In the last episode of the series, Junichi meets a girl in the supply closet where she confesses to him before introducing herself as Risa Kamizaki while she cries tears of happiness about the prospect of being his girlfriend. Telling him she’ll do anything for him.
Before they kissed the bell rang so they had to part for the time being and though he looks forward to Christmas and things like introducing Risa to Umehara and Kaoru, when they next meet up in the supply closet she tells him that they can only meet here. At the same time it’s revealed that she’s liked him for a long time and wishes that her breasts were bigger after seeing that he likes them big. They eventually go on a date at night at the same park where he was stood up and even though she knows about what happened to him there, he cheers her up by telling her that those memories there will be replaced by those with her.
In the lead up to the Founder’s Festival Junichi asks her whether they can at least go to it together so she decides to think about it. When she’s alone it’s shown that she really does want to go and be with him more. But she would feel guilty for everything she had done to ‘protect’ him from other girls if they were to see them together, as every time it looked like he was getting close to one of them she would meet them alone and give them the impression that he was already with another girl. Making all of the other girls back off for what she thought was for the best. She also wishes that she had been able to normally confess to him. Around the same time Junichi meets the girl who had supposedly stood him up back then, Makihara who now attends a different high school and after talking about old times she asks him why he stood her up. With it being revealed that a girl had told her that he wanted to change the place where they were going to meet, leading to them both feeling that the other had stood them up.
Just before the Founder’s Festival they meet up again and she tells him how she doesn’t feel like she’s worthy of going out with him, with the reason that he had been stood up being because she had overheard Makihara and some other girls joking about it. But in trying to protect him it had ended up hurting him more which made her feel as if she could never confess her feelings to him. This had changed however when she saw him starting to get close to other girls so she decided to become his girlfriend to protect him, but after everything she’s done she feels that she can’t face those girls. Why she likes him is also revealed as being due to how he had drank her milk for her in elementary school and while it may have not seemed like much, she’s loved him ever since then.
She then prepares to part ways with him after this, happy that her dream of being with him came true even if it was for a short time and wishing him luck for next year’s festival. Just before she leaves though, he stops her by telling her that if she were to leave him he would be lonely again and that he likes her, but first they have to apologise to all of the other girls which she feels she must do on her own.
“Koi no Yukue” by Mai Kadowaki, download.
While this may have been something that I thought was kind of unnecessary it still wasn’t exactly something that I didn’t mind seeing, as it served to close a few loose ends and Risa was adorable for as long as this lasted. The only problem that I saw about her though was that she had otherwise been thrown into the series just for this episode, making no other definitive appearances in any of the previous arcs.
What most of this episode seemed to revolve around for the overall series was going into a bit more depth as far as what had actually caused Junichi’s Christmas related depression, that was still with him two years afterward. It did this by not only introducing the girl who he was supposed to meet, Makihara but also revealing that the reason for why he had been stood up was due to the episode’s heroine, Risa Kamizaki. At first it was actually kind of odd to see as Makihara didn’t exactly seem like she would have went through with what Risa had overheard her friend’s talking about, but at the same time I guess it served to show that she had always been ‘protecting’ him. But what I thought made this great to see was that it actually looked into the events that lead to the depression itself and not just the aftermath of it.
Even though I thought that Risa may have been for the most part adorable it was kind of conflicted by how she seemed otherwise unnecessary to the series, as even if you were to remove her the series as a whole wouldn’t change that much. Other than that though her stalkerish acts and obsession towards Junichi means that she provides the Yandere aspect to the series, something that had otherwise been lacking after what the other heroines had brought to it. It was also kind of interesting to note that she appears in both of the openings as well, and though they’re sort of insignificant background appearances they still stand out in how that was one thing about her, trying to protect Junichi but feeling unable to get close to him. Another interesting point was that she shared the same voice actress as Kaoru’s friend Keiko, Mai Kadokawa which was just that because most overlapping in this sense tends to be avoided.
How she had protect him from the other girls was also kind of fun as it essentially took points from the different arcs where the heroines were starting to take an interest in him, and then cut them off in a what if sort of way. And though it was sort of weird for it to seem that to a certain point they had all been running parallel to each other, something that just didn’t seem possible when the arcs themselves were taking place, it sort of fits in with how this was based off a Visual Novel. Something where the various choices you make can lead to just that. The reactions that they had also interesting as well, with how hard each of them took the idea of Junichi already having a girlfriend varying from girl to girl. With Haruka seeming to handle it the best while Kaoru, Sae, took it a bit better while Rihoko, Tsukasa, and particularly Ai were either kind of shocked or hurt by it.
If anything it should also be noted that like Rihoko, Risa’s feelings towards Junichi were genuine from the start even if they did border more towards obsession in how she would go as far as to prevent any of the other heroines from getting close to him. Feeling that she was protecting him when if anything such actions had probably hurt him the most. Let alone who she was prepared to do ‘anything’ for him the moment he had accepted her feelings. However the reasons behind why she had liked her were kind of nice for what they were, as just the simple act of being there by drinking her milk had progressed towards love and having eyes only for him.
