Aoharu x Kikanjuu – 12 [END]

AK12 (10)

Yuuki says it’s time to say, “Sayonara”.

spring15-irenes

So, the game has come to an end, friendships have been patched up and understandings have arisen. Bullets have flown, but they bring healing rather than destruction. There is pain, but it is the pain of growth, the pain of a shattered heart on the mend. And our three friends have all experienced these feelings and hardships and become all the better for it.

Well, the series is over and while it did have its ups and downs, it was a rather solid story throughout. A much better finale than the penultimate episode eluded to, and yet, even still was not without its problems.

AK12 (3)AK12 (2)

Challenge accepted

Of course, in the end, not much was resolved from the series overall, Team Toy Gun-Gun never won against their archenemies, there’s a whole lot of backstory that didn’t get to be told, plot threads that never get tied up, and of course we never actually get to see Hotaru ever actually, finally tell them the truth about her femininity. But, sigh…let’s talk about one thing at a time.

When Hotaru issued the challenge to Masamune, I had been highly interested in what exactly she had in mind. I knew she was challenging him to a final sabage game, but I was wondering what was going to be different about this one in comparison to the others. She was unjustly thrown of the team and had her heart trampled on by her team leader after everything they’ve been through together. And worse! To make it feel as if it was her fault that she wasn’t a good enough player and because of the loss at the TGC, they were throwing her to the curb and looking for someone new.

AK12 (11)AK12 (13)AK12 (26)AK12 (25)

Vengeance shall be mine!

Women have written countless ballads on the subject of being jilted and nearly all of them end the same way: with the woman learning to be stronger for it and/or getting vengeance against the man that wronged them. And while Masamune may not still at this point know the sex of the person that he wronged, perhaps he read The Count of Monte Cristo and learned that vengeance isn’t mutually exclusive. So, when Hotaru challenges him, and he sees the disturbed demonic look on her face, his mind immediately goes to the idea that she wants revenge. He wonders what new tricks she now has up her sleeve considering the known fact that she can’t hit the broadside of a barn unless she’s under some kind of bloodlust. But he’s quickly both confused and disappointed when she loses quickly and then asks for a rematch, saying that she never stated in the challenge how many round they would do.

AK12 (17)AK12 (18)

Unlike, Mattsun, I wasn’t confused, but at the same time, like him, I was disappointed but for different reasons. Right after Hotaru asked for another round I knew exactly what she was trying to do, and while it was the right lesson for Masamune to learn, it was still incredibly repetitive. In the end this episode is just a retread of Episode 9 from a few weeks ago, just with a different setting and this time Hotaru teaching her team leader about not giving up and perseverance.

Episode 9 was one of the most predictable and boring episodes in the series simply because anyone with any kind of knowledge of story beats knew exactly what was going to happen and why. This episode was the same way, and yet, I can’t say it was as boring as its predecessor was. A disappointment yes, but not boring.

AK12 (14)

Whoa.

We got some funny antics with Yuuki and how he plays on that eternally foolish handicap of men that we females simply coin as “male pride”, to get Mattsun to not only accept the duel but to continue playing infinite rounds, even though Hotaru is on a constant losing streak. Hotaru herself knows what she’s doing and both the friends work together to get the idiot blond to see the truth that’s right in front of him.

AK12 (31)AK12 (30)

And it’s here that we really get to see for the first time from Masamune’s perspective, what our gun-toting playboy has been feeling and going through all this time. At this point, where we see Mattsun’s issues with abandonment, starting all the way back from his childhood, you begin to see a heartfelt full picture as to his point of view and now understand why he attempted to push Hotaru away. In a way, he and Yuuki are very similar, and while Yuuki shows his socially-awkwardness and his standoffish nature externally, Masamune hides his fear of making new connections and being hurt again, behind his charming facade.

Him pushing Hotaru away was his first attempt to try to be preemptive and cut things off at the pass, letting go of her before she had a chance to abandon him. This is classic behavior from any individual who has been deeply hurt by having experiences in abuse, betrayal, or abandonment. They wish to not be emotionally hurt like that again, and will do anything to prevent it, even commit the same act to others as a form of prevention. Yuuki actually did the same thing way back in the beginning,by trying to push Hotaru out of the group in an effort to avoid any chance of him ever being betrayed again.

AK12 (45)AK12 (46)AK12 (47)AX10 (30)

Hurt begets more hurt.

At first glance, you’d think Mattsun and Yuuki were complete opposites, but now it’s actually obvious that the two are much more similar than most would realize, and were inexplicably drawn to each other because of their similar issues.

However, also because of their similar emotional issues, for Yuuki to try to help Masamune would be similar to the blind leading the blind. Yuuki has tried, but he can’t be the one to help his friend in this case. He requires Masamune’s relationship to stay sane, and while he’s capable of threatening, I can’t see him even leaving his friend’s side no matter what he did. And so, it is left up to Hotaru to show him that not everyone will abandon or betray him. And that even though he hurt her and demanded that she leave the group, she will never abandon him or the team. She IS a member of Team Toy Gun-Gun and she will not acquiesce her spot for anybody! She’s here to stay and he had better get used to it!

AK12 (35)AK12 (37)AK12 (39)AK12 (41)

Whatever you do, just don’t get her mad.

