What They Say:
Takano remembers his time in high school. Dealing with his parents’ divorce, deciding on which college to attend, and a young Onodera who just confessed his love to a shocked
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the end of the season, Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi does something that’s definitely a good thing by going and looking back at the leads younger days. And specifically that of Takano and Onodera. As we’ve seen that the two have had a relationship of sorts in high school and the confusion that came about when the series started due to Onodera’s name change, spending some time going back to that period of their lives and looking at it fresh is useful. We’ve had the smattering of impressions here and there over the course of it, done in a somewhat hazy and cute sort of way, but here we get to have things done in a bit clearer and more straightforward fashion as they go about their lives as young men trying to figure out what it is they want and who they are.
As much as I do like this time of their lives, it’s definitely very awkward when looking at the two young men as they are. Onodera is obviously even more skittish than he has been in the series and there’s something about him that makes you understand easily why Takano would be protective of him. You see it in the obvious use of the kitten that Takano takes in briefly with how his own parents react to it and the way they’re so disconnected from their son’s life. He wants them to be involved, to be connected to someone, which is one of the reasons that he’s as interested in Onodera as he is. The internal dialogue that we get from Takano as he lives through this, run in parallel with the adorable images of the kitten, is predictable but well done male high school drama. It’s not over done by any stretch, it’s kept pretty realistic and honest, but it hits the right emotional notes in showing us who Takano is at this point in time.
Working in Onodera’s attitude and place in life at this time works rather well since you have Takano going through a bit of a whipsaw with his attitude on things due to his parents. While he wants to be closer to Onodera, things are throwing so many curveballs at him that he ends up lashing out at the one that he actually cares about, and who in his own way is actually trying to reach out to him without quite understanding his own feelings. Getting this look inside Takano is definitely one of the better ways of ending things here since we haven’t had that much from his side specifically throughout the run, focusing instead on Onodera. And while that’s important, getting a good look at what motivates him, interests him and defines him as a man is just as important with Takano. The high school adventure is a bit more somber than one might have thought in some ways, but it’s appropriate and definitely helps to set things for what came throughout the series.
While there have been several couples in the series to follow, the one that really made it for me is the pairing of Takano and Onodera. Spending the time going back to their teenage years with all the uncertainty, confusion and issues that comes from it is definitely a full circle sort of way of doing things. And that it was focusing specifically on Takano only made it better since he definitely got the shorter end of the stick overall of the two in this relationship in the present. It’s charming, heartwarming and delightful to watch it unfold as it deals with the bookends of the present, the somber moments in the past and the spot on humorous moments that only serve to help humanize the pair even more. Sekai Ichi Hatsuko had its ups and downs and couples I didn’t care, but when it focused on the ones that I enjoyed, it fire on all cylinders and entertained thoroughly. This episode closes it all out beautifully.
Readers Rating: [ratings]
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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