The choir club defies the school board chairman with the support of the principal and vice principal, and hold their White Festival in the school’s central courtyard as the rainclouds part. Afterwords, Sawa announces she’s going abroad to train to be a jockey. The others graduate and send her a video, then set to work pursuing their various goals.
So in the end, the club gets its way, with the bad guy merely stepping aside and allowing the White Festival shortly after being assaulted by Principal Ikezaki and having his pants pulled down in front of five minors. For someone who has a chaffeur and designated umbrella holder, he sure gives in easily, but we suppose with the growing audience to the confrontation, he wanted to avoid bad PR. So, the club got to sing the song Wakana and her mom wrote. And while we don’t want to pooh-pooh one of the focal points of the series, we have to point out that if you’re going to make that focal point a song, it had better be a good one. So to be painfully honest, we found the song, and the dramatic performance, a bit cloying. It just didn’t do it for us.
We were always more interested in the characters, not in their songs, but everyone other than Wakana is given a bit of a short shrift. Konatsu remains unsure of what she wants to do, so she goes to college. Sawa rides horses abroad. Taichi plays badminton, and misses Sawa, whom he never asked out. Wien…goes back to Austria and meets his pen pal. All of these are kernals and jumping-off points for potentially interesting stories, but the series had no more time to delve into them. A serviceable end to a pleasant-enough series that never quite got there with the characters – something Kokoro Connect has thus far excelled at.
Rating: 6 (Good)
Sawa’s injuries are minor, but cause enough of a scare that she must withdraw from the tournament for liability reasons. He also tells her to step back from her dream of beinga jockey and go to college. Back at school, the club’s practice room has been stolen by the music majors; a pissed-off Sawa chews them out. They go to Wien’s house to practice, but his piano is out of tune. Sawa tells everyone what’s biting her, but Wakana echoes Sawa’s dad, and Sawa snaps at her. When the vice principal allows the club to audition for the main stage, Sawa is home sulking, but the rest of the club convinces her to come. With her bike at school, she must ride Sabure.
First of all, kudos to Tari Tari for not going the easy route of injuring Sawa to the extent she can’t continue; falling off the horse isn’t life- or limb-threatening, though it does expose her malnutrition to her father. Instead, this episode makes Sawa wrestle with trying to keep her dream alive when the facts of her life simply aren’t favorable to that dream. Even if she starves herself to the weight limit, she may grow too tall to be a jockey – and what’s the point of being light enough if you’re too weak to stay on your horse? Her dad isn’t the best at conveying his feelings to his teenage daughter, but he once again makes sense: it was naive for Sawa to simply press on without a backup plan, belieiving everything will turn out okay.
We like how Sawa’s realization is a weight that sours her usually pleasant disposition (we were pumping our fists when she unleashed a devastating tirade against the stuck-up music majors.) Another great moment is when Sawa hears her dad arguing her case on the phone with the equestrian school. This is after Sawa’s friends sang her a song over the phone to show they care about her and want her by their side. Fittingly, Sawa rides her horse to school, in a scene that’s equal parts heroic, redemptive, and absurd. We don’t even hear the last-minute audition, but considering what a stick-in-the-mud the vice principal is, we won’t speculate on whether they got a spot on the main stage. Sawa’s struggles aren’t over, but she’s not without hope – and she’s not alone.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Car Cameos: Sawa and her father take a Toyota Comfort taxi home, and a Toyota Alphard can be seen just before the train to Wien’s house passes by. While riding her horse Sabure through town, Sawa encounters a Toyota Soarer, AKA Lexus SC430.