I figured we wouldn’t exactly get a finale with an actual sense of finality from Bloom Into You. The fact that this anime is based on an ongoing manga made it seem to be the case. If that ends up leaving you frustrated, I really can’t blame you since a lot of plot threads get left hanging at the end of this episode. Yuu admitting that she is in love with Touko? Doesn’t happen. Touko’s identity crisis? Addressed but not entirely resolved. Sayaka’s own crush on Touko? Not much progress there either. For crying out loud, you even have Koyomi still working on revising the ending to her stage play. Not that I was expecting her to finish overnight but darn it, I would’ve liked to see what the completed revision looks like.
To go along with that last observation, it further stuns me to see that Bloom Into You ends before we even get to see the student council perform the play for real at the culture festival. It just seems like the most natural place you’d want to end your story on. The manga probably has gotten that far and if it has, then the anime still had a ways to go and time simply wasn’t on its side. It’s a huge shame because apart from the revised ending, I really want to see Yuu’s expanded role in the play. Koyomi tells Yuu that she’ll be giving her more lines so that the new ending will be reached more naturally. That detail so perfectly fits with the meta nature of the play, reflecting Yuu’s emergence in Touko’s life as the one person determined to help her overcome her identity crisis. I really want to see more of that but unfortunately, this is where the anime has to tell me that I need to go read the manga.
Frustrating though this all may be, Bloom Into You does end things on a high note when Yuu decides to take Touko on a date to the aquarium (a “platonic” date, obviously). Looking back at the series as all, things sure have changed with these two. When this series started, it seemed like Touko was the confident and assertive character who often took initiative with what she wants to do and with her relationship with Yuu. Now that role has kind of shifted over to Yuu who seems to have dedicated herself to helping Touko accept herself for who she is. Not only did she persuade Koyomi to revise the stage play, she also seems to now set up the dates, first with inviting Touko to her room and now this trip to the aquarium.
One could argue that much of this date is just that: two girls sightseeing all the fishes. Me personally, I really like it. It just feels so calming which is refreshing as it’s been a while since we’ve seen these two together just for the sake of it. And goodness, I’ve enjoyed Bloom Into You‘s art but that aquarium is very pretty for the eyes.
There are a couple of scenes that stand out, however. The first is when Yuu and Touko eat lunch together where the former calls out on how the comfortable the latter is admitting that she loves her. Touko remarks that she embraces her feelings because she knows it’s one part of herself that isn’t a lie. She never saw her sister in a relationship so technically, the act of falling in love is entirely her own doing. It’s intriguing because it sounds so contradictory. This girl wants to be someone else…but is proud of this one aspect specifically tied to her own real identity? I’m baffled and so is Yuu, evidently. But rather than get angry, Yuu does the smart thing by letting it be and tell Touko that such a contradiction is fine. At least there is some proof of self that Touko is fine with. It’s nice to know this girl isn’t a lost cause.
How clever of Yuu to sneak in some rehearsal as she and Touko wait for an event to start. That was a good way to ease her friend into revealing that the ending of the play will be different. And as one might expect, the shift in the story’s message strikes a chord with Touko, forcing her to confront the prospect of just being her own self. The ending of the practice session is most peculiar to me. While improvising lines, Touko still says she has to pick a facade. I expected Yuu to keep going until she persuaded her co-star otherwise but instead, she stops once she realizes the event is about to start. That initially came across as Yuu calling it quits for the day but in a way, her walking off sends a subconscious message to Touko that cuts deep.
In a way, the acting of leaving tells Touko that if she was to keep her charade up, she’d likely lose Yuu in the process. The fact that she actually reaches out to Yuu with her hand confirms that she’s afraid. Admittedly, this is followed by Yuu turning around and calling her name, thereby confirming that she would never do such a thing. There is also the matter of how intentional Yuu’s actions are. Still, it seems noteworthy that Touko got that impression in the first place, perhaps hinting that she will eventually come around to the lesson Yuu is trying to teach her.
Apart from the non-ending nature of this episode, there is one recent development that had me stumped. See, earlier in the episode, Koyomi asks Yuu for any suggestions on what to call the play. A bit amusing that it’s been untitled this whole time; the thought never crossed my mind. And the title is…Only You Know…now, I don’t know about you but I thought the title was going to be Bloom Into You. This play has been so meta that it might as well be.
I was really hoping that there’ll be an announcement for a second season at the end of the broadcast but alas, it appears we’re at the waiting game. I really hope more is on the way but last I checked, the first Blu-ray volume was only selling modestly well (about 3k) so maybe Season 2 will happen, maybe it won’t. There is always the manga at least; I’m kind of tempted to start covering that for the blog too. But whether or not this is truly the end as far as anime is concerned, I can safely say that I really enjoyed this adaptation. It’s a slow burn for sure but through thick and thin, the relationship between Yuu and Touko remained engaging and even endearing. And sure, there were some developments that gave cause for skepticism, such as the whole student council play and the stuff with Touko’s sister. But as time goes on, Bloom Into You managed to make these work in intriguing ways and now, I’m glad that they were included in the story.
I hope there’ll be more of this anime but all things considered, I’m really pleased with what we got from it.
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