Sukitte Ii na yo – 13 (Fin)

The day after a long walk with Mei, Yamato catches a cold and stays home from school. Nagi also plays hooky to take care of him. Mei’s friends make her leave school early, but when she calls Yamato, Nagi answers, telling her he doesn’t want to see her. Asami calls her and the guys encourage her to see him. Meanwhile Hayakawa calls Yamato, telling him he has a new girlfriend. Yamato gets it in his head it’s Mei, and races to the bakery, just missing Mei. When she calls him his battery is dead. She wanders to a sculpture where they met up for a date, and he appears just as she’s composing another text.

Was this going to be an indulgent, feel-good epilogue showing Mei and Yamato, Yamato and Mei, the perfect little couple skipping around town having adventures and taking things nice and slow? Uhhh…no. Instead, “Say ‘I Love You'” put both Mei and Yamato and us through an emotional spin cycle for twenty-two minutes and fifty-five seconds. There’s drama. There’s despair. There’s suspicion, regret, and doubt. There’s a whole lot of unfortunate coincidences. But then there’s one more coincidence that works out: Yamato and Mei meet by that sculpture, and all the confusion and exasperation melts away with one big ‘ol hug and in this exchange:

– Sorry for what happened earlier. Nagi had my phone…
It’s okay.

We’re not so sure it was ‘okay’ back when Mei thought Yamato was mad at him for pushing him away when he tried to get lovey-dovey, or when Yamato, possibly delirious, got worried Mei thought he was gross and got with Hayakawa instead. These two lovebirds still clearly have much to learn about handling their love for one another, but with help and support from their friends (Asami, Kenji, Aiko, Masashi and Kai all provide nice assists), they’ll doubtless muddle through just fine. They’re already in love with one another, after all. All the jealous sisters and dead batteries in the world won’t alter that fact.

Our only teensy gripe with this otherwise great finale? It’s ambiguous whether Mei actually said “I Love You” out loud to Yamato. The reverb suggests it was in her head. C’mon, Mei! Ganbatte!


Rating: 8 (Great)

 

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Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun – 11

Yamaken finds himself unable to explain or control his attraction to Shizuku, but anything she says or does around him turns him on. Her proximity to Yamaken continues to frustrate Haru. On an evening stroll, Haru threatens Yamaken, but he shrugs it off, leaving Haru in a funk. Shizuku appears in a moment of despair. He reiterates his love for her, but expresses his frustration with the current situation. Shizuku isn’t sure how to respond.

She loves him and has told him so. He loves her and has told her so. So everything should work out, right? Only if either of them knew what the hell to do next…and we’re not talking about renting a room at the love motel. Shizuku and Haru are stuck; sedentary; in a holding pattern; static. Declarations lead to…nothing. Both are so new to…whatever it is they have that neither’s sure what to do about it, and whenever one of them makes an attempt, they clash. As Shizuku says, they’re just “out of sync”. He can’t seem to reconcile her loving him and hanging out at cram school with Yamaken. She can’t seem to reconcile the fact that, well, she doesn’t really like to be touched.

Meanwhile, she’s oblivious to Yamaken, who is growing more bold with each passing day as his weird crush intensifies. And let’s not forget Haru clearly has some serious, traumatic issues in his past that he hasn’t begun to deal with. It’s nice that Shizuku is a calming, taming force in his life, but until the underlying issues are resolved, theirs is a doomed romance. The sad part is, we already know the jist of all this; this episode taught us almost nothing new. It’s fine for their relationship to be going nowhere, but if the show itself isn’t going anywhere (or rather, going in circles, or even backwards), then we have problems.


Rating: 6 (Good)

P.S. Ooshima’s friend Yuu wordlessly stares at Yamaken on more than one occasion, while Natsume considers paying a visit to Mitsuyoshi to tell him how she feels. Isn’t he, like, fifteen years older than her?