This is a final episode so there are SPOILERS beyond this point.
The school term is ending, so it’s time for the graduation ceremony to send off the third-year students. Amazingly, Sakamoto is called up to make the farewell speech, even though he’s just a first-year. Atsushi, under Fukase’s influence, storms the stage during Sakamoto’s speech, attempting to hit him with a metal bat. Sakamoto (being Sakamoto) manages to dodge each hit. Somehow, the two end up on the balcony, and Atsushi goes over the railing and nearly hits the stage below. Thankfully, Sakamoto catches him. Despite Atsushi badly injuring Sakamoto’s hand in frustration; Sakamoto still holds on and manages to get both of them back on the ground safely.
Afterwards, as Sakamoto runs to the nurse’s office to bandage he hand, he meets face-to-face with Fukase. The two have a conversation; in which Fukase makes it clear that he never wants to graduate because there’s no life after high school. Finally understanding Fukase’s motivations, Sakamoto asks Hayabusa to aid him, in “forcing” Fukase to graduate. (The scene just… has to be seen to be believed.)
After the graduation ceremony, rumors about Sakamoto spread. It turns out that he’s leaving in order to attend an academy in America. Everyone has a pie-throwing party to send him off. As Sakamoto goes out of the school doors, Hayabusa calls him out on his lie. Sakamoto isn’t really going to America, is he? Sakamoto makes no effort to deny this, and just claims that he’s had no regrets.
The general opinion for Sakamoto’s final episode is somewhat mixed, with some claiming it was too somber of an ending for what started out as a comedy series. While the tone of the last episode is definitely a lot more serious that usual, I do think it’s a good and fitting ending.
While comedy was one of the main themes of Sakamoto, another theme was character development. Sakamoto managed to touch the lives of many of his classmates, and they all developed into better people from it (well… for the most part). Hell, he even managed to fix Fukase! Thus, I guess you can view his abrupt leave of the school as a sort of Mary Poppins thing: he’s done his job in fixing everyone’s problems, so now he has to leave (and move on).
However, the last scene of the series does raise a lot of (unanswered) questions. What’s the deal with Sakamoto’s lie? If he wasn’t really going to America, then where is he going? There seem to be two main theories surrounding this. The first is that Sakamoto’s actually an alien, who’s returning to his home planet. Throughout the series, Sakamoto has acted like he doesn’t really understand human society; so that theory is plausible. The second (and more realistic) theory is that… Sakamoto’s actually been terminally ill the entire series and is about to die. I don’t want to explain the details of that theory here, because a quick search for “Sakamoto episode 12” online will yield much better explanations than I can formulate. If this theory is true, then that means that Sakamoto’s basically been putting on an act the entire series; and trying to live his life to the fullest. Ouch, my heart.
If I had to nitpick, for a final episode, the animation didn’t seem that great. However, everything else (the voice-acting, the pacing, etc.) was great. The scene with Sakamoto actually showing some sort of sadness was surprisingly hard-hitting. I think I’d rather go with the “Sakamoto is an alien” theory (even as much as I dislike such a cop-out) just to cheer myself up…
Anyway, out of five for this episode, I give:
While I loved the manga this was based on, the anime turned out to be… a little hit-or-miss. It wasn’t bad by any means, but I did feel at times that manga format probably suited the material better. Still, I am very happy that this anime ended up being made at all. Sakamoto’s brand of comedy is definitely not for everyone; and there will be some people who won’t understand that Sakamoto’s god-moding is basically a parody of Mary Sue-like characters. Nonetheless, I feel like Sakamoto’s character is well-developed enough to keep things entertaining. I also think this is one of the few “school-based” anime where most of the minor characters got a major focus every now and then. This anime isn’t JUST about Sakamoto; it’s also about his classmates as well.
From what I can remember, the anime adapts the manga pretty faithfully. And by that, I mean almost frame-for-frame shots. It would have been nice for the anime to have a little more original content; but eh, it’s no big deal. I guess I’d rather have a good series get adapted faithfully than see a good series get adapted with a lot of new material that is awful (I am looking at you, Houshin Engi, Violinist of Hameln, and The World God Only Knows).
Anyway, it was a fun ride, and there’s not much for me to talk about here. The animation was definitely better at the beginning, but I do think the anime adapted the manga’s style fairly well. Also, the music/soundtrack for this series is just great.
Out of five for this series as a whole, I give: