Asuka calls Haruto a liar and storms off. In the middle of the night he tells Rin about his situation, and she offers herself as a third choice, not helping. Back in Tokyo, Haruto dumps Asuka, who is crestfallen. He meets with Yuzuki and gives her his answer: they both desire the same thing: to be together. After thanking Rin for helping him come to a decision, he tells Yuzuki he’s planning to move out of his sister’s place. He encounters Asuka, who can’t bring herself to hate him.
That’s right, folks, in this series, the archetypal “good guy” dies of an unspecified illness and the loyal, trusting, devoted “good girl” gets her heart broken. The two people who caused everyone else the most pain – and therefore earned the most disdain from us – end up with each other, putting their happiness first. Is this selfish? Sure. But it’s also understandable. Haruto always did love Yuzuki and never fell out of love for her. No matter how profound Asuka saw her relationship with Haruto or how much she loved him, he never loved her as much as he loved Yuzuki. Their breakup was inevitable, and it was better to do it quickly than to draw it out. That’s not to say that the breakup wasn’t tremendously brutal to watch – it was…and we felt even worse when she said she’d take him back if it didn’t work out with Yuzuki.
Everything that happened came down to which town everyone lived in and when, making the title fitting. Rin drove Yuzuki out of their town and into Haruto’s, which is how the two met. When Yuzuki left, the distance cause them to drift apart. When Haruto followed her, his timing was off. When she rejected him before and after Kyousuke’s death, he went to Asuka. Then Yuzuki’s love for Haruto resurfaced, and the two reconnected in the town where they first fell in love, dooming Asuka. Several hearts were shuffled throughout this series’ run, but it just wasn’t in the cards for her. Rin too, for that matter: no matter how much she bad-mouthed him, she wanted Haruto too, but lost out to her sister, which was kinda karmic justice for mistreating Yuzuki.
Rating: 8 (Great)
While Haruto and Eba are visiting Kyousuke, his childhood friend Asakura Kiyomi rushes in and begs him to undergo surgery, which has a small chance of success but will kill him if it fails. Haruto and Eba think its his decision to make. Ultimately he chooses to get the surgery, but it fails and he dies, leaving everyone adrift.
Kiyomi is quickly introduced and is immediately unpleasant and volatile (giving Eba one of the most drawn-out bitch slaps in recent memory), but once Haruto is alone with her, she immediately becomes a more sympathetic character, who knows full well she’s being selfish, as she doesn’t want to lose Kyousuke, whom she loves. Like Haruto, her love is with someone else. They both take some solace in knowing their situation isn’t unique; in fact, it’s all too common.
This week Kyousuke dies in a bold but not unexpected move. The subtle transition to the reveal of his death hit hard (this show’s proving to be very good at that); we knew when Asuka let go of the umbrella that he was gone. After the sober funeral, Eba meets with Haruto to give him Kyousuke’s helmet, but she wonders if they’ll ever meet again, not encouraging for Haruto. All the emotions left in his late rival’s wake will be his true impediment to a future with Eba, along with his own grief.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
Eba tells Haruto about how she met Kyousuke in school and how he supported her when she had no one else to lean on. When she returned to Tokyo, she learned that he only had one year to live, so she decided to support him by being his girlfriend. When Haruto asks Asuka what to do, she tells him he can’t hide his true feelings for Eba from Kyousuke and still consider him a friend. Haruto visits Kyousuke and Eba in the hospital and declares war; Kyousuke accepts, and Haruto starts fighting to get Eba back.
Color us relieved that despite Eba’s desire to keep her romance with Haruto a secret, Haruto came out and told Kyousuke the truth as soon as he could. Asuka’s advice may threaten any chance she had with Haruto, but it also happens to be spot on. To our minds, it’s more of a betrayal for Haruto to hide his feelings for Eba than to be upfront and honest with Kyousuke about wanting to win her back. Kyousuke is happy Haruto did so, and even feels a bit guilty for stealing Eba in the first place. It takes guts to tell a friend on his deathbed that he’s in the way of your happiness, but that’s exactly what Haruto does.
Doing to might make him a HUGE cad, but it’s actually kind of exhilarating having such a selfish, contemptible asshole as the main character (He’s a bit like Yagami Light without the Death Note). And burying everything in would only make him hate Kyousuke with time. Haruto is looking out for Haruto. The problem is, we just don’t see any good reason for Eba to leave Kyousuke for him anytime soon, especially considering how obligated she feels to repay Kyousuke for the support he gave her in the past (plus the asshole part). But as slim as Haruto’s chances are of ever winning her back are, they’re still infinitely higher than they’d be if he’d never made the attempt. You can’t win if you don’t play.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
- Just one: Holy Crap, Eba’s sister Rin is an abusive bitch!
