Here we are, the end of Saekano! After it’s 12 week run could it finish as strong as it started? And more importantly, will there be another season?
Here’s my final review!
Saekano was one of my top favorites, dare I say it, maybe even the top favorite of mine for this past winter anime season, but now it’s sadly come to an end. So as the last two eps aired back to back I felt that instead of writing two reviews, I’d just write one big one, thus here we are. Considering this will be a big post, I’ll try to have less summery and more commentary, just so it’s not as long; after all I’m writing about two eps plus my closing thoughts too. Alright then, let’s begin!
Ep 11 surprisingly didn’t have any fallout or mention of Aki baring it all to Michiru last week, but there were another host of problems to deal with instead. Michiru wasn’t ever introduced to the rest of the girls, she was only talked about when Aki was forced to explain why she was living at his house. Remember how much Eriri reacted when she learned about how she’s suddenly not the number 1 childhood friend anymore? Well that carried over into this and the follow ep quite a bit.
So the main issue that needs to be solved is Michiru not wanting to do the music for the game. She’s got a band she’s in already and her own dreams she wants to pursue, plus she’s just not into this whole ‘otaku’ lifestyle like the others are. No matter how much Aki begs, Michiru isn’t going to budge from her stance: she doesn’t want to join the ranks of the otaku. This actually gets quite the reaction out of Utaha, as she launches into one of her classic rants and ends up taking some physical violence out on Aki, just because he’s there and in reach. Through this all, Eriri and Michiru do find a common ground regarding Aki, and for a moment they’re one the same page.
Both Aki and Michiru are selfish in their own ways, and both of them have dreams they want to follow. Aki’s dream of making a game conflicts with Michiru’s dream she has with her band, and both sides aren’t willing to back down. Michiru just needs a manager to get the approval from her father, something Aki is willing to help with, but not so much when he learns it’s a full time position. With either side firmly planted in fulfilling their dreams, how is Aki going to bring this group together like he imagined?
What’s more is that Michiru has planted the subtle idea that the other girls don’t really want to make this game with Aki, and that he’s the only one who’s truly invested in it. This takes a toll on him greatly as now he’s beginning to feel that no one else really does share the same passion as he does. But seriously Aki, you really should know than this. Everyone is working hard because they want to also make this game, even Kato is beginning to help out as she pulls an all-nighter over at Eriri’s place in order to get the scripting finished. One of my favorite scenes in this ep has to be the conversation Kato and Aki have over the phone, the morning after this all-nighter. It’s a natural conversation, not the usual heated ones that Aki has with Eriri or Utaha, and he’s able to explain the situation he’s facing currently. Rather than hashing things out over the phone, Kato and Aki visit the family restaurant once again for a bite to eat, and also so Kato can show him her progress in the scripting.
While Kato helps get Aki motivated again from showcasing her work, she also uses this chance to put him in an uncomfortable position with the use of speaking to him through the game. Kano Meguri, speaks of a time back when she was younger where she had feelings for her cousin, something that hits close to home as Aki is reminded of Kato’s real life cousin, and the thought of her having feelings for him isn’t one he’d like to entertain. Although Kato claims this dialogue was totally random as she needed something to test the mechanics of this scene, I’m pretty sure there was a reason behind her choosing this “random” dialogue. Aki also shows Kato a sampling on Michiru’s music that he secretly recorded, proving why she needs to be the one to do the music for the game.
In the final bit of the ep, Aki agrees to being Michiru’s band manager, even arranging them their first live show and everything. Michiru is moved to tears at all the hard work Aki’s put into making this dream of hers’ come true. But as the ep ends, we find out things aren’t exactly how Michiru thinks they’ll be. Aki hasn’t given up on his dream yet, and now he’s crafted one of this most ingenious plans yet. Let’s see what that plan is!
Ep 12 picks up a couple weeks later on the night of the first performance for Icy Tail. We also meet the rest of her band, comprised of guitarist Tokino (Toki) Himekawa, bassist Echika Mizuhara, drummer Ranko Morioka and of course Michiru on vocals and guitar as well. Aki’s pep talk gets them all pumped up and ready to preform, something they’re all anxious yet excited for at the same time. At this point I’m still not seeing how Aki’s plan is going to kick into action, maybe it’ll happen later, but no, it was always well under way by this point.
Kato, Utaha and Eriri are also coming to watch, although in classic Utaha fashion, she’s scared Eriri off once again, playing the cheap childhood friend card which is guaranteed to get a response out of Eriri. It’s noteworthy to see that Kato is playing the peace maker here, trying to get both girls to stop fighting and just for once chill out. It’s also worth mentioning though that Kato still clashes with Utaha at times too, even more so now that Kato has befriended Eriri as of late. After forcing Eriri to join them once again after running off to a maid cafe, the three girls can finally get to the venue to watch the performance. But before it begins, they stop in on Aki and the band to see how they’re doing. What the didn’t expect to see was Michiru mounted in a very sexual position on top of Aki. Oh, that’s embarrassing.
