Kuzu no Honkai 12 – Final Impressions

You’re getting an ending, whether you like it or not. That’s a wrap for the Winter 2017 anime season!

“A Story of Two”

Well now the lyrics of the ED, “Parallel Lines”, seem to make sense. Sometimes lines just don’t cross. If you’ve been keeping up with this series week by week, the ending probably won’t come as much of a surprise. It’s brutal in its honesty and realism, and generating a bit of controversy for some of the more traditional anime ending fans out there. Those people, I say, are crazy. This is the kind of break from expectations and cliché that we need in these trope-filled times – and it’s not even a parody! A breath of fresh air to be sure.

From the traditional romance anime perspective, this is an incredibly depressing ending. Now consider the situation presented here in real life. If you’re at least a few years out of high school that’s cheating, because you already know the reasoning there. These kids are young, inexperienced, growing, changing, and just plain noobs. We’ve become so used to aiming for happily ever after in high school romance that it now seems weird when it doesn’t work out. It pretty much never works out! If you’re still young (even at heart), sorry for that spoiler. But it’s not all doom and gloom.

Akane and Kanai-sensei’s story actually turns out pretty nicely here. They seem to fit together pretty well and Akane has really matured in to a moderately respectable individual – she even holds Kanai back from being the dope that he is. The whole situation is almost too obvious when you think about it. The series practically screams the moral – you need experience before anything gets easier, of which Akane and Kanai have plenty of. The only negative is that Mugi and Hanabi just kind of cease interacting after it’s all over for them – which is a little awkward for how close they were and after separating on pretty good terms. For the purpose of the series and this rather quick conclusion though, it makes sense to have them completely disconnect. Also, high school kids are jerks. You know who you are.

Episode Score
9.0/10 (Great)

Extra thoughts:
– Even seasons make Hana feel left behind.
No cat. No Life. Yes.
– They’re just messing with Hana now.
– Nice four month time skip there.
– Akane is actually pretty nice!
– Yet still completely savage!
Parallel lines
– Bonus points for this series finale actually being an ending.

Kuzu no Honkai - 12 - Love in the Face

Final Impressions

This series manages to be something that I can’t recall anything else coming quite as close to – real. Teenagers are going to have complicated emotions, make out, feel each other up, want the unattainable, and not end up together. Actually, now that I think about it, that’s all of what teenagers do. And the adult side of this story isn’t any less realistic, even if it is a representation of the best-case scenario. Two people with complicated histories manage to find peace in one another. The concept of the series might have seemed near comical at first, with so many angles to the love-dodecagon, but it remained convincing at every turn. There is really little else you can ask of a story like this.

The art direction of this series is getting some worthy praise, as the occasionally simple visuals flow nicely through a manga panel-inspired presentation. Everything seemed to be pushing focus on to the plot and characters, even if that meant subduing the visual aspects. It’s an honest kind of beauty that both high-gloss moe and the ideals of action anime just can’t get behind. And that’s fine – it works here, and those work there.

Overall, this is a wonderfully honest and open exploration of complicated emotions and relationships across varying levels of experience. More shows like this are definitely welcome.

Series Score
8.3/10 (Pretty Good)

(Rounded to 8 for MAL)

Kuzu no Honkai - 12 - 30 Goodbye
Goodbye.
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