Ahhh~ this finale made me smile. It was such a satisfying way to wrap up things up. Personally I’d love to see more of this series in the future, so I am very excited to pick up the novels and start reading them as soon as I can!
Although some may disagree, I actually liked that Fumiya went through the phase of dropping all of the advice and clothes Aoi had given him up until this point to try and be just his true, unrefined self. There were two positive things that came out of doing that. The first was coming to terms that he was no longer okay with continuing down that path of disarray. He now has the desire to figure out what he wants to become. As for the second reason: Fumiya realized he can continue to use the some of the skills and knowledge he was taught to change himself without going against with his principles. Any he disagrees with are the ones he can choose to skip and create goals based on what he really wants. He was able to come to terms with with help from Fuka after he decided to open up about how he received lessons for socializing.
What was beautiful about this was that Fuka didn’t bat an eye when he showed up as his unrefined self. And his raw honesty and willingness to be vulnerable was rewarded with being praised for working hard to improve himself, and some kind advice that helped him mend the rift between him and Aoi.
Fuka was able to provide him some clarity of what it meant to be himself. She was able to do that by explaining in detail why she is able to talk to him comfortably. She touched on how he says whatever pops into his head, and right away the image pops into her mind. She likens it to like reading a novel, where he is able to convey whatever mood and emotions he experienced at the time in such an honest and direct way. But the times when the pictures struggled to come into focus were during the times he was relying on shortcuts like memorized flashcard topics. And that makes sense because some of those topics were not necessarily related to his own interests or connected to his heart.
She also pointed out his growth, of how about how in the beginning, his images were black and white. She described it to be a slightly sad and lonely world that resembled her own. Fuka had always thought everything would be grey, but then she witnessed how Fumiya was able to completely change the color of the world he sees in such a short period of time. So she assures him that the fact his world has become more colorful and he is working hard to change himself is something he should be proud of. And if there is someone who gave him those colors, he should treasure that person.
Thanks to that, Fumiya as able to collect his thoughts and come with up a strategy so that Aoi can’t just run away from the game. Now that he understands it’s just about using those skills to help guide him to become who he truly wants to be, he is to challenge her to the next phase of their game.
This leads to the second highlight of the episode, where Fumiya had to make the case to persuade Aoi to join in on his game of “Finding their True Desires’ and “Enjoying Life”. He hit the nail on the head when he asked her if she was having fun with the way she is doing things. It was exactly what he needed to touch on, and I’m glad he was able to win her over– because she’s a tough cookie to crack! Luckily, he understands how she hates to lose, and uses Tackfam as the perfect example as to why he continues to hold his rank as the best player she has yet to beat.
Whether Aoi wants to admit it or not, there was undoubtedly a part of her that was happy he didn’t give up on her. Considering how she was willing to meet up, and readily went back to business as usual once they had their new game set in place.
Additionally, in many ways, I noticed how they dropped all sorts of symbolism and pointers this episode that pointed to Aoi’s character and likely the root of what cause her to have no faith in ‘true desire’ and ‘idealism. From Michael Andi’s books titles, “If I’d met you first” and “Kind Dogs Stand Alone”, to the importance of Fumiya covering the frayed area on the bag with the colorful button he had bought her in return for it. It was like commemorating the start of Aoi’s journey to self-healing of whatever scars she has that has shaped her into who she is today. Thanks to Fumiya not willing to let her go, her grey world now has a splash of color. I am quite excited for this battle phase, since this is something that Aoi desperately needs. She is lucky to have a friend like Fumiya who isn’t going to give up on her when she tries to push him away. She has helped him and now he wants to help her. Although the game missions for conquering life continues for Fumiya, he is the one who is currently at the top when it comes to enjoying life and pursuing one’s true desires. I’m looking forward to seeing how this battle phase plays out!
Also another fun observation: The new challenge was set at the place where they first met, and this time their roles were reversed!
