Seishun Buta Yarou Ep. 13 (Final): The first course was the best

In fact, I soon realized that all I really wanted was the first course. 

— So Kaede got her old memories back, but this came at the cost of her recent ones. Y’know, the memories from when she was super childish. There was also that weird incest thing. Yeah, that weird incest thing. For all the Kaede lovers out there, I’m sure this sounds insensitive and cold, but personally, I don’t see this new change as a net loss. If anything, this is a vast improvement. The previous Kaede was downright cringeworthy.

— The bigger problem is that we’re not out of the woods just yet. Kaede still can’t go back to a normal life. Her doctor wants to keep her around for observation in case anything goes wrong.

— Watching Kaede’s father weep kinda annoys me a bit. Dude has been AWOL for god knows how long. As soon as she’s all better again, he acts like a loving father!

— Sakuta’s super torn up about losing his shut-in sister, though.

— A little too torn up… maybe even deranged.

— Sorry, but this is all a little too difficult for me to take seriously. It’s just too melodramatic. I know he didn’t want to lose his Kaede — and I’m sure he thinks he has failed again to protect his precious imouto — but I can’t help but feel that he’s majorly overreacting. Yeah, I didn’t like his Kaede, but I have no reason to believe that this persona of hers is gone forever and there are absolutely no take backs. It hasn’t even been 24 hours since the old Kaede returned. Why not be hopeful? Why not be optimistic that your sister will continue to get better one day and that all of her memories will return? Why not continue working with and support your sister? Why not reintroduce her to pandas and maybe this will reawaken some lost memories? Christ, why lose your goddamn shit on a dime? Oh right, it’s the last episode. Better turn up the waterworks. We need a climax, so the main character has to go nuts.

— So melodramatic that those gashes have now reappeared on his chest. Ugh.

— It’s like the past is coming back to haunt the dude. Even Shoko-san has returned out of nowhere to be the special girl who will heal his soul right up.

— This is precisely the problem I have with Shoko-san. Right now, she’s standing right outside the bathroom, telling Sakuta everything that he needs to hear. Line for line, man. Line for line. She even knows to grab Kaede’s diary and start reading from it. Despite not being majorly involved in his life for the past few years (we all know she and Shoko-chan are the same person), she knows exactly what to do. It’s like she wrote the playbook on how to cheer up melancholy anime bois. What a joke of a character. In a series where a girl literally becomes invisible to everyone around her, I somehow find Shoko-san and her existence the most difficult to swallow.

— I have nothing to say about the content of Kaede’s diary. It’s whatever. It confirms what we already know. Sakuta felt like he couldn’t protect his sister back then, and he thinks he’s let her down again. It also kinda serves as a quick recap of the series.

— I’m an emotional person, but this is doing nothing for me. I don’t like Clannad, but I won’t lie. That show had moments that got me all choked up. But this? It just feels too manufactured. Y’know, the Mai arc gave me hope that I would get a quirky romance. But since then, the show has really tried to pluck at my heartstrings, but not very successfully. Maybe it would’ve been better just to try and be quirky.

— The guy fights back his tears, because he thinks crying would betray his Kaede’s feelings. Well, I’d argue otherwise. I think crying would validate the fact that she once existed, because it shows how much she meant to him… but honestly, that’s none of my business.

— I just don’t understand why people get this impression that crying is such a bad thing. It’s a natural human emotion. It’s so goddamn cathartic, too. Just let go and cry. Being temporarily sad is okay. It gives meaning to moments of actual happiness.

— See? There you go: sadness is not something to run from.

— Of course, it depends. If I just got a big raise and/or promotion, I don’t exactly want to go and ruin my day by watching something like… Grave of the Fireflies. So there’s a time and place for everything. I just find it dismaying when people try as hard as they can to limit their exposure to negative feelings. It’s like dying a portion of your humanity. Few things are as beautiful as an honest reaction to something profoundly heartbreaking. That’s why Grave of the Fireflies is a work of art.

— So at Shoko-san’s behest, Sakuta eventually gives him and bawls. Unfortunately, the voice acting leaves something to be desired. It is admittedly hard, however, to tap into something that can truly break you down.

— Sakuta wakes up the next day and finds a note from Shoko-san. Basically, now that his soul is mended, she can go back into hiding. What a stupid character. It’s also disappointing because Mai could’ve filled this role. At the start of Kaede’s story, it looked like she and her boyfriend would work together as a team. If she had been the one to care for Sakuta, this would’ve been a testament to how far their relationship has come. But instead, at his most vulnerable, the main character still had to lean on a girl who barely exists. It’s like she was put on this world for Sakuta’s sake and Sakuta’s sake alone.

— Sakuta eventually returns Mai’s call after collecting himself. See, that’s another thing that bothers me. They’re a couple, but she only sees him when things are good. I don’t like that. I’m not saying that individuals in a relationship should give up any notion of privacy. That’s not what I’m getting at. But there’s something very off-putting about the fact that one side of him is hidden from her — a side that only Shoko-san gets to see. It’s terribly unfair to Mai.