It’s actually exactly what Mattsun needed to hear, and made me get just a little teary eyes and he was struggling futilely to understand why Hotaru continued to persist and why she didn’t just abandon him like all the others. Yuuki’s stern reminder to him that despite everything, he’s been by his side all this time and that Mattsun has taken him for granted was also and nice cap to the end of the last game of the series that turned out to be just the right wake up call for the blond.

AK12 (51)AK12 (49)AK12 (50)

Other than that, the episode wraps up okay, though the slapped on last minute indication of a possible romance between Hotaru and Masamune felt as rushed as looked. How is it that only now, despite having had physical contact with her throughout the series that he begins to get flustered in her presence after shaking her hand? Could it be because she’s soon going to reveal her secret very soon (but not actually on screen)? *rolleyes*

AK12 (66)AK12 (69)AK12 (68)AK12 (67)

A sudden romance incoming?

In the end, this finale wasn’t bad. It wasn’t what it could have been, but it wasn’t all that bad either. The beginning was a little tedious, but the end was heartfelt and showed the three as friends and finally getting over that hump of their first TGC loss and exiting the fire scarred but healing together and determined to continue to try their best the next time. There were quite a few story threads that kept getting introduced but were never given any kind of conclusion, including Masamune’s past with Midori, the team’s rivalry and constant loss against Hoshishiro, the past third team member of Toy Gun-Gun that has shown up more than once in the series as foreshadowing that never comes to pass, and the worst offender is that Hotaru’s gender is still kept a secret throughout the series, never even shown in an after credits scene. It’s things like that that give a bittersweet aftertaste to this finale, making it less than perfect and casting a bit of a shadow over the show in general.

AK12 (71)

It’s time to go.

header-spring15-irenes

As to the series as a whole, it was a good series, with interesting characters, fantastic villains, and some funny and emotional moments sprinkled throughout. There were some awkward scenes, subpar dialogue, and of course those many subplot that didn’t go anywhere. However, I’m not sorry that I watched it, and I’m interested in reading the manga to find out what happens to our characters next.

Hotaru definitely still has some more learning to do when it comes to the sport that she’s chosen. It’s only because of her bloodlust and determination that she’s gotten as far as she did with opponents like Midori. If she isn’t even anywhere close to being able to beat Mattsun, and he got slaughtered by Midori, then it’s obvious that she has a long way to go before even getting to that level. But now as a team it’s nice to see that she’ll have a chance to do so with the team that she has at her back. Masamune and Yuuki will have to get used to Hotaru being a girl, and when they do learn, will it only be Masamune who begins to develop feelings for Hotaru? We’ll only be able to read what happens next as I highly doubt this will end up having any kind of sequel. But maybe that’s okay too. I don’t mind a series that is only made as an advertisement for the original material, as long as the original material is worth it, and from what I’ve seen of it, I think that maybe that was just the medium it flourishes in.

AK12 (74)

See ya!

About

A Chicagoan biochemist, teacher, and an aspiring virologist, with a love for science only rivaled by my love for movies, animation, and anime. Both a lover of action/adventure and romance, I'm a girl who walks the entire spectrum. Mecha, Sci-Fi, Psychological Thriller, Romantic Period Piece, if it's has a good story, I'm there.
Blinklist BlogMarks Delicious Digg Diigo FaceBook Google MySpace Netvibes Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter

8 Responses to “Aoharu x Kikanjuu – 12 [END]”

  1. Di Gi Kazune says:

    I see Matrix bullet time.

  2. zztop says:

    I wonder what happens next in the manga. Has anyone read it?

    • Karakuri says:

      According to what I read online, apparently the anime stops like seconds before Hotaru finally lets them know her gender. …I dunno what comes after that though.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    A bittersweet finale to a decent, if a little extravagant series. Good for Hotaru that she was able to help Matsuoka out of his slump, even if it meant breaching her own principals in the process and turning into an egomaniac (Though I doubt she’s noticed it herself).

    The biggest fail that could be produced was that after all this time, she still hasn’t told Matsuoka and Yukimura she’s a girl, something I’ve been waiting to see ever since she got roped into survival games. It’s the first time feeling so cheated. Building anticipation to receive no payoff is hard to shake but everything else was or less okay so I can’t argue about it all.

    Hopefully there’ll be a continuation and we’ll get our long awaited reaction from the two guys and Hotaru’s shame/embarrassment for not saying anything earlier.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    Matsuoka: “Seriously? People only dodge shots like that in movies”

    By chance, did he mean this?:

  5. IreneSharda says:

    And here I thought I was done. Darn you Aoharu x Kikanjuu!

    Aoharu x Machinegun Anime Gets Episode 13 Special

    Now if only Gangsta could follow suit…and Arslan with giving me a season 2.

    • BlackBriar says:

      Interesting. Maybe there’s still hope yet for the reveal otherwise it will leave a bad taste in the mouth.

      Your first sentence totally has me thinking “Just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in!” 😛

  6. akagami says:

    I liked it overall, but I was really annoyed that they ended the anime without Hotaru doing the reveal. GAH. That immediately lost points for me.

    Midori actually turned out to be a likeable guy, with a serious and crush your opponent’s spirit mentality. Once you know what happens, he’s not really a villain at all. It’s just that Masamune is pretty childish and the history was warped in Masamune’s favor. I actually switched from rooting for Toy Gun Gun to rooting for Hoshishiro, once I found out the true history and got to know the Hoshishiro team more.

Leave a Reply to Di Gi Kazune