Aw man, he just caught a bullet train! What a fakeout. Man, this show’s cliffhangers keep tricking me. I mean it’s good really. But I wanted to see more of the nice inn ladies. Ugh though this show was so cute. I’m really going to miss checking in on my cat/recovering shut-in shenanigans.
This episode had a pretty different feel to the rest but I actually kind of liked it. It was dramatic, but not overwrought, and the whole gang getting together to help Subaru and Haru really makes the search scene more cute and uplifting than anything. On top of that, there’s almost a detective movie sort of feel, what with everyone working together and running all over town looking for traces of Haru, which is a refreshing vibe. It was an interesting take for the finale and I think it paid off, despite my initial reservations. Also yay for Nana, the show’s resident Ace Ventura. I would love to see a Nana’s Pet Corner OVA where she infodumps animal care tips on us, like the Girls und Panzer Yukari’s Tank Corner OVAs.
Okay but I guess I did get a little stressed out by Haru’s scenes. I knew she was going to be fine, obviously, I’m not seven years old, but it still pains me to see the cartoon animals suffer. And Subaru running home in the rain while occasionally getting slapped in the face by PTSD along the way was pretty rough too.
Really though, this was a very nice way to wrap up the series. I was wary of having the big dramatic plot at the end after 11 episodes of relatively understated sentimentality, and I still think they could have cemented Subaru and Haru’s relationship in a more subtle way. However, everyone knows you need the big payoff for the series finale, and on reflection I think Subaru and Haru giving everything they have to look for each other was a sweet demonstration of the love and trust that’s built up between the two, and it didn’t come off cheap, which I was worried it would. The search for Haru was additionally a great excuse to get the gang all together at the end, which I think was important for a sense of completeness.
On another note, Haru made a lot of great faces this episode but I think this one might be the finest in the entire series so I just wanted to acknowledge it for a second:
The end of the episode was so soft and homey-feeling, which was absolutely perfect. I’m a sucker for “everyone chilling at the dinner table” sorts of endings. There’s nothing that says “we’re all going to make it” like a montage of everyone sitting around enjoying dinner. By the way, seeing everyone gathered in one place, it’s just occurred to me that Subaru actually has an incredibly high friend conversion rate. Almost everyone he’s spoken to for any meaningful length of time since he decided to start going outside has become his friend. Could we be witnessing the birth of the most charming man who ever lived?
All in all, I have to say I really enjoyed this show. I’ll give it a solid 7.5/10. It may not be anything groundbreaking, particularly animation and art-wise (Haru’s iconic faces aside) but it’s a kindhearted, relaxing series with a genuine sense of goodwill, and it was great to watch after a long, stressful day. Sometimes it’s really nice to watch a series where nobody is ever mean to anyone and everyone is doing their best. Fuck conflict, I say. Of course everyone in this show is unrealistically pure, but it still serves as a gentle reminder to those of us with hermit tendencies: the world isn’t always as harsh as you think it will be. Also cats are good. I’ll most likely pick up the manga at some point, because I don’t feel ready to let Subaru and Haru leave my life just yet, and because there are a few characters that I don’t think got quite enough time in the unforgiving 12-episode format – Yugo, Hachi, and Roku in particular. I kind of doubt this will get a second season but I’d be very pleasantly surprised if it did!