Sadly, all things, good and bad, must eventually end. Thus, we must bid goodbye to one of the best anime series in the past long while.
Before we go any further, please take note that spoilers are everywhere in this post.
This was an episode that broke a lot of people's hearts. Fans are mostly divided between Kirino and Kuroneko; I'm a Kirino fan while my husband is a Kuroneko one. Their relationship was very sweet and I know Kyosuke still cares for her, but in the end he breaks it completely off. The entire scene is heart-wrenching, so matter who you actually support. This series' ability to show character emotion is in full force here. Nothing is held back. I think if I had not been surrounded by people when I watched it, I'd probably would have cried. Kuroneko's crying scream is so full of pain and loneliness, it really did stir my heart. And then Kyosuke starting to reach out to her one last time, but stops himself.... DAMMIT TEARS STOP.
After that roller-coaster, we get a chance to reset with some sibling comedy as the two go out to spend Christmas day together in Akihabara (and of course they play an ero-game). But that rest isn't for too long, as Kyosuke finally manages to gather up the courage to tell Kirino how he feels. But before he can, she runs off, which results in one of the funniest chases ever. Saori, her sister, and Kuroneko showing up in that hilarious car and the speakers shouting out an embarrassing recording.... I wasn't sure when to laugh or when to take it seriously.
Incest is rather common in hentai, though nine times out of ten it's step-siblings or cousins. The fact that this series actually crossed that line makes it stand out from the crowd. Everyone I knew thought it wouldn't come to that, since it never does, but I was rooting the entire way. This episode made my freakin' day with the confession/proposal scene.
Be still my beating heart.
This one picks up right back up. The siblings talk in a hotel room, but all Kirino wants to do is play the game, but her emotions are too jumbled up. So Kyosuke gives her an engagement ring, but Kirino states the obvious: they can never get married. She then whispers something to him, to which he agrees before they continue to play the game.
Afterwards they tell Kuroneko and Saori about their new relationship. To keep things from getting too serious, Kirino and Kuroneko end up in an argument about their favorite anime series, including a fake fight.
You can punish me Kuroneko~!
Kyosuke has to leave as he gets a text from Kanako to visit her live event where she asks him to date her while on stage. He turns her down and she tells him he'll regret it when she becomes a real idol. Of course, in real life Japan that would have probably been the immediate end of her career, but hey, this is a cartoon, so whatever. I don't feel as if her confession was really heartfelt, but more of a crush (the same goes for Saori).
The next morning Kyosuke wakes up with Kirino in his bed. He pokes her boob, like any healthy teenage boy would. Kirino states she did it to compare it with an ero-game. Riiiiight.
They then exchange items as a couple ritual. Of course, Kirino wants to give him anime merchandise, while she gets his school uniform. But while going through her items Kyosuke finds the photo album from the first season that he never looked in. It's a collection of photos of him, and of the two of them together. Kirino then has him listen to two recordings of her younger self speaking to her future self. They are very sincere, heartfelt, and reveal Kirino's true feelings. I teared up a little listening to it, along with the sad melody that played.
Just this simple frame holds a lot of emotion.
This is it, time to wrap up everything. The episode opens with Kyosuke and Manami walking to school for graduation. That immediately made me think, "Ohsnap, he hasn't flat out turned down Manami" so I knew something ugly was going to happen by the end.
The second part of the episode shows just that. The promised fight between Kirino and Manami actually turns into a fist-fight. Manami does not hold back on what she says and Kirino gloats in her face; which, while I thought was a bit mean, I felt Manami deserved it for calling them sick freaks. She is super upset that she did not end up with Kyosuke, but, in the end, it's her own fault. She never tried to make him hers but was so confident that he'd just pick her. Life doesn't work that way and I enjoyed watching Miss Know-It-All be forced to accept that she was wrong. I really think that when she walked away, it wasn't just walking away for now; she was walking out of their lives.
It's actually a pretty epic fight, complete with girl hair pulling.
On a side note, my husband did point out that we have not seen Ayase since Kyosuke turned her down. I do wonder what she had to say about their relationship, but it might have been avoided because she would most likely have killed them both.
The next scene is the two of them holding a wedding in an empty church. While it is a beautiful scene, it's also extremely sad because no one is there. It's subtle, but it reinforces that not a single person supports them.
So at this point, I was fist pumping the air and shouting "YES" in everyone's face. Then the anime gut-punched me when it revealed that the unheard whisper from the previous episode was that they promised to be a couple until graduation, then go back to being normal siblings. My shouts turned into a long string of "NO"s very quickly. I honestly felt a bit betrayed, but then one more thing happened at the end. Kyosuke says that he never got Kirino to do the one thing he was promised, then he kisses her on the cheek (she, of course, freaks out). Now, reading a translation of the light novel it seems like he kissed her on the lips there, but not having read the original script, I cannot say which is "correct." However, either way it leaves the ending a little more open. I truly believe that it is impossible for them to just be "normal" siblings and that it's entirely possible for them to continue their relationship, though it would not be easy. But at this point they've been through so much together and even permanently cut certain ties with friends that they just need to go for it and be honest with their real feelings.
*Insert Bunny fangirling here*
I have seen all over the internet people stating that the original author, Fushimi Tsukasa, said that he wanted them to be together but that the editor and/or publisher would not allow it. However, I cannot find any actual references to support this. If anyone reading this has that information, please share it with me!
What started as a silly love comedy turned into a heart stabber. Dammit, I was WAY too emotionally invested in this series. And that, to me, is what makes this series a masterpiece.