I’m really unsure of what to say about this finale. If there’s one thing I did gather, it’s that this functioned as an anti-conclusion than one in the first place; a shame considering how nice Natsuyuki was shaping up to become in the recent episodes.
[trigger warning: suicide]
If Natsuyuki has taught me anything over the weeks (other than the fact that noitaminA seems to be delivering inconsistent shows) it’s that there is no real answer in love; perseverance and sacrifice are two sides of the same coin that love utilizes, and that moving on isn’t so easy as we think it is. For Shimao, who represented the sacrifice, and for Hazuki, who represented the perseverance and youth, the heart of their conflict was pivotal to the entire point of the series. When watching the last couple of episodes, I felt like the conclusion would be as mature as the two characters who have grown somewhat throughout the series. Apparently, I was wrong.
It’s not that Natsuyuki had no ideas behind the conclusion. The attempt it was going for, along with the concept of the last episode, felt very mature to me. What messed this up was the execution. Instead of converging and creating acceptance, all the show did was revert the development, making a story about internal conflicts in love about yet another typical love triangle: the start of the show. Not only did Shimao never really find acceptance, or move on, but his happiness was never actually realized. Hazuki on the other hand, gets Rokka and marriage, and a long and prosperous life. While this ‘resolution’ is shown in the last five minutes of the show, the pacing to it is completely boggling, if not confusing. Rather, I’d say the entire episode was confusing. What do I mean? Let’s start from the beginning.
The moment Shimao decides to give Hazuki’s body back is an essential moment in the show because it finally allows Shimao to empathize with Hazuki’s life. Vice versa, in becoming a ghost and understanding how love can be taken from you forcefully, Hazuki finally understands what Shimao’s life has been like for the past years. This is all suddenly pushed aside by the fact that Shimao asks Rokka to commit suicide with her. Excuse me? I mean, forget problematic, unhealthy love aside: Shimao is asking his wife to take her own life. For him. This is the pinacle of selfishness. Not only that, but it’s an extremely crude and melodramatic way to say that Shimao has been anything except a tragic character; it turns him into a soap opera character. It turns the show into a soap opera. Not only that, it invalidates Rokka’s choices and voice throughout the show. I’m not even sure what the show was trying to go for here, but it certainly left a nasty taste in my mouth. This is then followed by the idea that once Shimao leaves Hazuki’s body, he actually doesn’t leave, or move on as I thought he would – no, he stays. What was the point of this story again? I thought we agreed that Shimao’s arc was about moving on as much as it was about Rokka’s arc? These two important scenes show me that the series had no concept of what it was doing, or rather, forgot about its hidden potential.
Any sense of heart the show had left also vanished when Hazuki once again becomes extremely possessive of Rokka, grabbing her and hugging her (I could forgive this and interpret it as a way of cherishing physical touch after being stuck in the dream world for so long) and then proceeding to lick her neck, asking her to taste Shimao’s bones with him. Um. I don’t even know what that means, or what Hazuki actually meant in saying that (maybe a reference to how he was the only one who understood Rokka’s feelings for Shimao?) but it came off more as something funny than something emotional to me. The pacing in this finale was just too off.
This is then followed by the conclusion, which like I said before, also seemed to totally revert any excellent ideas or growth the show had. Combined with the fact that Shimao lives on after Rokka’s death, which also breaks the idea that Rokka’s sadness and loneliness was keeping Shimao’s ghost alive, and you’ve got a finale that not only gives no resolution, but completely breaks the show down into a bunch of stunted stereotypes. If anything, it’s not enraging, or pathetic: it’s just sad. This isn’t a rushed ending. It’s an ending that provides no closure to the show’s plot, characters, or its themes. Any glory the show once had is now distilled with a sad taste in my mouth, and it’s too bad, because this show could have really been something great had it made the chance to look at itself and what it was trying to accomplish.
Enjoyment Level: 4/10