English Dub Review: Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san “Letter / First Day of School / Seating Arrangement”

Nishikata and Takagi survive a seating switch-up in a sweet final episode.

Overview (Spoilers Below):

Letter-writing is going around the school like wildfire, and even Takagi is getting in on the action. When she writes one to Nishikata, he can’t help but worry what’s contained within the envelope. It turns out to be just an invitation to walk home together (which they always seem to do anyway). Takagi really just wanted to see Nishikata red-faced reaction.

We get to see their initial meeting in the second segment, where Nishikata is late to his first class because he was turning in a lost item he’d found – which turned out to be Takagi’s handkerchief. In the final segment, Takagi and Nishikata seem to be separating for good, as they’re assigned seats on opposite ends of the classroom. After some intense rounds of bargaining, though, they’re back together once again.

Our Take:

Letter is a fairly standard segment for the show. Takagi does something that could be interpreted as romantic to make Nishikata blush, which turns out to be merely a letter asking a friendly question. It’s nothing new, but it’s executed in a very cute way, especially since the audience is primed to expect something more romantic in the final episode.

In an interesting move, First Day of School transports us back to the day of the school’s entrance ceremony, when Nishikata was still young, innocent, and free from Takagi’s teasing. This segment threw me off at first because I was expecting it to leap ahead to their first day of the next school year, rather than going back in time. It definitely was a nice change of pace, and it gave us some nice insight into how Nishikata first came into contact with Takagi.

Seating Arrangement is a very solid segment to end the final episode on. The class seating chart is being randomly re-done, and Takagi is clearly depressed that her prime teasing position next to Nishikata is being lost. I wasn’t sure if the change would be permanent, but seeing the lengths they went to in order to be near each other was very fulfilling to watch, after rooting their relationship on for the past 11 episodes. Switching seats in order to be next to one another are such a sweetly grade-school-ish thing to do. I’m glad these two are going to be next-seat neighbors for a while longer!

The dub finished off strong with excellent performances from Aaron Dismuke and Sarah Wiedenheft. The script had some very funny lines as well, like Nishikata’s internal revelation after noticing Takagi getting in on the school treads: “Sometimes I forget she’s just a normal girl.” The homeroom teacher has been a fun guy to watch from the first episode, and he gets a great line in the finale: “Slept in on the first day? If nothing else, I admire your audacity.” Finally, I’ve got to throw in a life lesson from Mina (one of my favorite characters outside the main couple): “Friendship is way more important than any lesson.”

The season (and likely series) finale wraps things up with the closest thing to an actual conclusion we’re going to get. (The manga is still ongoing, so it’s not like there’s a permanent endpoint for the show to stop it.) Takagi and Nishikata’s efforts to stay together in the classroom assigned-seating madness is super sweet, and really shows how they’ve come to appreciate each other. Takagi loves to tease Nishikata, but it comes from a place of love. And Nishikata, despite all his protests, loves being teased – because it’s Takagi doing the teasing.

Score
9/10

Caleb

graphic designer, writer, and animation addict. when i'm not writing words about my favorite shows, you can usually find me skulking about on Twitter. if you want, leave a comment or send me a tweet; i'd love to chat!

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