Aoyama-kun kind of comes full circle as the finale centers around Zaizen and Aoyama one last time. I’d would even argue that this episode is a contrast to the premiere. In the first episode, it was Zaizen who was asking Aoyama if he wanted to win. Here, it’s the exact opposite where Aoyama questions Zaizen’s resolve for victory. It’s fitting since Zaizen is the first character Aoyama has any meaningful connection with.
Now that Zaizen can kick a soccer ball, he now has his sights on scoring his first goal in a game in honor of his mother (who you presume to be dead until the very end). There’s a few setbacks unfortunately. Zaizen feels the pressure of fulfilling his promise to his mother, the opposing team is ridiculously strong, and everyone is dealing with the possibility of Aoyama leaving the team for a youth club. As a result, the game gets pretty intense as the enemy gains a 2 point lead and Aoyama even risks getting dirty to prevent the gap from getting any wider.
It’s only when Aoyama tells Zaizen to drop out of the game does Zaizen regain his confidence. It’s a surprisingly blunt and cold move on Aoyama’s part and yet it seems very deliberate too. Considering how perceptive Aoyama is, he probably knew that a threat is what Zaizen would best respond to. It makes sense considering that Zaizen never got around to improve his kicking until Gotou theatrened to beat him up with her baseball bat. And Aoyama’s approach ends up working since Zaizen secures the first goal and Aoyama uses his five minute rule to secure Fujimi’s victory.
Throughout this whole episode, you’re led to believe Zaizen’s mother passed away to make his goal of scoring a goal very personal and poignant. At the end of the episode however, you find out his mom has been alive this whole time. The only reason the mom has been gone for so long is simply that she does volunteer work and apparently lost track of the time (five whole years…). I will admit that this moment is a bit of a cop-out. It’s strange considering that Aoyama-kun has already strayed a bit dark with some bits of sexual harassment and bullying. Surely, the staff and mangaka could’ve committed to actual death. The funny trade-off we do get out of this is that right after Zaizen finally scored a goal for his mother like he promised, the darn lady sets off to more relief work. That I will admit was pretty funny.
You would think for an episode titled “The Reason Behind Aoyama-kun’s Choice” would finally elaborate why Aoyama chose Fujimi of all schools. The first episode had that hilarious bit at the end where Aoyama claims he sticks with Fujimi for the bidets in the bathrooms. This finale also gives a similarly stupid answer as Aoyama claims he sticks with Fujimi for the team’s white uniforms (because white reminds him of cleanliness). I’m kind of amazed that the show joked about Aoyama’s commitment twice but truth be told, I don’t think the anime ever needed to state why Aoyama is part of the underdog team. At Fujimi, Aoyama has teammates who care very passionately about soccer in spite of their weaknesses and an entire student body that admires him and respects his phobia. I’m sure Aoyama genuinely likes the bidets and white uniforms but he also simply likes his friends and that’s enough of a reason for him to not leave his school.