Originally Posted by Meophist
I really did not expect Shiori's classmate to reappear. That was surprising.
Well I expected it. It wouldn't be like KyoAni to introduce somebody and leave her alone for the rest of the series. They showed Kuze twice, Taiyaki Master twice, and Amano more than twice. = P
I must say, this wasn't as highly anticipated for me, but I was still eager to see the outcome of Shiori's subplot. In my eyes, Shiori is the most beautiful of the five leading females of the series. In addition to that, I've always had a kind of hook for the ones who use "Desu/Masu" all the time. This wasn't very action-oriented nor was it surreal. It was basically a slice of down-to-earth soap opera drama and you kind of have to view it in that sense. People trying to cope with things, people trying to make decisions for themselves, people making casual jokes, people engaged in causal talk. Half the time it seems trite and dull, but really that's what real life can be sometimes... just ordinary.
Well, it seems over. It feels over. I'm just abound and not sure what to say. I guess I'll comment on the animation first. The beginning had its yucky moments. I didn't particularly like what they did with the eyes - shadowing their faces and not drawing in the eyes at all. This felt a little sloppy to me. But if you're into expressing mood more than animation detail (or as KyoAni has demonstrated several times already but not here, both), I guess this wouldn't be a complaint for you. It picked up towards the end, and that much I'm happy about. The beginning is just iffy.
On to the plot. The beginning half starts out pretty uneventful. The cat clock, the overstuffed bentous, reiterating to Kaori about Shiori's wishes. They're all stuff we've seen before presented in a way to show how the producers are keeping track with continuity. But it seems unnecessary to me. I've had a week to reflect on what has already been said. I've seen and reseen the episode/s prior to this one. Why do I need to be reminded, you know what I mean?
The second half is good in some places and failed to meet my expectations in other areas. The disco is awsome (look at Ayu's face btw. pure lol) and it really highlights Shiori and Kaori's relationship like a lightbulb in a dark room. Afterwards, it's all drama. Kaori finally smiles. They redo their activities as before with a little more meaning. They've gotten close. Very close. She asks if she can hold his hand. She confesses some rather intimate things to him. She kisses him. I don't know what all this may indicate to all the viewers out there, but to me these are all progressions of romance - however young those two might be (16 we know but we get my point = P). A person like Yuuichi wouldn't be so blind to realize how she feels about him. His shock of her kiss is understandable since he wants her to make the decisions; he didn't expect how far she would take it.
At this point, time stopped for me. It felt like this scene by the fountain was going to continue forever and I had hoped so. But really, the ending theme was 30 seconds away and it hit me like a truck going 90 on the highway. I had absolutely no time to absorb all this light and sound, no time to deal with the shock of the resolution of this episode. In short, I felt it, but I couldn't feel it that long nor could I feel it the length I wanted it.
So what am I trying to tell myself and to others? Okay, I'll be honest. This episode didn't affect me in terms of mood. It ran out of time. The ending was timed incorrectly. Everything else was good. Great, even. Shiroi is beautiful. The party was awsome and it really emphasized something BIG. Their last few hours that they spent together was magnificent and the animation definately highlighted that. The confession felt real. It looked real. Everything was perfect. She kissed him; my heart sunk (and you'll never make a smooth .gif with that scene! KyoAni has made certain of that!). I was touched.
And then I see this letter in the snow, which is good and all in terms of drama. But really, this came too fast. He looked desparate. He was desparate to find her; it's so apparent on his face. But we cut to a shot of this letter. It's like, "jeez, this can't be real. This is too sudden." What I really would've wish for was Yuuichi trying to search areas in vein for Shiori (the place he first met her, for instance. It can't be far). But then, Shiori did say she was going to buy something. She wouldn't travel miles for it. The other factor was Yuuichi seemed too ready to let this go. This doesn't settle with me very well. This bond was so much more romantic than it ever was with Makoto. He should've felt or acted more upon seeing that letter in my opinion. But no, Shiori disappeared just like Makoto did, and it looked to me like his reaction was the same as before. No tears, no weak legs. Just a fade to black and BOOM! You have happy Ayu running in the snow. That kills the mood. Seriously.
But again, this could all be a result in a loss of time, and maybe forcing this kind of conclusion on the voice actor of Yuuichi must've felt like an impossible task for him too. The scenes were great in the end. But it could've ended better.
I'll talk again. But yeah. What happened?