Sometimes, we really just don’t know.
When I watch Yuzuko Nonohara, I am oddly comforted. She also makes me a bit sad.
“That was the kind of conversation young people have. I wonder how we got there.”
-Yukari Hinata, following a conversation with Yuzuko Nonohara and Yui Ichii regarding her future, Yuyushiki, episode 11
What do you see when you dream about the future?
“Really gives you that ‘new life’ feeling, doesn’t it?”
-Mio Akiyama to Ritsu Tainaka on waking up to their first day of college, K-ON! College, page 4
An odd social experiment was conducted in my third year of college. Notorious for its faulty internet services – registering for classes became an all-day activity beginning at 5:00a.m. involving constant browser refreshing and oceans of tears – the servers experienced a significant crash for the first two months of the 2004 autumn semester. I was on the school newspaper staff at the time, and one of the more interesting articles written on the subject involved the social effect on incoming freshman that year. Past classes of wide-eyed, confused, and lonely first-years had relied on the likes of AIM or other varied internet messaging systems to stay in touch with their high school friends, as cell phones were not nearly as ubiquitous as they are now. These options were not available to what would become the graduating class of 2008, and their safety net of existing friends and family was further from reach than it had been for previous classes.
So what did the class of 2008 do?
“But I’m in a bind…I didn’t bring an umbrella.”
“One will be enough.”
-A conversation between Kyon and Haruhi Suzumiya, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, episode 28.
I can still recall the days when it rained while I was in high school. The hallways sounded different, as shoes squeaked noisily against the floor, water dripped from jackets in lockers and coat closets, and bright yellow “caution” signs were quickly unfolded, placed in strategic locations to prevent students from slipping. Above all, there was a scent, specific only to rainy days; that undeniable “school smell” amplified by musty raincoats, and wet rubber. Rainy days stood apart from the days that preceded them in the week, isolating themselves, causing sunny days to blend together in comparison.
Hand in hand with this power to isolate, rainy days often carry with them a level of introspection. Some days, when it rains, it feels as if time has slowed, or come to a gentle stop. Yuyushiki uses this feeling to its advantage, effectively separating its main cast of Yui, Yukari, and Yuzuko from the rest of the series for a moment of reflection before the series comes to an end in the following week.
In this way, Yuyushiki has the perfect penultimate episode.