Picking up some ten months after the end of her original arc, Sae’s arc begins with her and Junichi still making films together, and while she may have improved in leaps and bounds in becoming less shy, there’s still some instances when she needs him.
It’s may be late but I finally got this out, and with Haruka up next I’m hyped. For now however, back to the endless onslaught of stuff I should have done yesterday.
For Junichi however this change has him feeling kind of nostalgic, missing the days when she relied on him and called him instructor, as Sae’s popularity continues to grow and grow. Coming into play sometime at lunch when everyone appears to know who she is, but no that he’s her boyfriend, so in order to show that she’s taken he takes the initiative by ordering lunch for the two of them. However this presents a challenge in itself when he doesn’t know just what to get, struggling to make a decision when Kaoru comes along and makes it for him, after which the matter of what salad dressing comes up and he asks Rihoko for help.
A few days after this they visit a local shrine together where Sae appears to be keeping a secret of some sort, and later as he’s thinking about old times, Miya barges in and tells him that Sae is having a meeting for an arranged marriage. So without a moment to waste they head to the place where it’s supposedly taking place to look for them, going from mistaken situation to mistaken situation when they finally spot her with a boy by a pond. But while he feared the worst, Sae explains that the boy is her cousin and that meeting is between their dogs. With Junichi realising Miya’s train of thought when she mentioned it, leaving things with Junichi voicing his fears and Sae saying that he’s the only one that she would marry. What her wish really was. And after this the plot kicks up again with Sae being elected to help out with the founder’s festival, and not knowing what to do she goes to Junichi, reigniting a fire within him.
Following this things pick up in the next episode with Junichi’s hopes being dashed as there really wasn’t anything he could do, leaving Tsukasa to mentor Sae on what to do, and regardless of the wish she made he can’t help but feel some distance between them. So faced with these sentiments Junichi watches some of their old videos when he realises what he can do, make a documentary out of her work for the Founder’s Festival, so without a moment to spare he asks Sae, and with Tsukasa’s consent, begins filming. Getting her to call him director this time around. Following which, after a brief point where Sae gets a little overworked and takes a nap in the infirmary, the episode descends into a quick montage before Sae starts to doubt herself under the pressure that the job presents. With Junichi still unable to do anything for her.
At which point however Tsukasa shows up and he asks if they can talk, leading to her explaining how even she began to be stressed out in the lead up to the Founder’s Festival, suggesting that he can tell her to ask for help if she needs it, admitting that she’s jealous that she has someone like him by her side. With Junichi going on to meet Sae after school and show her his footage in an attempt to encourage her, and that he wants to help her. But for her, just him watching is enough and so she goes on with renewed determination until the Founder’s Festival arrives. Opening it herself and overlooking the Best Couple Contest, where alongside some old entrants, Miya and Ai appear to be entering together and in a strange reversal of roles Sae is the one to grope Miya. And when all the entrants have moved on, Junichi and Sae meet up they decide to exchange gifts, with Sae only wanting a kiss from him.
In the epilogue eight years after this, the two of them appear to be a happy couple with one child and another one on the way at the local amusement park, where Junichi still appears to be recording home videos of them all together.
Can it be Haruka’s arc now? It may sound kind of harsh and bias but I’ve never been a particular fan of Sae, and now she and her arc are the only things standing between us and Haruka’s arc isn’t making it any better. Overall Sae’s arc may have turned out decently and had a pretty nice end, but I still couldn’t bring myself to care much for it.
With the flaws that marked it originally still holding it down, the incredibly awesome Jouji Nakata may be narrating it all but in this role I’d be lying if I didn’t say he sounds kind of creepy, narrating in a somewhat cheesy and lighthearted fashion. Almost the opposite of what we usually hear from him. Secondly while Sae may have improved a bit both towards the end of her arc and in the time between it and now, it still feels as if her shyness and any supposed cuteness that results from it are being laid on a little too heavily. Let alone, probably my biggest complaint, her submissive nature encourages the weird sorts of fantasies that Junichi tends to get by letting him live them out. Hindering the aspects that make him great as a protagonist.
So it was because of all that I couldn’t exactly say that I was looking forward to her arc, right from the start I was almost tempted to skip her arc or at least not go through the trouble of throwing out one thousand words like I somehow always manage to do every week, and then pick it up again when Haruka’s arc begins. Which from the preview looks like it’s going to be great, possibly one of the best in the season. But anyway, as for the first episode itself it wasn’t really that bad, like I’ve said Sae has improved a good deal and the story that was there wasn’t bad either, like so many of the other arcs before it, the situation has been reversed. With this change Sae no longer relies on him as much as she used to and he frankly misses it, often thinking back to times when she did and attempting to do things in ways that she will rely on him.
However while it may have continued this plot I found the second episode to be kind of lackluster, for the most part consisting of Junichi moping about and Sae starting to bend under the pressure that working in the Founder’s Festival committee gives. And even when he found something that he could do for her he still didn’t really seem to do all that much. Aside from that the epilogue also seemed a little too similar to Tsukasa’s as well, jumping ahead a few years into the future to show them as a happy family with the added addition that Junichi was still filming under the guise of home videos, which while nice didn’t really do much to distinguish it. That said the episode still wasn’t all that bad, I liked seeing an out of character moment from Sae as well as a meta sort of reference from Tsukasa.
But anyway with Haruka’s arc up next I’m hyped.