So, it comes to an end at last, with Sawako and Kazehaya closing out their year, and this series, together for their New Year's shrine visit.
Needless to say, a large portion of this episode is dedicated simply to the dialogue between and inner thoughts of this particular pairing, although Kimi ni Todoke's finale also doesn't forget to move things on just a little between Chizuru and Ryuu while also finding time for the usual brief doses of comic relief.
In a way, it needn't have worried about the comedy, as were all watching in rapt attention to see what (if anything) would happen between Sawako and the apple of her eye - Of course, this series being what it is we don't get some heady conclusion, yet all the same it feels at least somewhat satisfying as progress if nothing else, with the lots of genuinely sweet dialogue mixed up with the odd moment of head in hands stupidity when Kazehaya opens his mouth before entirely engaging his brain. Still, we've all been there and done that, and overall the series closes out leaving us with the warm and fuzzy feeling we were most likely looking for from this particular show.
It has to be said that I wasn't expecting too much of Kimi ni Todoke when I began watching it six months ago - Sawako seemed like exactly the kind of girl I'd have little interest in cheering on through life and love, yet somehow this series managed to play me like a cheap fiddle and within weeks I was welling up with tears at Sawako's sorrow and grinning with joy at her small but notable successes as her life was turned around. Kimi ni Todoke managed to do this with a simple blend of great characterisation and beautifully plotted episodes that managed to introduce drama and emotion that felt so tangible and real you could almost touch it - Something often forgotten by series of this ilk in favour of cheap thrills and more intense story lines. Even though I couldn't always relate to the characters and what they were going through I could still understand their pain or happiness, and at times the way it was portrayed was breathtaking in its simplicity, forgoing dialogue for nothing but silence or crashing waves at a dockside.
In short, this is how romance should be done in my book - Not just in anime, but in any visual medium. If you ever find yourself feeling cynical about love and human relationships, sit down and watch Kimi ni Todoke; it might not make everything alright, but it could just serve to remind you that life can be beautiful, even if it isn't as often as we might like.