Friday, June 30, 2017

Tsukigakirei Episode #12 (Series Finale) Anime Review

What happens next?

What They Say:
It’s the third year of middle school. Kotaro, a bookish boy aspiring to become a novelist, and Akane, a track girl who loves to run, meet in the same class together for the first time. They’re put in charge of the equipment for the sports festival, and slowly grow closer via LINE. How does Kotaro deal with his growing feelings for her? Meanwhile, Takumi has been in love with Akane since first year, and Akane’s friend, Chinatsu, becomes interested in Kotaro. A refreshing story of young love set in Kawagoe.

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
You know how over the last eleven weeks (Twelve counting the recap) we've grown accustomed to Tsukigakirei's innate ability to ease us into drama instead of beating us across the face with it in the first scene of an episode? Yeah, well, I guess Seiji Kishi grew tired of that because we find out that Kotarou wasn't accepted into Koumei in literally the first five second of this episode. And while that is a directorial risk on its own, it sets the rest of the finale up for what is, without a doubt, one of the most artistic and important episodes of the season.

Kotarou and Akane have decided to try and make the long-distance thing work. He's set aside the idea of attending school in Chiba and has since applied to [and been accepted by] a local municipal school. Of course, Chinatsu winds up getting accepted to the same school, finally giving her the window to confess to Azumi that we have all been trying to crawl under for months. Azumi rejects her without any hesitation, but that doesn't stop Chinatsu from ruining everything once again and letting Akane know all about it. Well, at least it seems like she's ruining everything at the time but, in all actuality, this act sets into motion the most pivotal moment in all of Tsukigakirei thus far.

The day before the move, Kotarou and Akane meet up to say their goodbyes. Instead of a nice, jovial departure, however, Akane spirals out of control and breaks into a fit of hysterics. Clearly overwhelmed by the creeping change about to consume everything she has known for years, Akane sprints off, leaving Azumi confused and alone. This is the last time we get to see these two communicate face-to-face. However, something beautiful happens shortly after.

You see, Kotarou had recently been informed of a forum where amateur writers could post their works. And, with a push from both Roman and Daisuke, he winds up publishing a story about how he fell in love with Akane, recounting every experience the same way any lovestruck 14-year-old romantic would. Right before Akane leaves Kawagoe for good, though, Chinatsu shows her the story. How Chinatsu found out about it, I have no idea, but the important thing is that Akane, who had been unsure of Azumi's feelings ever since her outburst yesterday, learns through her boyfriend's own words just how madly in love with her he is. She proceeds to leave a three-word comment on the posting that somehow manages to illustrate much more than "I love you," ever could -- she says, "What happens next?"

Queue the intro song.

In a scene reminiscent of any good drama, Kotarou takes off sprinting to catch Akane's train. The music grows louder as the two grow closer, seeming more urgent with each corner that Azumi stumbles around. As he finally catches up to the train, the music pauses for just the slightest moment, and he shouts, "I love you," as Akane reads the end of his story and breaks into hysterics. On paper, this may seem cliche, but what you need to understand is that this is the moment this entire series has built up to. The feelings of both parties are solidified at the last possible second, creating an ending that you can't stand to look away from even for a moment.

Pause the episode here and go grab a box of tissues. Trust me, the credits are easily the most tear-inducing part of the entire series. You'll see why.

In Summary:
I have never been so consistently impressed with a show the way I have with Tsukigakirei. This series was clearly a labor of love for not only Seiji Kishi but everyone involved. Its minimalistic approach to not only its artwork but its story and its characters sculpt a remarkably believable tale absolutely brimming with nostalgia. When I signed up for this show, I wanted my heart broken -- I wanted that feeling back from when I first watched Clannad. What I didn't expect was to stop wanting that. I'm glad that Kishi elected to piece my heart back together instead of attempting to shatter it even more.

Episode Grade: A+
Series Grade: A+

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

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