Hello everyone, and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. Today I have some bittersweet news, as we’ll soon be reaching the end of a delightful journey, and leaving some friends behind. Yes, it’s time at last to watch the conclusion of Adachi and Shimamura, and see if these two mixed-up kids are gonna make it out okay.
Of course, it’s unlikely that this episode is going to feel truly definitive in its resolution of our heroines’ drama. For one thing, the light novel series this show is based on just released a new volume five days ago. But more importantly, Adachi and Shimamura are still a great distance away from true emotional honesty, or even a comfortable understanding of themselves.
This isn’t their fault, obviously; I mean, they’re high schoolers, how well could they know themselves? But it’s a credit to Hitoma Iruma’s storytelling that I can already see the road sprawling out beyond them, the hills they’ll traverse and hurdles they’ll encounter on the way. Adachi and Shimamura are imperfect and unsure in resoundingly human ways, and at all times, their story has emphasized that our identities are not fixed points.
The Adachi and Shimamura we met at the beginning of this story are quite different from the Adachi and Shimamura we now know, or the ones we might meet in the future. The easy, ignorant solace of their first few encounters has been lost; they each know too much about the other, and have each grown in their own way. Adachi has gained the confidence to act on behalf of her desires, while Shimamura has begun to feel like she has desires, after a long period of emotional dormancy. The desire for intimacy and inevitability of change have set our heroines on a tumultuous course, but their feelings for each other have held strong. Let’s join Adachi and Shimamura for one last time!
After the harshly divided last two episodes, with each of them fully contained in one or the other lead’s perspective, we open the finale with a deliberate merging of perspectives. Quick cuts alternate between matching shots of Adachi and Shimamura, as their inner monologues topple over each other
“What I’m scared of is while I’m not looking, Shimamura will turn into something different.” Yep. As I said, one of this show’s most fundamental points is that our identities are ever-shifting. As a result, even if you think you “know somebody,” you’re only really coming to understand one version of that person – and as we’ve seen, Tarumi and even Adachi have already experienced a variety of different versions of Shimamura. Additionally, this inevitability of change means the idea of a “stable, unchanging relationship” is also a fantasy, as any lasting relationship must acknowledge and accept the continuing changes in its participants. Adachi understands change will come, but also understands how fragile her bond with Shimamura is, and fears any shift in Shimamura might be the tremor that breaks it
“So I’ve made up my mind to spend every spare moment staring at Shimamura.” A very Adachi solution
We meet Hino and Nagafuji during a track event. As Shimamura said, their friendship was really just a friendship of proximity – with the two of them now in another homeroom, we barely see them at all. Another thing AdaShima captures quite well: the natural erosion of bonds, which doesn’t require any special effort, merely the absence of effort. This was happening to Adachi and Shimamura as well, before Adachi put a stop to it
Nagafuji spent the night at Hino’s place, because every secondary character is a more successful lesbian than our leads
And of course, now Adachi wants one
“C-can I come over too!?” “What, to Hino’s place?” Oh my god Shimamura. I am truly going to miss her talent for oblivious or deadpan punchlines. She has one of my favorite senses of humor of any anime character
Adachi says she’s willing to negotiate on the bath, then realizes she’s not willing to negotiate on the bath
“Why?” “Because I want to get closer to you.” “Aren’t we close already? I had no idea.” Shimamura you goddamn troll. She just can’t help herself with the roasts
Her snark does reflect her comfort level with Adachi, though. Shimamura knows her mean streak can be alienating; early in the series, her riffs on Hino and Nagafuji were kept mainly to herself, as were her demeaning nicknames for her recent new friends. But with Adachi, she’s comfortable enough to be her snarky self, and know she won’t get rejected for it
“But then I think we’d get too close, and she’d notice me less.” Adachi, what the hell are we going to do with you. Apparently she wants that flush of ecstatic love forever, rather than the assumed familiarity of family
Adachi shows up for her “sleepover” at 8 AM
She is devastated to learn she won’t be sleeping in the same room as Shimamura
“She looks like a nice, quiet girl, unlike my delinquent over here.” It seems like Shimamura may have inherited a good bit of her sense of humor from her mom. Her light jokes imply a closeness between them that’s quite some distance from Adachi’s relationship with her own mother
“So that’s just how their relationship is.” With only her own relationship for comparison, Adachi is briefly worried that Shimamura and her mom are genuinely angry at each other
“Then again, it’s not like absolutely nothing happened yesterday.” In the morning, Adachi is disappointed by the spoils of her first day – but as she mulls over the experience at work, she’s already reframed it as a series of smaller wins. That heady adolescent comedown from “aw man, I thought we were gonna kiss” to “but we did hold hands for like forty minutes”
Sitting back in Shimamura’s lap immediately prompts both a rush of deflections and a cinematic aspect ratio, the framing immediately undercutting Adachi’s protests that this is no big deal
Shimamura’s little sister wants to take a bath with her. It seems like Adachi is provoking a bit of a protective or competitive instinct, and thus she feels the need to assert herself
Then again, given the pacing of her own relationship with Yashiro, maybe she’s just offering Shimamura some romantic pointers
“She really does sleep a lot like a koala.” Shimamura’s mom is great. Seems like she actually did teach her daughter that you can get away with being rude as long as you’re also funny
Shimamura’s mom assumes that her daughter’s laziness means Adachi takes charge, but Adachi tells her it’s the opposite, and that Shimamura actually leads her around. Her mom’s assumption isn’t off base at all – Shimamura is emphatically not a leader, it’s just that she tends to attract people who shelter under her vaguely-willing wing. As passive as she is, Shimamura somehow can’t help but attract an entourage
I can sort of see why. Shimamura’s aura of general indifference could easily be misinterpreted as confidence or maturity, and those qualities tend to attract people. There’s a bit of an air of mystery about her, simply because she doesn’t express herself and maintains such a blank front
Shimamura gives Adachi a matching hair clip, and Adachi loses her goddamn mind
She tries for a full “I love you,” but at least manages “you look lovely”
“Do you want to sleep together today?” She did it!
