Anime Rewatch 2021: Kimi ga Nozomu Eien 10-11

Episode 10 is the big one, the culmination of all the build-up spanning the last few episodes. I’ve mentioned before that the anime is directed to be much more melodramatic than the game, and the ending to this episode is definitely the go-to example of that, in that both Haruka and Mitsuki hit their rock-bottom lowest point at exactly the same time. The two events aren’t connected in any way, they just happen to occur simultaneously, leaving the viewer with an intense double-whammy to close out the episode.

I said earlier that trying to get the viewer to forgive Mitsuki in episode 5 is one of the biggest “asks” I’ve ever seen in an anime, but in terms of raw emotional impact, trying to ask the viewer to get over what Mitsuki does in episode 10 may be even rougher. Part of that stems from the fact that this event doesn’t play out in the original game the same way. The anime is, of course, based on Mitsuki’s route, the game’s true route. However, the event where Mitsuki winds up sleeping with Shinji comes from Haruka’s route. So in Mitsuki’s route, the player is never asked to come to terms with Mitsuki sleeping with Shinji. In Haruka’s route, on the other hand, this event basically marks the end of Mitsuki as a sympathetic figure altogether – from this point on, Haruka’s route treats Mitsuki as more of an obstacle to be disposed of than a real character. By choosing to incorporate this event into Mitsuki’s route, the anime sets a far higher bar for itself, trying to maintain Mitsuki as a sympathetic character even after seeing her cross this line.

Part of what the anime does to make it work is, as I’ve continued to emphasize, make Mitsuki a POV character almost equal to Takayuki himself. In Haruka’s route in the game, the player see things exclusively through Takayuki’s eyes, so they learn of Mitsuki’s infidelity at the same point that Takayuki does: after the fact. By focusing on Mitsuki’s POV, the anime more vividly portrays what happened to Mitsuki to bring her to this point. Takayuki has been giving her the cold shoulder for basically three episodes straight by this point. She doesn’t seem to have any other friends; her normally-friendly boss is coming down on her due to her increasingly sloppy work. She really is all alone at this point. And so when Shinji comes rushing in to stop Mitsuki from sleeping with some sketchy rando, Mitsuki actually breaks down laughing. Shinji is the first person to actually show some concern for Mitsuki in what feels like forever. Seeing her break down, and knowing what has happened to bring her to this point, is probably the saddest moment in the series.

Is it enough to keep the viewer’s sympathy after seeing what happens next? I dunno. Like I said about episode 5, it’s a big ask. If I may skip ahead to episode 12 for a moment, I think the show does an excellent job of showing how Takayuki could forgive her for what happened – he is, after all, in no position to throw stones, and he seems to understand that the ultimate blame for what happened can easily be laid at his feet. So I totally buy that Takayuki can move past it. And maybe that’s all the show really wants. Maybe the show doesn’t necessarily need the viewer to forgive Mitsuki, it only needs the viewer to accept that Takayuki does.

As for Haruka’s side of the story, it’s actually also drawn from someone else’s route. In Mitsuki’s route, Haruka discovers the truth from the picture that the four of them took. The anime version draws inspiration from Akane’s route, which also depicts Akane blurting out the truth. As I’ve mentioned before, the anime is definitely drawn to melodrama, and the Akane version is definitely much more dramatic. I imagine this change was also made to give more focus for Akane, who we really haven’t gotten to dig into much in the anime despite her importance to the story.

It’s striking to me to find that, after writing so much about Mitsuki’s side of the story, there’s almost nothing to say about Haruka’s side other than what is shown on the screen. I think that drives home the fact that Haruka has not really been a full-fledged character in this story so far. Because of the nature of her condition, we don’t get to dig into her character and learn more about her, despite the fact that her condition is what drives the story. I’ve said a lot about how Mitsuki carries the show as a POV character alongside Takayuki, but that’s simply impossible for Haruka the way she is now. Keep that contrast in mind as we head into the show’s endgame.

After the explosive end to episode 10, episode 11 is a slow recovery episode depicting the fallout. On Mitsuki’s side, we’ve got Mitsuki and Shinji trying to figure out what to do now. I have to say, I actually feel pretty bad for Shinji in this episode. Takayuki is a screw-up and Mitsuki is a mess, but Shinji seems like he’s only trying to do what’s best. It’s just a shame that he has no idea what’s best at this point. Shinji is definitely not blameless here – it takes two to tango, and he shouldn’t have gone along with Mitsuki – but I can’t be too mad at him. He’s dealing with two crazy people and he unfortunately wasn’t strong enough to resist getting washed away in it.

Akane’s side of the episode is largely devoted to wrapping up Akane’s role in the story, by allowing her to lay out her side and then letting her bow out. What I find interesting about her big scene in this episode is that even though she does explain that much of what she did was for Takayuki’s sake, the anime seems to back away from having her say the most important part explicitly, instead leaving it to the viewer to make that last leap. I think maybe the anime wanted to avoid making the core love triangle too complicated? The show more-or-less says explicitly that Shinji had a crush on Mitsuki, but it seems to stop just short of having Akane say the same about Takayuki. But don’t worry, if you want to get into more detail about Akane’s true feelings, Akane Maniax will have your back.

After hitting rock-bottom in episode 10, the show needs to start building back up towards the finale, so we close out episode 11 with the first glimmer of hope the show has offered in a long time, as Mitsuki returns to the apartment to find Takayuki collapsed on the ground. Er, that didn’t sound too hopeful, did it? It is, I suppose, a very KimiNozo-ish way of offering hope – despite the circumstances, it’s the first time in a long while that either of these two have actually expressed concern for each other. It’s a nice way of bringing the two of them back together so that we can start moving into the endgame.


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