It’s not too rare for an anime to make me cry. I’m a bit of a sensitive lady, so if something really tugs at my heartstrings, I’ll shed a couple tears, or just have a bit of them in my eyes. But it’s rare for an anime to really make me sob. I’m talking about literal loud ugly sobbing where I constantly have to wipe my face because there’s too many tears. And this episode completely destroyed me.
This series knows how to portray and deliver emotions in the perfect way. You knew this episode was going to be an emotional one when the first scene we saw, in favor of the happy-go-lucky OP, was Shirase being called out of class and being told to return home to her grandmother so she could learn of her mother’s death. A more serious and somber tone continued throughout, with the main conflict of the first half being whether or not Shirase was going on the expedition to the observatory sight, and Shirase’s own inner conflict.
Even then, arriving in Antarctica and spending some time there, Shirase never really accepted her mother’s death. Or really, she never fully grieved. She even said, “Oh, this has to be a dream.” What was really telling though was what Shirase herself pointed out, that she never really shed tears or showed too much emotion when finally arriving to Antarctica. It was more normal than she expected to feel, but the real reason for her emotions, and for hesitating on joining the others in the expedition was everything coming to an end. Once she would reach the expedition site, what then? She was afraid that she would end up feeling like she did then – empty and apathetic. But having some time to think, speak with her friends, with Gin, and going over the hard work she went through in order to come to where she was, she decided to go. She thought it would be fine with just being the in the place her mother was, and seeing the same sights her mother saw, but what she really needed was proper closure, no matter how painful it was.
The end scene with the laptop makes me want to cry every time I think about it. It absolutely broke me. The flurry of emails pouring into the inbox was heart shattering. The number kept going up and up, and with each one is a reminder of Shirase desperately trying to reach out to her mother, with the sad reality that the person she sent them to will never read them. What’s even worse is that it was 1000+ emails, meaning that in the last three years since Takako’s death, Shirase has sent her mother an email every single day, and we’ve even seen some of them. From Gin, we learned that it was possible that Takako had possibly returned to the base to pick something up, and obviously it was the laptop. There was one message in her outbox that she wasn’t able to send, and considering how much she and Shirase communicated, she was so desperate to send her daughter a response that she returned to get it and unfortunately paid the price when the blizzard struck.
So much was handled in this episode, but it’s amazing how fluid it all was. All past threads and character stories I feel have come to a close as well. Mari sweetly thanked Shirase for bringing her to Antarctica and making the most out of her youth, so her story has come to a close. The four girls prove how strong their friendship is by worrying over each other, but being mature to give Shirase space to think things out. Gin and Kanae make the trek to the expedition site and make the plans to begin construction, and the observatory that Takako had wanted so much is going to be built and be named after after in her honor: Kobuchizawa Observatory. Shirase and Gin were also able to speak to each other and let their emotions out, and slowly come closer together again. I had been wondering just how they were going to end the series, if they even were. I had guessed that maybe they were going to go for a second season, but that’s been completely shut down by how perfectly executed this second to last episode was. All questions have been answered and all story elements have been brought forth.
What do I want from the finale? It’s probably going to be bittersweet, but I expect a lot of encouraging words. The one thing I want is for Mari, Shirase, Hinata, and Yuzuki to always be good friends. I also want Shirase to work closely with Gin and Kanae with the observatory. Possibly, the one million yen she earned from all her hard work will be used toward the construction of the observatory, and however long it takes, Shirase will be right there when it’s all been completed.
That’s what I, and Takako, probably want the most.