What They Say:
This country girl is ready for the big city! Well, at least she thought she was. Mitsumi’s dream is to attend a prestigious school and make the world a better place. But when she finally gets to Tokyo, it turns out she isn’t exactly prepared for city life. Luckily, she runs into Shima, a sweet and handsome classmate who becomes her first friend! Can she make it in Tokyo with Shima by her side?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The season draws to a close with this episode and it’s definitely been not just a highlight of the season but of the year so far for me. Mitsumi has been a delight as someone coming from the rural area to the big city but not being a complete rube or just agog all the time. And the people she fell in with handled her pretty well while exploring the things that make them tick to highlight why their lives in the city aren’t as easy breezy as Mitsumi might think. As much fun as Mitsumi is, and her relationship with Shima, it was the time spent with Mika and Yuzuki and getting into what makes them tick that truly won me over with them. And seeing the small internal and external confrontations they had with themselves and others delivered some thoroughly engaging characters.
With the culture festival starting in the previous episode with parents and others visiting, things have gone a bit sideways with Shima’s time as someone on TV comes to light, though he manages it well. He’s able to handle it since his little brother is there and he’s able to get him sent off with his mother. But the reality is that Shima’s ex is the one that’s making things worse being there and Mitsumi is keenly aware of it, even as she’s wary of Ririka. The show hasn’t had much in the way of a catalyst like Ririka in play so seeing how Mitsumi ends up being able to slice the tension (and how Shima’s mind processes it) is a delight in itself. But it also shows how Ririka feels about it because she’s seeing a Shima that she hasn’t seen before with her but rather with Mitsumi. The scorned element is driving her a lot. The first half handles all of this well while also giving us some solid internal monologue material from Shima as he tries to understand his relationship with the women in his life in an interesting way.
Shima’s maturity here is welcome and much-needed not just so he can move forward but to realizing he’s enjoying his school life these days and wants more of that. I do like that we get some more time with Ririka and Chris as well, but Ririka was so lightly used in the season that spending too much time with her feels off when the season is about to wrap up. The episode spends its time doing a fair bit of epilogue stuff to the festival and various little character bits, presumably to please manga fans in seeing some of those threads, but it does get back to our core characters a bit with Mitsumi narrating all their changes and growth. The mood is most certainly there in this sequence and the positive outlook that she brings to it all. Thankfully, we do get that time with just Mitsumi and Shima that again feels more honest and real than most other series get and it’s just adorable to watch as Shima makes some actual moves here that matter – even just to himself.
While the season finale didn’t end as strongly as I would have hoped, it’s doing the hard work of adapting a manga and sticking to what it needs to from there. The show as a whole has been one of the best high school romantic drama experiences I’ve had in quite some time and gives me hope that good quality works can still be produced without needing to be so navel-gazing or so outwardly active as to push you away from something realistic. I adored the cast as a whole but the supporting players like Mika and Yuzuki truly stole the show for me just in exploring the struggles that they have of being young women in the big city and what the world places upon them. And to contrast that with how Mitsumi is seemingly to them blissfully disconnected from it all. There are a lot of moving parts to this show and it succeeds at it the vast majority of the time, making it a true delight.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll