The end is here! So closes the Japanese version. Now I wonder how the Chinese version will compare as I do believe they are [were] working on the series as well since it was so popular across Asia. I can say that after this episode, I honestly like the series. There was a nice resolution, Misuzawa Reiko was actually redeemed, and some loose ends were tied and some things were left open. My main complaint is that Mio was completely left out of this final episode. I really had hoped to have some twin time or more Mio moments, but alas, no. Other than that, it was a nice run that cut a lot of fluff from the Korean version.
[warning]Like always, don’t read on unless you want the ending completely spoiled.[/warning]
We start this episode with Jeremy asking if Shu has heard from Miko at all. Shu replies that he hasn’t and looks into the room where Ren sits with his guitar while Jeremy wonders just where Miko is and what she is doing. Alone, Ren looks at the necklace he bought for Miko. The guy never did have a chance to give it to her.
Meanwhile, Miko is working at the orphanage from the beginning of the series. The room is covered with stars and there is a poster from the mini-concert. Miko stares at the pictures and some little girls come over and wonder if Miko can’t meet A.N.JELL since she is Mio’s sister. Miko looks longingly at the board and says that they are too busy to be able to meet with her.
NANA is not her usually self. Toru comments on her depressed state and NANA says that it feels like nothing matters. Then up comes A.N.JELL. Toru immediately chases after the protesting Yuki while Ren comments on NANA looking down. NANA jumps up and says it’s nothing and it’s not because of him. Right. Ren smiles and says that’s good and goes to leave. He then pauses and says that even though NANA is a lying fairy, there are 10,000 people who cheer up just when they see her smile. Ren really has opened up and become kinder thanks to Miko. This surprises NANA and she turns to Ren and who tells her that not matter what happens, she has to keep smiling for them. That is what makes her NANA, right? He then walks away. He then gets an upsetting text from his mother saying she will be counting on him for the recording. Guess that hasn’t been derailed yet.
Miko and her aunt go to visit the twins’ mother’s grave. Shigeko tells Miko that her mother must be so happy that her daughter has come to see her. Miko then recalls the letters and what she said to Ren about not being able to stand beside him and going someplace far away. Where is that place? Miko is going to Africa as a volunteer as there is a senior nun of hers helping there. Talk about too drastic. Shigeko asks if Miko is going to leave without seeing Ren. Miko says that it would be too painful for them. Shigeko then stops her and tells Miko to at least email the members to let her know that she is doing well. Miko smiles and agrees.
Ando’s assistant gives him coffee and says that Mabuchi is wondering when his salary caught will end. Ando’s response is classic – “When I’ve calmed down.” How long has it been now? Ando slams downs his papers and says that it is lucky that he didn’t fire Mabuchi for his lies. He then asks if Miko has been found yet. Nope. And she hasn’t contacted anyone either. Apparently Ando doesn’t like that.
Misuzawa is sitting in bed, massaging her throat when Ren angrily bursts in. Shei s happy to see her son. He’s there to see her! Not for what she thinks. He quickly demands that she stop her nonsense as the song wasn’t written for her 0 it was written for someone else. Isn’t Misuzawa clinging on to that just a little pathetic? She laughs at her son and repeats the word. Apparently she has stopped feeling pathetic a long time ago. Ren couldn’t possibly understand how it feels to love someone so much who doesn’t love you in return. True. Apparently doing this song is to prove that they met and that Misuzawa loved him. Selfish to the bitter end. Misuzawa then mentions the last days of her life before collapsing.
Ren rushes her to the hospital only to learn that she has a malignant throat tumor. She has known about it, but refuses to get treatment as she doesn’t want to lose her voice even at the cost of her life. Way over dramatic. Ren goes to see his mother. Misuzawa wakes up and Ren immediately lights into her calling her the worst mother. The woman is selfish to the end and he won’t forgive her for what she did to him or to Miko. Tears in his eyes, he wonders why he’s her son. But no matter how much he resents her, he can’t change who his mother is. So just this once, please be a mother for his sake and go for the surgery. Awww. Kind of unexpected. Ren tells Misuzawa that if she dies like this, he will have to resent her for the rest of his life. He then runs out.
