The captain always goes down with the ship!
The end of an era. It’s been a great ride, but all good things…
The girls are finishing the party preparations. Mitsuki is leading Rina to it, of course we know she overheard them planning it, but she plays along anyway, because Mitsuki is a sweetheart that way.
There’s a bucket of green tea pudding. This excites Mitsuki, but Rina has eaten so much studying for finals she’s rather sick of it.
We get to the presents, and Sumisumi has provided them with mustaches! …Do you girls need a ride? Yeah, you know where this is headed.
Kotone gives Mitsuki a chandelier. Hey. HEEEYYYYY! What the hell, Kotone? We agreed on a thousand yen limit!
Yuzu and Kaede do an impersonation skit of the two, with Kaede as Mitsuki and Yuzu as Rina. Ever the greek chorus, the impersonation just kind of has Rina in the back smiling the whole time. While the joke’s a little flat for me, they hit you in the feels when Kaede hides behind Yuzu, not wanting anyone to know she’s letting slip a tear.
Rina asks Haruka if there’s anything to eat with garlic, and Haruka obliges to whip something up. Mitsuki instantly is jealous someone else will get to eat Haruka’s home cooking, and it rather makes her short with the rest. Also, seems they’ve run out of utensils (not sure how, you knew exactly how many people would be here…) and Yuu just hands the job off, but Mitsuki won’t have guests in their home fetching silverware, so she sends Yuu to the kitchen.
And almost instantly regrets sending Yuu to the same room alone with Haruka, chasing after them, completely expecting them to be kissing. But, as we’ve established, Sakura Trick isn’t ALL about stealing kisses, and they’re honestly going about their business.
Yuu finally hits Mitsuki where it hurts, “What business is it of yours?” Well…Mitsuki can’t even get her head around admitting she likes Haruka. It quickly devolves into a sibling fight, as is prone to happen. Haruka suddenly finds herself in a lesbian tug of war. Good. Good.
Yuu asserts her property rights over Haruka by kissing her woman right in front of Mitsuki.
Look…my casual adoption of the Haruka/Mitsuki ship is well documented. But this episode is doing Yuu no favors. “Haruka is mine. Mine mine mine. See?” is so…it’s so frat boy it makes me want to punch her in her smug face. A reflex that Yuu had trouble enough suppressing in me earlier in the season. I would have less of a problem with it if Haruka wasn’t objecting THE ENTIRE TIME, while last episode when Haruka tried to do something similar Yuu fended Haruka off with a breast grab instantly, knowing it made Haruka uncomfortable. Oh, because it’s Haruka, obviously she wants it? Yuu…you’re just a bitch.
But it seems to have angered Mitsuki enough. She breaks it up and asks whether Yuu did or did not confess her love to Haruka.
It’s unclear if Yuu is trying to disarm Mitsuki, presuming her question to be homophobic, or if she genuinely feels this way (you know what side I’m falling on, though), but she counters that she kisses Haruka because they’re super besties, and nothing more. Just because they kiss, she says, doesn’t mean it has to be romantic, everyone is different, it’s their choice to make.
But it has the opposite effect if she hoped Mitsuki would stand down. She turns right around, saying that means Haruka is technically single. So she has the slimmest of chances. And confesses her love.
The final minisode, Sakura Trick, opens at the graduation ceremony. And we see Mitsuki cast a glance Haruka’s way as she receives her diploma. She even vanishes without saying anything after the ceremony.
Cutting to our regulars, it seems Haruka has done the same…uh oh. Yuu wanders off to find her.
Yes, Haruka was called out. We see it in flashback, Mitsuki calling Haruka on the phone. Yuu finds her, but not before Mitsuki arrives, and she hides to spy on them.
It’s a very well crafted scene, and dramatic as hell considering the inanity this series can reach from time to time. Haruka is quiet, shy, while Mitsuki is determined, just this juggernaut that won’t let her feelings be ignored any longer. Even the angles play this up, making Mitsuki seem way, way taller than she actually is in comparison to Haruka.
Mitsuki is completely caught off guard by Haruka saying she likes Mitsuki too.
Well unfortunately Haruka’s word play comes into things. Is Haruka really so naive at 16 that she doesn’t know the concept of dating?
Mitsuki tries her best to fumble through examples of a relationship. Haruka dumbly smiles as she thinks “Oh, like with Yuu!”
Mitsuki finally realizes she just isn’t getting through to Haruka. Haruka says she may not understand, but thinking about it with Yuu will almost certainly help. Well, Mitsuki has her answer. She laughs, very sadly, that it was Haruka’s devotion to her sister that started this whole attraction in the first place. She was drawn to that bit of Haruka’s personality.
As we’ve established on this blog multiple times, Mitsuki is really just a lonely person, and yes, Haruka probably is just a convenient outlet for her homosexual feelings. That is almost certainly true. And I do realize that, as things have fallen, nothing is coming between Haruka and Yuu except, well, Yuu’s stupidity.
