Ah, this really was a cute ending for such a consistently excellent series. While not the best single episode of the series, it provided closure in a “life goes on”-kind of ending. The series feels complete, even though the manga goes on after this point.
As for my big fear for the ending: thankfully the creators didn’t end up making Fumi and Akira a couple, although this episode did play around with the romantic feelings between them. I began to fear a bit when Fumi saw Akira hanging out with Kou together and got jealous, but in the end the creators had a very nice explanation for that: Fumi had forgotten that her first crush was the one she had on Akira, when they were little. It’s this realization that made for the charming ending, and yet at the same time you could see that Fumi and Akira weren’t cheesily falling in love once they realized this. They could become a couple in the future, they could not. Who knows? Thankfully it feels much more natural than just about every other childhood crush out there.
Overall, I’m really glad that I managed to stick with this series. It definitely stands among my Top 3 of the series that premiered at the Summer Season, along with Tokyo Magnitude and GA. At the beginning of the season, I claimed that this could be one of the best summer seasons ever. That unfortunately didn’t hold up, since a number of series did end up a bit disappointing after their initial episodes (most notably, Canaan, Bakemonogatari and Sora no Manimani), but I do have to agree that there are surprisingly few series that are below average. And Aoi Hana really ignored everything and just went on to deliver one consistently solid episode after the other.
At this point, it seems pretty likely that I’m going to be forced to blog Kimi ni Todoke next season. I have no idea what it’s going to be about, other than that it’s also going to be a shoujo romance, but I do have to say that it’s going to have to try really hard to be able to beat this series.
Rating: ** (Excellent)