Which one would you pick?
Most of the time watching anime, and even TV, I’ll watch one show, finish up, and then go on to the next show. But then there are episodes of anime that after you finish watching them, you just want to turn it all off and just let it sink in. They’re rare, but they’re very special. THIS was one of those episodes.
The whole group, of course without Takeya
Far from her scared non-performance in rehearsal, Setsuna owns the stage when it comes to their performance. Of course, it’s all down to who she’s up there with. And again, this part of the show really resonated with me. Getting up there and playing with a band can be a tremendous experience, and even though I’ve never had a crowd of hundreds all paying attention to me, the feeling of performing is still something that feels very energizing. And nailing your guitar solo is something that makes you feel terrific.
The animation of the concert performance wasn’t the best animation ever, with obvious cost cutting by showing a lot of Kazusa’s back, Haruki’s back, Haruki’s face, Kazusa’s face, and a lot of other things that don’t really move. And then they blow the budget syncing Setsuna’s lips and Haruki’s guitar solo. Which works out ok, but I kind of wish they’d done more with Kazusa’s playing as well, she kind of got short shrift. She made up for it by being the triple threat: keyboard, saxophone, and bass. And overall the whole performance was done well, with White Album replacing the OP song for the episode and Sound of Destiny as an insert song. But we didn’t get to hear their version of Todokanai Koi, which I’m guessing is more like the version from the VN than the OP from this series.
Friends and Rivals
But just as important as the live was the communication that went on during it. And if you think it’s not very realistic, well, there are times when you can convey an awful lot of meaning on stage without actually talking if both people are in tune with each other. And Setsuna makes it plain that she’s going to go after Haruki, admitting that she loves him, and encourages Kazusa to admit that she loves him also.
Kazusa breaks down
From the spotlight on stage, the second part of the episode really changed the venue, from being in public to being alone with each other. This is the part that really grabbed me. From the open, yet still guarded conversation between Haruki and Kazusa, we find that Kazusa can’t really open up to Haruki, and is continuing to try to keep that distance, even as she gets closer to admitting to herself that she likes him. But Haruki wants to stay together with her and Setsuna, and continue to have fun as friends or even performing. And of course he talks to her in his usual way which kind of tweaks her the wrong way. But ultimately, even if Haruki tells Kazusa to show that she’s happy, she can’t admit her feelings, and can’t admit that it makes a big difference that Haruki refers to Setsuna as ‘hana’ (flower) but to Kazusa as ‘yatsu’. Even as she breaks down in tears, she’ll only admit to being cold.
But when Setsuna gets her chance, she doesn’t hesitate. Finding Haruki asleep in the music room, she waits for him to wake up, and then finally takes the initiative, ultimately confessing that she loves him. And for me, this whole scene was pretty magical. Setsuna takes the initiative, even while admitting that she had hoped for Haruki to approach her, but that she’s waited long enough. And even if she gave him the out, saying he could dodge her kiss, I don’t think Haruki was in any mindset to dodge her.
So the prologue that they showed us at the beginning of the series seems to have been complete misdirection. I like that Setsuna finally took the bull by the horns and decided to confess to Haruki, and I was somewhat surprised that Haruki seemed to have been watching Setsuna for a while, describing her as ‘the flower I’ve always admired’. So while he was probably a bit shocked at her confession, I don’t think he was that disappointed in it.
But where does this leave Kazusa? Has she missed her chance? Well, of course not, because otherwise we wouldn’t have more show to go. Will she get demoralized by Setsuna confessing to Haruki? Or will it galvanize her into action, now that she has to catch up. And just to make things a little bit more interesting, is anyone else wondering who the mysterious woman that was watching their performance was? We didn’t see her face, but I’ve definitely got a feeling that it was Youko Touma.