Back at the boys’ house, Yuki is online and calls Shu over to where he has his laptop. Shu comes over and reads the message and Yuki asks if it must might be Miko. Shu says that it is. Ren reads the message alone in his room. Miko tells them all [under the name buta-usagi], that is doing fine. She then thanks them for all the wonderful memories. Ren sits back after reading it and wonders if it means that Miko plans on forgetting everything. He then looks over at the buta-usagi doll. Meanwhile, Miko sits in her usual spot looking up at the stars. Forget? I don’t think its possible for her to.
Ando’s assistant drops the bomb that Mabuchi scheduled Mio to go to Fukuoka in order to earn the appearance fee. This annoys Ando and you know he’s got a plan up his sleeve when he smiles and snaps his fingers. We then cut to Miko working in the orphanage’s garden when Mabuchi shows up out of the blue. She rushes up to him and asks why he appeared so suddenly – do the others know now where she is? Mabuchi quickly tells her that boys haven’t found out. In fact, he has told them that he doesn’t even know. He then quickly bows down before her and begs Miko to pretend to be Mio once more. This shocks Miko. Mabuchi then explains that Ando wants to talk to Mio ASAP, but he is there in Fukuoka, which is supposed to be secret from Ando.
Of course Miko returns to help out her brother again. RINA then comes to apologize for not doing much. Miko smiles and says that RINA was a big help. RINA smiles and then asks if Miko is really going to Africa. Miko asserts that she is and RINA says that when Miko comes back the two will have to have a girls’ night. Miko happily agrees to this plan.
Miko then nervously heads to Ando’s office. He tells her that he has something to say to her and walks over to the poster of the 4-member A.N.JELL hanging on his wall. His seriously stares at it for a moment before turning with a big smile. Ando told Miko before about out it was a miracle that the four of them came together as a team, right? Ando then says that God didn’t create the miracle, it was the four of them. Their strengths and beliefs are what made A.N.JELL.
“People who live their lives earnestly, have an invisible power to move things. That’s what I believe. The honest way you live moved Ren, Shu, and Yuki’s hearts, moved the hearts of the fans, and has moved your own life. Don’t forget that. From now on, too, live your life well. I’ll be cheering for you wherever you may be.”
Miko is moved to tears by this speech from Ando. Miko goes to say something, but he stops her and says that is all and goes and sits back down. Miko turns and bows and thanks him before leaving with Ando looking after her very father-like. He tells her retreating back to take care.
As she leaves, Miko is shocked to run into Ren. She tries to keep her cool and walk casually by. When Ren passes, she thinks she is in the clear, but then he stops and calls out to her. Ren tells “Mio” to tell “Miko” that he received the message. Ren then says that he is doing well to, so it is fine for her to forget him. He then walks away. Hearing that hurts Mikko’s heart. She closes her eyes and tries not to cry, but she does take off running.
And wouldn’t you know she runs smack in to Shu! He asks if she is all right. Flustered to have run into all three A.N.JELL members, Miko quickly apologizes and runs off. Yuki and Shu stare after her and Yuki wonders what has Mio so worked up. The two then go into the practice room and Shu stops suddenly. Wait. Didn’t Mio just say “Shu-san”? Only Miko calls him that. Yuki and Shu then rush over to Ren and Shu asks if Ren says Mio just now. Ren said he spoke to Mio just awhile ago. Yuki shouts that it was really Miko. Shu adds that they can still catch her if they hurry. Yuki and Shu Run out quickly followed by Ren. Of course, they end up getting swamped by a mob of their fans, letting Miko get a clean getaway.
Mabuchi takes Miko back to the orphanage and thanks her once more for taking Mio’s place. Miko tells him its fine and Mabuchi says that he has had a lot of fun with her. He then hands her a ticket to A.N.JELL’s concert. Miko says that it is the day she leaves for Africa and Mabuchi tells her to see the concert and the band one last time before she leaves. Miko thanks him for looking after her and just walks away. Mabuchi watches and tells her once more to make sure that she comes. That night, Miko stares at Ren’s picture and says that she will make sure to be in a place where she will never have to see him. Sheesh. You understand her feelings, but she [and Ren] take things to their utmost extremes.