In a flashback, Yuzuki confesses to Haruto, and after he notices a girl who looks like her in a photo taken when he was a little kid, he goes through his diaries and discovers that he actually met Yuzuki years ago at the summer festival. Back in the present, Haruto confronts Yuzuki, demanding the truth about why she suddenly disappeared, which she says involves Kyousuke.
By employing a flashback and then another flashback within the flashback for the majority of the episode, we were worried we’d get lost in time or something, but it was an effective way of getting Haruto to learn just how far back his bond with Yuzuki goes. He forgot meeting her, you see, until Yuzuki finally came back as a teenager to live with him. It also shows that before he became a borderline stalker, he was a good kid who knew just how to cheer up a bored and weary city girl. It’s a very cute flashback, at any rate.
But like the blooms in the gourd-shaped lake (AKA fireworks), his encounter with Yuzuki was fleeting. When he thinks about it in the present, we can imagine him feeling that her presence in Hiroshima was fleeting as well, and he took her presence, her proximity, and her love for granted. Last week Haruto sensed something fishy about Yuzuki and Kyousuke, and while this episode confirms it, it doesn’t lay out what it is; it merely enriches Haruto’s past with her, possibly making whatever she’ll reveal to him next week sting all the more.
Rating: 6 (Good)
Both Asuka and Kyousuke are concerned when they see a visibly forlorn Haruto. Kyousuke takes him on an exhilarating ride on his motorcycle as a distraction, telling him whether he decides to find someone new or snatch back Eba from her new boyfriend, he’ll support him no matter what. When Kyousuke is about to start his bike back up, he passes out. Haruto gets him to the hospital, where he learns Kyousuke has anemia.
Asuka rushes to the room and Kyousuke tells her about Haruto’s plans regarding his ex. Kyousuke mentions he had to persevere to get his current girlfriend, and when she arrives in the room, it turns out to be Eba Yuzuki. She and Haruto pretend not to know each other for Kyousuke’s sake, and Haruto leaves. While walking home with Asuka, Haruto says he’ll give up on his ex, which pleases her. Still, re-reading the break-up text Eba sent him and recalling what Kyousuke said in the hospital, Haruto suspects something fishy is going on.
This week’s heart-sinking twist further cements this series’ status as a bonafide anime soap opera, deriving much of its appeal from creating moments of intense emotional drama between characters. As a result, it’s not for everyone, but we’re on board. The knife is twisted for Haruto when he suddenly learns that his best mate’s girlfriend is the same girl he came to Hiroshima to win back, something his mate is gung ho about helping him with. Things would have been cleared up pretty fast had Haruto and Eba come clean about their past relationship, but neither felt it the time or the place, which brings us to Kyousuke himself, who’s been dealt just as bad if not a worse hand than Haruto.
Sure, he has the girl he always wanted after much “desperate perseverance”, but if he knew that Eba was Haruto’s true love, he’d probably feel pretty bad, and conflicted to boot. If/when he does learn the truth, he’ll feel betrayed by both of them for keeping him from the truth. Add to that the illness he suffers from that may keep him from pursuing his dream to race motorcycles, and Kyousuke’s is hardly an enviable position. Except Haruto can’t help but envy him; he has her girl. And even though Haruto told Asuka he was giving up (which in her mind means she may now have a chance with him), Haruto still manages to find something fishy that compels him to run out of his sister’s apartment in search of more answers to why everything is so messed up.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
Kirishima Haruto moves from Hiroshima into his sister Ami‘s apartment in Tokyo, where he can be closer to Eba Yuzuki, whom he deems to be his true love. He meets his neighbor and classmate Mishima Asuka and his other classmate Kazama Kyousuke. Mishima treats him like a burglar at first, and mocks his Hiroshima accent, but she eventually softens and a friendship is forged. Haruto runs into Yuzuki’s sister Rin, and tells her his intentions with her sister.
The question we asked ourselves before unpacking this, the thirteenth Summer series, was, “Did we choose the wrong Gonzo series?” We didn’t even though this one existed until a couple of days ago. We’ve seen both of the OVAs, and the second one was a big improvement over the first, so we decided to give this a look, and it was much better than the third episode of InuHasa (not saying much, we know.) Was it perfect? No. But it was a nice, quiet, “moving to the big city” episode, and we were able to connect with the characters.
His relationship with softball ace and girl-next-door Mishima Asuka gets off to a rough start with some childish bickering, but we enjoy how their nascent relationship evolves from adversity to a mutual understanding. Haruto is actually acts pretty smug around her, but she seems to sense the vulnerability he’s hiding, which stems from the very reason he’s in the big city in the first place: to reconnect with his estranged soul mate, who we never hear from and only catch the slightest glance of. But that’s sure to change.
Rating:7 (Very Good)