weapons). The real reason is far more chilling: the Drasil, aliens inside them are growing. If they hatch, they’ll devour the witches who bore them and then hunt mankind.

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Chisato manages to make off with Kotori—turns out she and not Neko was 1107. Kotori has the brain of Chisato’s dead daughter Rena, and that brain, and the prospect of bringing her consciousness back, is more important than any other life to him; the one exception to his credo that all lives besides your own are worthless. He even trashes Mako behind her back, which could come back to bite him later, even if she still says she loves him.

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That “later” will have to come quick, since there’s only one more episode left, and the show has decided to make the drama and peril a global affair, as the Drasil within Kotori will melt all of humanity if it hatches. To go from Ryouta and his humble harem to all of humanity in one episode is a big leap in scale, but the way the witches have been treated thus far has been hinting at the possibility of such a leap. Can they clean up this mess in a satisfying fashion?

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Stray Observations:

  • Hexenjagd make a bad-ass entrance, but their quasi-Christian getup is kinda lame. For a show so devoted to including fanservice wherever it can, this was a wasted opportunity for Miki to show some skin.
  • Chisato’s Taxi Driver-style spring-arm holster was a nice touch, surprising his surprisers.
  • Kazumi’s brief moment of jealousy watching Neko give Ryouta the kiss of life was one of the only moments of levity in the episode.
  • Our memory’s not as strong as Ryouta’s, but it occurs to us the clues of Kotori being the real 1107—a target Chisato wanted intact—may have existed in prior episodes.
  • The blue light painting the sky from Kotori’s alien hatching looks a bit like a cocktail umbrella from space.