So in the end while this episode still may have not of served as well as an overall ending to the series like the last episode did, it was still something that was nice to see. Possibly also serving to answer a few questions that may have been left behind at the end of it, which in turn may have made it feel unnecessary depending on how concerned you were about them. It should also be noted that there wasn’t an exact epilogue either, however I thought that the way Risa’s ending theme showed her apologising to each of the other heroines served the same job well enough.
End Impressions of the Series:
Overall I liked this quite a lot as even though it was kind of ridiculous or bad at times it still gave me that kind of warm feeling inside that made it all worth watching, not to mention the various voice actresses that played the heroines. Which through the omnibus format they were each able to get their time in the spotlight by having each of their routes covered, since in these sorts of adaptations it isn’t rare to see only the “flagship” heroine’s route covered while the other heroines were thrown in time to time. But this changed that as it meant that each one would receive some amount of focus at some point and you could simply skip the arc of any heroine you didn’t exactly like.
However while the omnibus format did have it’s benefits in quite a few ways it worked as a double-edged sword, providing just as many problems. As it meant that every arc would have to be covered in four episodes which depending on how much content there really was to the arc, it really wasn’t enough to cover all of it where quite a few details would seem to be overlooked in order to go ahead to the ending. The heroine who seemed to suffer the most from this was Kaoru, voiced by Rina Satou, who despite having a good build up to her arc in the first two episodes of it, had the issue of her mother moving on from her father completely shifted aside and even then her epilogue in the tv broadcast version of the episode was reduced to little more than a still frame.
It should also be noted that just about each arc had a different feel to it or something that was different that made it stand out, which in this case I would probably say that Sae’s was the most notable. As while the previous two arcs before it had been fun and down to earth to suit their heroines, Sae’s arc seemed to change to more of a lighthearted comedy complete with none other than Jouji Nakata narrating it. And though I didn’t quite like it at first it actually sort of grew on me around the end and I didn’t quite mind it all that much. After this though it then changed once more.
Something else that I’ll admit that I liked though was how the heroines themselves would make appearances before and after their arcs, as even though it may have been obtrusive given how little time each arc had. It not only gave the impression that there was more to the series than what Junichi was up to, but it also gave some of the other heroines some time to shine. Which in Haruka’s case (with Haruka voiced by Shizuka Itou) made me like her a lot more, as while she may have been likable enough in her own arc she simply seemed to steal the show each time she showed up. With things ranging from her fun sort of habits to her gratuitous English, and even led to Hibiki getting more screentime.
In some ways though these very appearances were actually kind of depressing, where it wasn’t until her arc that we learned that Rihoko, voiced by Ryoko Shintani, had liked Junichi ever since they were kids. So in her case these were also kind of sad to see if you consider how they were set firmly before the events of the story, making them possibly carry on to each arc. But what seemed to make this worse was that even in her own arc, Rihoko still couldn’t get with Junichi and was really the only one who couldn’t by the end. With the story heading towards more of a just friends direction with anything more being loosely implied and focusing more on how their upperclassmen were graduating. It was something that was just plain disappointing that she didn’t deserve at all.
The one who I thought that it benefited the most though was the flagship heroine, Tsukasa, voiced by Kaori Nazuka, whose true personality wasn’t exactly made known until her arc which also seemed to be more of the ending to the series. With quite a few things pointing towards this and giving the impression that if anyone needed Junichi it was her, where in her arc we saw him steadily break through her facade and true personality allowing her to and begin to trust people again. Above all though her epilogue and ending were easily the best, with her ending not only focusing on them during this but what everyone else was doing as well, and her epilogue seemed to take all of the good aspects of those before it and add to them.
If there was one heroine who I was surprised by it definitely would have been Ai, voiced by Yukana, as before her arc I had seen the results of a poll about the Visual Novel that the series was adapted from where she was placed at the top. So of course I was curious to see what had lead to her being ranked so highly, and while I had expected to enjoy her arc quite a lot it easily became one of my favourites in the series. With Ai herself proving to be a lot more lovable than I had expected her to be and the chemistry between her and Junichi was something that I liked about her arc as well, as their interactions were fun to watch and they seemed to suit each other well.
In the end though, while I may have approached this for only a few of the heroines that were in it, this was definitely a fun series to watch and I don’t really regret watching it in any way. If anything I’m actually going to miss it so I’m kind of sad to see it go with only the DVD/BD material to come. It’s also kind of a shame that the Visual Novel that the series was adapted from is on the PS2 (with a PSP port just ahead) as it means that any sort of it being completely translated looks to be quite far ahead, because if anything the idea of reading walls of moonrunes scares me.