High Score Girl II Episode 9 (Final Impression)

Here we are at the ending, and they decided to end things on an emotional bang. Haruo takes the second round of the match, and two were neck and neck in the final round. It looked like Haruo was about to take the win, until Akira slipped through his strategy and defeated him. It wasn’t the result neither of them wanted, with tears in both of their eyes. Time passes and Haruo becomes a little distant, upset. Not into games anymore. He knows that Akira is going to leave again, and he’s miserable. We also find out that Akira lost in the final round, and that’s not exactly surprising since her goal wasn’t to win the tournament, but to play against Haruo. With so much on Haruo’s mind and Akira’s departure here, what will happen?

For an ending, it was pretty abrupt I’m not going to lie. It also kind of followed a cliche formula that romance shows usually follow. The girl is leaving, the guy is conflicted and down in the dumps, and then he has a revelation that prompts him to rush to the airport/train station/etc. to try and catch the girl and have an emotional moment. It pretty much followed this exact formula, except that it also sprinkled in its own silly video game flair to it. It just drives me crazy that even after all this time, Akira still never said a single thing. :))))))

I would have expected the voice of reason to come from either his mother or even from Makoto, but I was surprised it was from Hidaka. Though it shows how mature she is that she would literally slap some sense into Haruo for how dumb he was acting, even when it absolutely kills her on the inside. But I love the speech she gave about him giving up so quickly and so pathetically, when he’s the type of person to be rash and put his everything into the things he loves. He showed lots of passion for games, so how could he not do the same for Akira? Why does Akira giving the ring back means it’s over? Honestly it was really frustrating and I just wanted to grab Haruo and smack him and get him on the damn scooter, but luckily Hidaka did half of that for me. Just…props to Hidaka. It’s suffering to be her, but I do like her. She may not have gotten her happy ending, but at least she’s able to realize that they’re just not meant to be and she can move on. Her new haircut is just proof of that, and she’s willing to look forward now.

As cliche and kind of cheesy the ending was with all the video game characters helping Haruo out during his ride to the airport, especially with that insane Sonic Boom messing with the plane or whatever…I still teared up a bit. This is the most desperate and honest we’ve ever seen Haruo, and it was so precious when they both ran towards each other and exploded into tears when wrapped in each other’s arms. Haruo professed his love for her, promised he’ll do whatever he can to see her like getting a passport, and then he proposes to her?! Wow! I definitely wasn’t expecting that.

At this moment, I was so excited to hear Akira respond. With tears in her eyes, a big smile on her face, I was ready to hear Akira at least say “Yes, Haruo!” or something like that. But nope! Nothing. After that sweet little moment, we cut to the airplane leaving and Haruo and the others watching it leave. The end.

I’m not going to lie, I’m a little disappointed. I was a little high on emotions, and then it just ended. Like that. It would have been cute if in the credits it could have done a Tsuki ga Kirei thing and give us a quick montage of the two meeting up in Japan or the US and continuing their relationship. Also, I feel like there’s still story to tell. Didn’t Makoto say that her parents would just pick someone for her to marry? That’s another huge obstacle Haruo would have to face with, and it sounds like something I would love to see. Also, it’s a very long-distance relationship. Long distance is hard, but it’s easier to do with all the technology we have in this day and age. However, this is taking place in the 90’s where ways of communication is much more limited and slower. It would just be great to see, but it looks like we won’t. So I’m a little down, but it still was a good episode.


FINAL IMPRESSION

Well this was a very fun ride. I always thought High Score Girl to be an incredibly charming series that was a lot of fun. It really set the scene and nostalgia with the themes of video games and the arcade scene that I wasn’t totally part of growing up. Arcades are a bigger thing in Japan, even now still whereas I did play in arcades here and there when I was a kid, but they were never close. Now? The only “arcades” that are around me are ones attached to places like Dave and Busters. Actual standalone arcades aren’t really a thing here, so it was so fun and fascinating to see the arcade and video game boom of the 90’s in the perspective of a kid. Makes me wish I could have experienced something like that even now.

Of course all the video game references are a big plus, especially if you’re a fan of video games like I am. But even if you’re not, you’re going to get a really fun and cute story between two kids. It was a nice coming of age story about Haruo and his budding romance for the mysterious Akira. Akira had her own baggage to deal with, and while the kids had issues when they first knew each other, they soon developed a sweet friendship with each other that soon turned into love. Haruo learned to change because of Akira, and Akira was able to find joy in video games, but even more so when she was able to spend time with Haruo. Their bond was very deep and strong, and this season did a great job in finally developing Haruo’s character.

This season was short, but it still did its job well. I felt Makoto to be a stand out character this season, and I’m glad she was able to self reflect on her actions and how much pressure she put on Akira. This show has a lot of great characters that all had their moments, and it’s really hard to pick a favorite. Haruo, Makoto, Hidaka, even Haruo’s mom, all great. I’m not saying Akira is bad, because she even had her own development, but her being mute the whole time maybe took away from her. We never got any reason why Akira is mute, maybe because she just is though it’s implied that she does speak to others, just not around Haruo. So it makes me wonder…why? If there’s no huge reason, couldn’t we just have gotten a small bit of insight into her mind? She still communicated through body language and facial expressions, though the latter was sort of limited for awhile. I was just begging for something, just anything.

High Score Girl told a very fun, funny, and sweet story. I enjoyed it from start to finish and I’m pretty sad it’s over. I know a sequel manga with Hidaka as an adult is about to start soon. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we got little hints or appearances from both Haruo and Akira in the story? But a story on Hidaka sounds great and I’m inclined to check it out, just to get my fix again. Also, I’m probably going to be watching this again when the show hits Netflix later along with its dub because the dub is fantastic. Yay!

8.5/10

Berry

Unfortunately still a weeb

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