Finally, I really loved how they wrapped things up. I’m happy to see Aoi and Fumiya now friends again and are continuing with his missions (but now he has the option to skip them), the most recent one is getting a part-time job. We also got to see how Fumiya’s and Fuka’s relationship and trust have grown to the point when Fuka asked if he would be willing to read her latest novel once she finishes writing it, he agreed to do so this time. There is also a hint of potential feelings blooming between them, ohohohoho– but I’m being careful not to get too ahead of myslf. I ship them, but I also know this is a long-game, so who knows how his relationship with Aoi and even potentially Mimimi is going to evolve too, haha!
Of all of the Spring titles I have watched this season, I would say this is Jaku-Chara ended up being one of my top favourites.
If you’re a fan of slice of life series and happened to overlook or pass by this show, I strongly encourage you check it out. Jaku-Chara is a fantastic story that I would recommend to anyone who is looking for a theme that revolves around characters who are striving to improve themselves and be happy with how they are living their life. It touches on the topics of molding ourselves to fit a certain criteria to fit in with the crowd, the dynamics of socializing but also raises the question of where do you draw the line, and what it means to change and grow as a person.
For me, the reason why this show was so good was because it had an extremely likable protagonist, Tomozaki Fumiya. It was so refreshing to have a protagonist in this kind of story of self-improvement where they have always been a genuinely kind person at heart, earnest, frank and committed to carrying out their goals. I admire the fact he has the backbone to stick to his principles when missions that would conflict with his morale compass would arise. And that is exactly why I love and respect his character as much as I do. That’s why Fumiya serves as great role model of someone striving to improve themselves so they could be more satisfied with both themself and life as whole.
Then we have Aoi, a very facinating heroine who will likely draw a lot of divided opinions with the way she does things. I like her, but there were definitely times when I disagreed with her approach or was not impressed with her behavior. That isn’t too much of a surprise considering share Fumiya’s principles and outlook on life more so than Aoi’s. However I must say, flawed and all, Aoi is a fantastic character. She believes the only and best way to navigate life is to mold yourself to fit every situation possible. The lengths she goes to flesh out her “avatar” highlights her dedication to acquire striking perfection. From memorizing flashcards of topics, to recording and listening to the way she talks, acing everything from sports to academics, finding the perfect clothes, mastering her expressions– it’s actually insane. But when the mask is off and Aoi is being her true self, we get to see a mixture of cold, pessimistic outlook of the world that has likely been shaped by scars from the past, and her love for cheese, food and games. Her playful and competitive side has always been the most vibrant around Fumiya, naturally so since he caught her red-handed as her true self upon their first meeting in person as Nanase (Fumiya) and NO NAME (Aoi).
Although we didn’t get to see too much of her, I always felt Fuka was still able to shine in her own way. Of all the characters, she wasn’t part of the circle that includes Aoi, Yuzu, Mimimi, Tama and the boys. In fact I kind of liked that Fumiya was able to form a friendship outside of that group. It offered a change of pace, but also a chance for Fumiya to scope things out and gain a different perspective from someone like Fuka who is looking in.
It was also greatly appreciated that we didn’t any bunch of jerks in this cast, and better yet, no exaggerated drama. Amazingly, we had quite a mature and kind group of characters, so much to the point I actually couldn’t believe it at first! Takahiro caught me caught guard by how he genuinely he wanted to become friends with Fumiya. It was very charming to see him help him out with the hair styling. Yuzu and Mimimi were just such nice and earnest girls who were determined to meet their goals. It makes you want to root for them with how hard they work! We didn’t see much of Tama either, but I liked that she gradually warmed up to Fumiya due to common interest of looking out for Mimimi.
That isn’t to say it was always sunshine and rainbows. There were certainly some tense moments of conflicts and deep emotions (namely with Mimimi’s arc), but it was handled so well and was never dragged out for longer than it needed to be.
Last but not least, although this is labeled as a romantic comedy, it is important to note that romance isn’t exactly the focus in this part of the story. This is clearly a slow-burn, and we’re only starting to see the buds of a potential romance blooming at the end of this finale. So maybe just be aware of that before you start, but otherwise don’t fret about that detail because this story is definitely worth checking out!
I would love to see a second season of this series, but we don’t get one, they wrapped it up really nicely.
Final Score: 8/10
Recommended to Watch: HIGH