Now it’s finally revealed what exactly Aki’s plan is. It turns out that the band Michiru is part of was actually playing covers for anime songs the whole time. In other words, Michiru was part of an otaku group, the very group of people she was trying to hard to avoid all along. Toki is actually a huge voice acting fan, Echika is a Vocaloid fan (YES!!) and Ranko is just a casual fan, whatever that means. I didn’t see how this was a “forced and unnatural plot twist” (Eriri’s words not mine) as this came as a genuine surprise to me. I was expecting that maybe Aki had talked them into playing an anime song or something, but I wasn’t expecting the whole band to already be composed of otaku.
So in turn for managing the band, Aki got the other girls to agree to let Michiru work with Aki and the group on making the game. “It’s a win-win for everyone” as Aki puts it. Michiru isn’t sure though, she didn’t sign up for this, nor does she want to be an otaku, but if she passes up on this then her chance at playing her first live show will be gone. It’s an elaborate ruse that forces Michiru to make a move, which has to be accept the terms and join the group, but that’s what Aki’s plan was all along. He wanted to scout Michiru for his group and he did whatever it took to get her there. Plus the fact she’s already been playing anime song with her band for quite some time now, she can’t say she wasn’t enjoying it. And so keeping her maid costume and cat ears on, Michiru and Icy Tail take the stage, ready to preform.
Having just finished up KimiUso a short while ago, it’s hard to not think about the anxiety of a performance especially after everything they went through in that anime. But unlike KimiUso, the emotions don’t run as deep and there isn’t a need to worry about breaking out into a river of tears by the ending. All in all I really enjoyed Icy Tail’s performance. It was filled with energy and passion and they wowed the crowd with their awesome music. Although they only played two songs, they made their first ever performance a rocking success. I do wish the songs were subbed though, as I was only able to pick up a few words, so I might get another group’s releases and rewatch this scene again.
The post concert scene breathed some life into making this a wincest ending as Michiru, upon agreeing to help out with the game, stepped into extreme close proximity to “seal the deal” with Aki. This had me thinking they were going to kiss, but then as Michiru began to bend over I totally got thinking something completely sexual (hey there was still a chance it could’ve happened). But in the end she goes for a signature wrestling move instead. She’s just letting him know she’s still upset about being tricked by him. Ah well, maybe next time.
Kato and Eriri finally are becoming closer now, as Eriri beings to address her as Megumi while Kato starts calling her Eriri. It’s a sign they’re not just circle members anymore, but friends who share the same passion for making a game that will blow everyone away. After an early ending credits, we see the full group assembled once again, this time to show off their finished game! Well one route at least. Yes there still is so much more work to be done as their game is far from complete. But with only 2 months left until Winter Comiket, the group morale is high and everyone is giving it their all as they strive towards the end goal of creating the best dating sim.
Season 2 please? Seriously this can’t be the end, there is so much left to have happen. It’s like these past 12 eps were only a prelude to the actual story, and season 2 is where is really begins. As of this moment I’ve heard nothing about a follow up for Saekano, which pains me greatly, but maybe they’ll be some out of the blue announcement on day.
For once this was a harem anime that I enjoyed through and through. It had great characters, solid plot, top tier fan service without overdoing it, great OST, lots of humor, and a smart, and refreshing vibe to it that really brought it to life. I wish more anime were this enjoyable to watch, especially harem anime.
In terms of how much I liked this ending, honestly it doesn’t fully bring much to a close. I mean their game isn’t complete yet, and there still are 2 months left before Winter Comiket. Lots could happen in those two months, a season 2 could be of what happens from here on in. So while the overall plot was really good, a season 2 here is an absolute must. Plus what about Iori and his group, that’s loads of material just waiting to be developed.
And lastly, who did I like the most? Well since ep 0 I’ve been a die hard Team Utaha fan, I enjoyed her character so much as she constantly said or did something that I liked. But at the same time I liked the childhood friend character Eriri was. She had points I really liked about her too. Kato… well she seems to have won over many hearts, but I’m still not convinced she’s all that amazing. True she’s cute and has her moments where she stands out, but on a whole I can’t really like her for some reason or another. Her fan art is still top tier though, even if those three swimsuit pics are all the come to mind. But lastly we have Michiru, who pushed all the right buttons and then some. She took ep 10 by storm and really got my attention focused on her more than anyone else. I said it was tied coming into the finale, but after all is said at done, I’m pretty sure Michiru is the one who came out on top for me. Utaha is up there too, just a half step behind.
So now that Saekano is over, it’s time to score it up. Even if they didn’t have the fan service galore ep 0, I still would’ve liked Saekano as it’s the story and characters that really won me over and kept me coming back each week, eager to see where things would go next. Both were written in a great fashion and while everyone had their ups and downs, in the end they all came together with the same dream in mind. So with all said and done, I’m giving Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend) the much deserved 9/10. Pure enjoyment from start to finish, a must watch for sure.
And there you have it, the end of Saekano. Thank you for sticking with me for these past 12 weeks, I hope my reviews were something you enjoyed reading as I always had a great time writing them. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you liked (or possibly didn’t like) Saekano, so leave a comment below with your thoughts. Up next I’ve got the finale of Absolute Duo (yes I know it already aired a while ago) so I hope you can join me for that too.
So that’s it for me, I’ve said all I can say so it’s time to end this. Thanks for reading!
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