Oh my god, this short scene with Yashiro. Yashiro always presents absurd disruptions to the show’s tone, and this episode leans into that in the best way, giving us a random fragment of her starchild monologue before cutting right back to our leads. Even the show can’t take her ramblings seriously
And of course, as soon as Shimamura falls asleep, Adachi crawls over to stare at her and poke her cheek. Nobody’s getting any sleep tonight
“I don’t want to grow distant from Shimamura. My courage is taking the initiative, and kicking me in the ass.” It seems Adachi is coming to better understand how tentative their current relationship is, hanging in the air between one kind of relationship and another. For a time, Adachi was happy to try and just preserve that bond – but now, knowing that they can’t stay as they are, she’s attempting to solidify it into something concrete, something that can last
She “takes the initiative” by tripping over her pillow and attempting to headbutt Shimamura
“How do you like your big sister’s shoulder pillow?” “I feel like I’m about to cry”
“What will be, will be.” “Let’s eat lunch together tomorrow.” Two small lines, but they each speak to how much our characters have grown over this season. Shimamura, who was initially paralyzed by indecision about who she wanted to be, and felt no attachment to the world around her to drive her forward, is now content to accept that the future will sort itself out. And Adachi, who could barely express her feelings without fleeing altogether, is now confident enough to assert and even direct their shared relationship
Ahaha, Shimamura’s mom is just as bad at expressing her feelings as the rest of them. Delighted by Shimamura’s attachment to this new friend, and heartened to learn her daughter is trying at school, she expresses her thanks and support through boxed lunches, which she angrily pushes into their arms
“I wonder how much prayers work in real life. I guess finding out is half the fun.” At last, Shimamura is looking forward with hope
“Someday, I may be walking down this path alone. Until then, I’ll settle for the cherry blossom that’s right in front of me.” For a person as self-conscious and generally thoughtful as Shimamura, there is no accepting the passage of time without also accepting the inevitability of change, and of loss. But at this point, she’s finally willing to accept that bargain, and excited for what the future holds
Aw, damnit, that’s all we get!? Well, I obviously didn’t expect a continuing narrative to offer full resolution, but fortunately, Adachi and Shimamura was kind enough to at least present a clean thematic dovetail, mirroring its characters’ initial anxieties with their final emotional resolutions.
For Adachi, the last three episodes have served as a thunderous validation of her growing self-confidence. For all her anxieties, Adachi ultimately isn’t a particularly unusual person; she’s just deeply shy, having likely internalized her mother’s disdain, and thus become unable to assert her own desires. Through her relationship with Shimamura, Adachi has learned that her desires are reasonable, and at this point is finally sharing leadership and the steering of their relationship.
Shimamura’s problems extended beyond simple self-doubt; she was clearly depressed, had almost no sense of personal identity, and felt no enthusiasm for the world around her. But through Adachi’s affection and her own reflections on time’s passage, Shimamura has at last regained emotional contact with the world around her, and a sense of anticipation for the future to come. Shimamura is too smart to believe that everything will simply work out; but through Tarumi’s intrusion, she was forced to grapple with the certainty of change, and realize that she can accept time’s difficult bargain. Whatever changes may come, she is happy to live in this moment, and ready to face whatever’s next.
On the whole, Adachi and Shimamura offered a well-stuffed romantic package, balancing Adachi’s charming infatuation with Shimamura’s thoughtful snark. The two are a great couple, and though their journey isn’t over, this season still offered a cohesive emotional and thematic arc, wrapped in an attractive aesthetic package. Thank you all for joining me on this thoughtful and delightfully awkward journey!
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