Later, NANA is swarmed by reporters who ask if she and Ren broke up. NANA confirms that they did because they were just too busy to meet up. One of the three stooges reporters asks NANA about the rumors floating around that they were only in a fake relationship. NANA gets quiet for a moment and then vehemently denies this. She and Ren were really dating. She then smiles and says she will do her best to smile for everyone. Meanwhile, Toru cries in a hidden corner. For NANA or for himself and his failed relationship with Yuki?
Mabuchi drops the news to Shu and Yuki that Miko is going to Africa. The boys are shocked by this. Mabuchi tells them that it can’t be helped. The boys then go around his desk and corner him. Shu and Yuki demand to know where Miko is as Mabuchi knows, doesn’t he? The boys keeps shaking and asking and it looks like Mabuchi will cave to peer pressure.
Ren is at the hospital visiting his mother. Misuzawa says that she will have the surgery. She tells Ren that while Takumi didn’t love her, he did tell her that he loved her voice. That is why she didn’t want the surgery – she wanted to keep the one thing of hers that he liked. But now she has decided to do the right thing. She will have the surgery, live, and do her best to make up for all the hurt she has caused her son. Ren may not forgive her easily, but she hopes he will listen to her. Misuzawa smiles, and then bows her and and apologizes. This shocks Ren. Misuzawa then says she will apologize to Miko as well. Ren refuses to look up and says that it is too late for that now. He then gets up and walks out. Once outside, he looks at his phone.
Miko is packing up her stuff when her phone rings. Is it Ren? Nope. It is Shigeko. She tells her niece that Ren called her and asked for the location of Miko’s mother’s grave. So Shigeko told him. This shocks Miko. Shigeko said that she felt she had to tell Ren since he has done so much. If Miko goes now, she can still see him. Won’t she regret it if she doesn’t? Miko takes out her mother’s letters and says that it is painful. But she does get up and run. Will she meet Ren?
When Miko gets to the gravesite, Ren isn’t there. But there is a bouquet of flowers along with the CD that contains Ren’s rearrangement of “Miss You.” Miko hugs it to her chest and smiles. We then get one of those montages that you see in final episodes. She recalls all their moments together. She then ask her mother, isn’t Ren wonderful. He is the most important person in the world to Miko. She really, really likes him. She really, really always wants to be with him, but because he is such a kind person, if they were together he would suffer. Thus [Miko is crying through this speech and hugging the CD tightly] she had no choice but to say goodbye. Funny how all these problems would be solved if they actually communicated versus assuming.
At the boys’ home, Yuki tells Ren about Miko leaving for Africa. Is Ren okay with that? If Miko leaves, then there is a good chance neither Ren or Shu or Yuki will be able to see her again. Ren says there is nothing he can do since Miko rejected him. Shu angrily demands to know how Ren can act so cool about the situation. Shu then gets up and demands to know why Ren couldn’t’ tell Miko to just not go. Is it because he’s afraid he’ll be hurt? Yuki then joins in and agrees that Ren is a coward. This annoys Ren and he gives Yuki an angry glare. Yuki backs off and puts up his fists and asks if he wants to fight. Ren then tells them what Miko said about not being able to smile with him anymore. He doesn’t want to hurt Miko anymore. That threw Shu and Yuki for a loop. Meanwhile, Miko has finished packing when someone comes for her.
The day of the concert has arrived. Fans are swarming in and Ren is standing by himself, clutching the necklace. Ando looks up and notices this. I guess he pretty much has figured out much of the story. Meanwhile, Miko is taken to see Misuzawa who immediately bows and apologizes for Miko having a hard time because of her. Misuzawa then says that Takumi really only ever loved Saori. Misuzawa then talks about how she and Saori were friends. Saori was a bright person that anyone could fall in love with. She was also blessed with the twins. Misuzawa talks about how happy Saori was with the twins. Miko asks if her mom had happy times, too, then. Misuzawa says that Saori did and Miko says that is enough if Misuzawa understands that. Misuzawa then says it isn’t enough. She wants to compensate the twins somehow. Miko refuses the compensation and asks Misuzawa to listen to a request instead.