— Afterwards, the guy goes and sees his sister. He invites her to go to the zoo with him. Y’know, stuff he should’ve done before he had his melodramatic breakdown for the sake of delivering an obligatory climax.

— Pffft…

— So what’s up with Shoko anyways? After all, this is the last episode, so we won’t get to the bottom of her story. Is there going to be a dumb follow-up movie just for her and her alone?

— Oh, of course there’s gonna be a movie. Latest squeeze versus old squeeze! Who will win!

— Rio apparently still doubts the existence of the old Shoko. Honestly, I don’t think I care enough to watch and blog about the movie.

— Oh dear, Mai has found Shoko’s note.

— He’s now explaining everything to his girlfriend, and he isn’t lying to her about any of the details. Nevertheless, there is such a thing as lying by omission. Sakuta never mentioned the fact that Shoko dropped by that night. It’s shady if you ask me.

— But as I alluded to earlier, it’s more than that. It’s the fact that Mai didn’t even get the chance to be there for her boyfriend. When you love someone (not saying that she loves him but just play along), and they’re upset, doesn’t that also hurt you? But what hurts even more is when you can’t do anything to help them. Now take that and multiply it by a billion, and that’s how it feels when someone else can do what you explicitly can’t do. And that’s precisely the problem here. Mai called her boyfriend to check up on him. He never answered her back until the next day. He was down in the dumps, and not only could she not help him, she didn’t even know about it until she found Shoko’s notes. I’m not saying that it should her privilege to cheer him up when he’s sad, but it’s something like that. When you need emotional support, shouldn’t you turn to your loved ones first?

— But knowing Mai and how she’s acted all series long, she won’t make a huge fuss. She probably should in order to hammer the point home. They probably need a big blow-out fight… but that sort of thing almost feels rare in anime. People rarely seem to argue. They just avoid each other and stew in their passive-aggressive feelings.

— Yep, this is what Mai does… more or less. She does, however, cut their time together short and leaves with tears in her eyes. She’s bottling up her true feelings. Maybe everything is going to spill out in the follow-up movie. The problem is that you’re going to have to watch that movie to see whether or not Mai becomes a more well-rounded character, and I don’t think I have the patience for that.

— I think it’s pretty dumb that he was going to hug Mai, but then backed off because she told him to. It’s not like anyone’s going to see them hug in an elevator.

— Anyways, Sakuta is back to moping around, but Shoko won’t be around this time to cheer him up. He got himself into this mess with Mai, so he’ll have to fix it himself.

— Oh man, Nodoka is here to talk to Sakuta about Mai, but he plays it off as if his girlfriend simply had a misunderstanding. He hasn’t tried to put himself in his girlfriend’s position whatsoever. Imagine how he would feel if Mai was crying, and some old flame was there to comfort her. C’mon, this isn’t rocket science or, in this show’s case, quantum mechanics. This is dating 101. Unfortunately, the guy needs to get an earful from his girlfriend’s younger sister.

— Nodoka randomly throws in the fact that today just happens to be Mai’s birthday. Geez…

— As a result, the guy is off to the races ’cause that’s what you do in romances, anime or otherwise. He’s going to try and see his girlfriend before the day is over. It’s a nice gesture, but it’s really nothing more than a band-aid. I suspect that the root of the problem will remain untreated until we watch the movie (HINT HINT).

Obligatory make-up scene.

It’s not her fault, though. Granted, the guy was very emotionally distraught at the time (which I still maintain was an overreaction). As a result, he went through the motions and allowed Shoko to care for him. He wasn’t in the optimal head space to draw the necessary boundaries. So even though I still think Sakuta screwed up, his biggest problem isn’t failing to reach out to Mai that night. Rather, he erred when he couldn’t understand why his girlfriend was upset the day after. Nowhere do I see how Mai could’ve been at fault.

— The girl acted as if she was going to kiss him, but instead she pinched one of his cheeks instead. Wanna watch them kiss? Well, they might do it in the movie (HINT HINT).

— I, however, will take solace in the fact that I won’t have to hear the same ED sung by a bunch of different girls again. Sadly, I do have to hear it one last time with all of them singing together.

— Looks like Kaede is embarrassed to learn how she acted when she was an amnesiac.

— The episode ends with Kaede telling her brother that she wants to see her old friend and go to school. So there’s that…

— Sigh, what else can I say? I think I’ve said enough. I liked the first three episodes with Mai, but as the series continued, it quickly wore out its welcome. Again, I’m not remotely interested in watching the follow-up movie. Hell, the fact that there are still so many loose ends that can only be tidied up by the movie makes me want to watch it even less! If someone uploads the Mai-only parts to Youtube or something, maybe I’ll try to catch those if I can even remember to. I don’t give a damn about the other girls, though.

Final grade: C-

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