When Kannagi finished airing at the back end of last year, I had high hopes for the open-ended finale to the series as a gateway to a second season - However, those hopes were dampened a little by the announcement of this DVD-only "episode fourteen", which looked set to be the proper end to the show. Well, it turns out that my hopes for a second season aren't completely dashed after all, as this offering is very much a stand-alone episode rather than any kind of attempt to carry on from where episode thirteen left off.
This episode begins with Takako finding 100,000 Yen laying on the roadside (like you do), and being the honest person she is, she immediately... takes the money to all of the members of the art club to decide how best to spend it. Well, when I say decide, Takako has already decided that they have to use the money to make a movie, the only question is regarding what its content should be. Everyone has a different idea of what they want out of the project, from romance to action, which leaves Akiba with the difficult task of writing a script which shoehorns in everyone's preferences. Amazingly, it still ends up being better than Shangri-la.
With the script ready, cue a first half that takes plenty of cues from that infamous episode zero of The Melcanholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and to be honest it's the kind of scenario which never fails to crack me up - Ridiculous make-up, terrible acting and some distinctly inappropriate camera angles all add to a pretty amusing little segment of the episode. However, before long the rain closes in, bringing almost typhoon-like conditions and sending the assembled cast back to the school for shelter. Wet uniforms are soon discarded for swimsuits (you weren't expecting a DVD-only episode of Kannagi without fan service were you?), and with that done this bunch of boys and girls do what any bunch of teenagers left alone and dressed in very little do... They play retro video games. Even this is lost when a blackout occurs, leaving us with an end to the episode which would have proved far more worthy of filming as a movie than Akiba's clumsy script.
After Kannagi finished airing, I questioned to myself whether I'd still care about it six months down the line, but the glimmers of a western DVD release and this bonus episode have proved that I actually do. I mentioned in my closing thoughts for the series proper that Kannagi has been impressive in its ability to turn tired old concepts into genuinely funny moments, and that thought appeared once again with this episode's ability to turn its "filming a movie" scenario into something worthy of a few laughs. Things only got better as the episode wore on, and although the animation quality for this instalment was pretty ropey in general terms this turned out to be a pretty amusing episode all in all - Not a classic by this series reckoning I have to admit, but good enough to be an entertaining watch, and (of course) a must-see episode for Kannagi fans. Is this a good time to say "roll on a second series" again?