But this is also like saying “well, I just don’t think that free car is a good fit for me. Can I ride a donkey cross country instead?” Did I just compare Yuu to a donkey? Maybe. But as I said this episode has won her no favors from me.
This falls back to what I said in Episode 9 about Haruka being impulse, and Yuu (and here, Mitsuki) being methodical. Like Sumisumi said last time, Mitsuki is always serious. When she has feelings, they aren’t just an impulse to her. They are rational and they have deep rooted sources. She can’t JUST have whimsical thoughts about another girl. No. They could only be by part of some grander design. A deep connection and meaning that cannot be explained away by random chance. In this sense, Mitsuki approaches everything in life like a test, the same tests she has dedicated her childhood to mastering.
For Haruka, life is an adventure, not a test. It is a ride to be savored, not a challenge to be defeated. It is only natural that she doesn’t really understand. But, still, I am calling bullshit on her protrayal here after that whole wedding mess back in Episode 8. You mean to tell me Haruka can consider these things but doesn’t understand the courtship part of it?
Again, I draw on the “Mitsuki is secretly a dominatrix” card. Mitsuki, aside from the student council, has no social circle. She is extremely driven, and this whole concept of “friends are just fun” rather evades her. After all, while she has accepted being dragged into Yuu’s social circle, she is not a proactive member of that circle. She says hello because she knows them, but she doesn’t ask them to hang out. Indeed, the only time she has been proactive socially has been here. Calling out Haruka. It has a reason, a purpose. Mitsuki needs goals and ambitions, and if it doesn’t follow to those, she just can’t grasp her brain around it. Not necessarily because she is a sociopath or anything, but just because it is so far outside her life experience it doesn’t even occur to her.
Now we can argue whether or not that is tragic, and I suppose in a way it is, but I guess I just need to explain away to myself why this pairing did not work.
BECAUSE I VERY MUCH WANT THEM TO! T.T
And with Sakura petals falling everywhere, Mitsuki says she will be selfish, and comes to kiss Haruka on the forehead. She confidently says that this time, it wasn’t an accident. And, by omission, that she chooses to love Haruka, even if originally it snuck up on her.
Well Rina catches up with them, and Yuu drags Haruka away, the pair parting, quite possibly, forever. At the very least the next two years, Mitsuki did promise she’d return for the final senior party when Haruka and Yuu are graduating.
Rina observes that Mitsuki seems happier. She’s noticed the weight Mitsuki carried since the party yesterday. Rina shows some gratitude, maybe even letting hint of her own feelings, that Mitsuki always seems to know what’s going on with Rina. She also figures out that Mitsuki never told Haruka she’d be headed for a different prefecture for college. She doesn’t say it, but Rina seems to have put two and two together, as to why Mitsuki and Haruka were alone. Behind the tennis courts (or whatever those were). And I suppose we can take solace that the pair will stick together, and perhaps when Mitsuki is over this puppy love she can find some real happiness.
But truth in television, when Rina turns her back, saying their future is bright, Mitsuki cannot stop a sad wince. It was so extremely effective, and much like these things happen in life, was over before we realized it.
There’s a scene with Haruka and Yuu in their classroom, alone. Haruka is reflecting on her feelings. She -thinks- she meant the same thing as Mitsuki…but she wonders how it could be wrong. This scene, despite 50% of the people in the room being Yuu, manages not to suck.
It’s actually quite endearing. But the pair don’t really come to a conclusion, and just start making out. But their little confessions of “Suki” just cause the pair to become embarrassed.
Now my opinion’s been quite clear, I am comfortable with the fact that Yuu and Haruka have a somewhat juvenile romance. Because…well, damnit, dude, they’re teenagers. Of course they have an immature romance. But I admit to not being able to see which side the show is coming down on. Perhaps it doesn’t actually have one. Perhaps it’s just showing us that, these two, Haruka and Yuu, are not ready for that more serious connection.
Which would piss me off, as that would be playing to the stereotype that being a lesbian is something you “grow out of”. I think my biggest issue here is Haruka’s ignorance, it plays up to those ideas. And that’s such a shame because the show has been SO GOOD about not falling back on those stupid outdated ideas.
But as we then see the girls going to school their first day as second years, we end on a high note, a little conversation between all the leads meeting up, and Haruka and Yuu sharing a quick kiss outside the threshold of school before diving in.
Well that’s the end. Sakura Trick. I am trying SO HARD not to let this last bit ruin the show. Because it CAN be as simple as “Haruka is immature” without needing to be commentary on ALL lesbians. But as the primary viewpoint character, she does have a bigger responsibility to portray it in a positive light. It is just so counter to Haruka’s personality as “true love conquers all”, the extremely passionate, clingy person that Haruka is, that I can’t reconcile it with being unable to tell when someone is asking her out.
But those are things best saved for the series recap.