Last episode of Kotoura-san!  So obviously there are SPOILERS ahead!

Might end up taking a week off after this, because my life has been pretty hectic lately (work deadlines aaaaahhh).  So First Impressions for the spring anime season might be late; it all really depends on how much free time I have after work.  Also, I’m still debating about whether I want to do an overall review for Sasami-san@Ganbaranai, since the last episode was just really disappointing to me.  Ah well, we’ll see!

On to the review!

Manabe………

Summary:

It’s now winter-time, and Yuriko announces that the ESP club is disbanding!  …Only to reveal a few minutes afterwards that a new ESP club is taking its place.  So basically, nothing about the club has changed except for its goal—which is now focused on picking on Kotoura, the sole psychic of the club.  After this silly display, Kotoura and Yuriko end up having a serious conversation.  Yuriko apologizes for having “used” Kotoura’s powers for her own selfish reasons, and Kotoura reveals that she knew about it all along.  But nonetheless, Kotoura forgives Yuriko and they become good friends once again.  However, Kotoura eventually lets it slip that she’s worried about her and Manabe’s relationship, since Manabe has never actually confessed to her outside of his thoughts.  Yuriko tells Kotoura not to worry about it, and to let things fall into place on their own.

Glad that this joke got used one last time.

After a karaoke session, Kotoura comes home to find her mother (Kumiko) holed up there.  During a tense dinner, an argument breaks out between the mother and daughter and they end up having a huge pillow fight.  Afterwards though; the two seem to have “made-up,” and Kumiko even apologizes (internally) for abandoning Kotoura.  She abandoned Kotoura all those years ago because she felt that she wasn’t a good enough mother.  Kotoura—finally understanding the reason why her mother left her—decides to forgive Kumiko.  And so their relationship is somewhat mended, but they both still have a long ways to go.

Nice to see you too, Kumiko.

At least you admit that you were a pretty shitty mother.

Okay, I admit I teared up a bit at this part…

Later on, Kotoura ends up asking Moritani for advice about what to do about Manabe since he’s never actually confessed to her.  Moritani suggests that Kotoura confess to Manabe first.  So Kotoura ends up doing so when she and Manabe are out on Christmas Eve/night.  Manabe also ends up returning the favor.

…NOW KISS! ((sadly, they don’t))

The last few minutes of the episode is composed of a short montage showing what Kotoura and friends did in the few months after Christmas.  As the upcoming new school year begins, Kotoura happily walks to school with her precious friends.

Overall:

This was a fairly good episode and ending to the series, though it’s sadly rather rushed.

Quite a lot of people were annoyed at this episode, when taken in the context of the Kotoura series as a whole.  Many people felt that Kotoura’s and Kumiko’s mother/daughter relationship should have been given more attention, instead of the serial attacker arc.  After having watched this episode, I’m inclined to agree.

Kotoura and Kumiko’s relationship was one of the first big conflicts introduced into this series.  Heck, it was introduced in the very first episode!  I was really expecting some kind of better resolution to this too, but instead we get it wrapped up hastily in the last episode, almost as if it were an after-thought.  While the mother/daughter scene we got in this episode was very touching, I would still have preferred for it to have been drawn out longer.  Something this important should have gotten its own dedicated episode, if not an entire arc!

Similarly, I felt that Kotoura’s and Manabe’s confessions could have been a whole separate episode also.  Everyone already knows how much the two love each other, but it would have been nice to see more of Kotoura struggling with trying to confess to Manabe, or even more of Kotoura and Manabe hanging out at Christmas-time.  The scene was sweet but much too brief for how important it is in the scheme of things.  Once again, it felt like more of an after-thought than anything else.

Overall, a good episode, but there were simply too many things crammed into it that it felt rushed.  I think that Kotoura-san may have benefitted from a few more episodes in that respect.  Despite the somewhat rushed feeling, this episode did wrap up all loose ends.  It’s not the best ending out there, but I felt it was satisfying enough.

Out of five for this episode:

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Final Thoughts:

Kotoura-san is a… strange anime.  It veers very wildly between two distinct moods: happy, comedic skits and depressing drama.  This constant mood-whiplash might be too much for some to handle, but I think it makes for a very interesting and engaging watch.

The story is basically a more exciting version of a slice-of-life anime, in that there’s a psychic (guess who), extreme family issues, and some realistic dangerous situations.  Even though this series might be a bit “darker” than most slice-of-life, it also explores the more hopeful side of life, and that’s honestly what attracted me to this series initially.  Yes, life can be really shitty at times, but it can also be very beautiful.

The characters are really what “make” this series.  Pretty much all five main characters get some sort of development by the time this series ends, some moreso than others.  It also helps that their interactions are so great.  Sure, they might be a strange group of friends and may seem somewhat antagonistic to each other, but deep down you can see that they really do care for one other.  And that’s just really sweet to see.  Kotoura and Manabe’s relationship is also done very well.  Even though it’s established from the second episode on that they’re “a couple,” this series manages to keep their relationship from going stale.  And, once again, it’s just really sweet to see.

Of course, Kotoura-san isn’t without its criticisms.  The pacing of the series is fine for the most part, but I felt that the producers really dropped the ball when they introduced the mystery arc.  I felt like it could have been an episode shorter, because far too much time got spent on it instead of more important story points like Kotoura and Kumiko’s relationship.  The art-style of this series could also be a turn-off, and indeed it does clash when the anime goes into darker subjects.  But at the same time, it fits perfectly for the gag parts of the series so… your mileage may vary on this topic.  I personally don’t mind the art-style too much.

Final verdict?  I think more people should check out this series.  Or at least the first four episodes.  Even now I don’t know quite what it is about Kotoura-san that makes me like it so, but it is certainly an interesting series.

Out of five for the anime as a whole:

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Even though it wouldn’t need one, if Kotoura-san got a second season, I wouldn’t mind.

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