Suwa and Naho continue to work together trying to save Kakeru from the sad future that awaits him (and them if they cannot prevent his death). But will the two of them be enough?
What They Say:
Episode 8: LETTER 08
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
So, they’ve changed the future course of events and saved Kakeru. Story over? Of course not. Further drama must unfold. The fact that there are more episodes of anime dictates it. And Kakeru is not saved yet, after all. It’s just that the train has been switched to a different track. The final destination, however, is not yet set.
If you are expecting high drama and rapid action as the two work to save their friend…you’re watching the wrong show. Movement forward continues to be at a glacial pace. Naho and Kakeru, even after their mutual confessions of love, are not dating. Kakeru is afraid of hurting Naho and Naho is passive to the point of almost working against her own happiness on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, Suwa is worried that they are changing the future and what is written in their letters may no longer be able to guide them, since they are now on a new path. Kakeru fainted during a soccer club practice, probably from exhaustion. Suwa wonders whether asking him to join was the right thing to do. He begins to have more doubts about his own letter when he and Naho try to stop Kakeru from running in the class relay as the anchor, where in the Bad End Universe (if we can call it that), Kakeru twisted his ankle and fell—the class lost and he felt responsible. Here, however, Kakeru seems to want to run for the class and it’s only when Suwa and Naho practically strong arm him that he withdraws. Suwa’s doubts grow about whether he’s doing the right thing.
The situation gets resolved in an unusual, but clever, way. As Kakeru is about to withdraw, Naho’s friends all volunteer to form the relay squad with Kakeru. As the students originally picked by the teacher feel it’s a heavy responsibility to represent the class, they’re all too happy to give way to Suwa and friends. It’s a path different from the one sketched out by their future selves, but Suwa and Naho feel that so long as their actions lead to Kakeru being saved, it should be alright.
All of this is to say that the episode rambles and wanders around without really reaching any destination. One can imagine readers hurriedly skipping through the pages of the original manga waiting for something, anything, to happen. That something is the reappearance of warning signs, at least in Naho’s mind. Twice while accompanying Kakeru, Naho shows herself oblivious to a fairly obvious gesture: Kakeru extends his hand to her, only for her to look at it quizzically, wondering what it is he wants. We’ve always known that Naho is a bit dense. Her friends, as usual, come to the rescue, as Takako and Azusa set her straight about Kakeru’s outstretched hand (wanting to hold hands with the person you love is fairly obvious and Kakeru is the shy sort who wouldn’t presume to ask out loud to do so). Suwa now prods Naho to be completely honest with the whole group and finds out what was probably the least surprising development of the story so far: all the friends sent themselves letters from the future. They are joined together in their wish to save Kakeru.
That the group is of one mind is something that was never in doubt. The scenes from the future (which interestingly did not make any appearance at all this time) make it obvious that they all still care deeply about the friend they lost. Now, they can all work together as a group to make their wish come true, unless cruel malign Fate has a different idea in mind.
In addition to the story wandering, there have been some minor problems with the production that have been noticeable of late, which I have not highlighted. There is sloppy animation cropping up a lot. Characters are now more and more off-model in distance shots. In some case, with slightly hilarious results. In others, it’s merely clear that less-talented artists are being handed key animation work. While it does not ruin the show, if it gets more noticeable it may become more than a minor distraction.
Suwa and Naho continue to work together to save Kakeru, but the changed path begins to place doubts in their minds. Are they doing the right things to save Kakeru? Should they follow the letters or go with their own judgment so long as their actions are intended to save Kakeru? It may all be too much for just the two of them. Fortunately for them, it seems that this group is a lot more cohesive than many groups.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Apple iMac with 12GB RAM, Mac OS 10.11 El Capitan.