Ren joins the others and is told that it is time for him to change. He looks at Yuki and Shu who stare back at him. He then goes and sits down. Meanwhile, Miko leaves the hospital and notices the clock. Time is almost up. Ren then gets a call from Misuzawa who tells him she’s about to go for surgery. Ren tells her good luck and Misuzawa then says she just met with Miko. Is Miko going somewhere far away? Because Miko requested of Misuzawa to never leave Ren, whom she had hurt so much already, alone ever again. Wowza. What a nice, selfless request. And something you kind of expected Miko to ask. Ren blinks back tears and Misuzawa says she doesn’t believe that it is too late like Ren said. She then says that it is a joyous thing to have the person you love return your feelings. She wants Ren to cherish that and to not have any regrets. Misuzawa goes to hang up and Ren finally speaks. He tells her that he will try to remember his mother’s voice. Now this brings Misuzawa to tears. Who knew that such a horrible mother could be redeemed? But Manda Hisako manages to make her likeable at the end.
Ren hangs up and tries to conquer his feelings. What an emotional whirlwind. He then lifts his head while Shu and Yuki watch on. Ren then gets up and starts to speak, but Shu and Yuki already know what he’s going to say. Yuki is happy that Ren changed his mind and Shu tells Ren that he needs to hurry as time is almost up. Ren nods and runs off with Yuki, Shu and Ando smiling [Ando was in the hall]. Ren rushes to the orphanage where the kids happily greet him. He looks around and sees the room covered in stars. Ren asks the kids where Miko is and learns that she has already left. Then one little girl pipes up and says that Miko has gone to see the star she loves the most.
Miko is at the concert. She takes out her ticket to Africa and says she will only stay for a little while for one last look. The three reporters are all at the ready for some huge scandal and NANA shows up. Ren gets back to the venue where he bumps into [another Johnny’s member I can’t place right now] and drops Miko’s necklace. The person picks up the necklace and calls out to Ren. It’s important, right? Ren says it is and grabs it as Shu runs up and asks if he saw Miko. Ren replies that Miko is apparently in the audience and runs off leaving Shu and the person staring after him.
Ren rushes up on stage to get a look and the fans immediately jump up and start screaming. Miko stands up, wondering what is going on and sees Ren on stage. He squints into the audience and looks all around, but just cannot spot Miko among the throng of fans waving their lightsticks. At one point, he was right in front of her, but he couldn’t see her. He then asks where she is and keeps looking.
Backstage, the others wait. The concert is about to start. They jump up when Ren comes in and asks if he found Miko. Ren replies that he didn’t and Mabuchi replies that there is 15,000 people in the audience. Ren then asks to change the opening song, surprising everyone. He then goes out on stage in a white suit all alone. The music starts and Miko immediately recognizes the song as “Miss You.” Follow another montage of Ren and Miko moments. It seems like this song isn’t a remake of one of the Korean ones as it doesn’t seem to follow “Goodbye” or “What Can I Do”. It’s a very pretty song.
Miko cries and smiles while listening. She talks about what she learned and how Ren will always remain her most favorite star. As the song ends, she leaves. Ren then calls out to her. She is there right? Ren says that he realized after she left that even though she says that he is her favorite star, she is the one who lights up his heart. To him a world without Miko is dark and meaningless. Didn’t he tell her to stay by his side? So why isn’t she there, why isn’t she saying anything before leaving? This makes Miko cry even more. Ren then calls her a troublemaking nuisance, but he still can’t lose sight of her so she needs to come to a place where he can see her. Please, he wants to see her.
Miko stands silently crying while Ren asks for her permission to see her.Miko turns to face the stage and looks back at Ren. Meanwhile, Ren scans the audience once more for Miko. Shu and Yuki then rush up the lighting man and asks him to put on the audience lights. The man quickly agrees and the lights go on. Ren turns and there is Miko. As soon as he sees her, he jumps off the stage and rushes towards her. The fans part like the red sea until he is standing before Miko. She says his name and he quickly pulls her into a hug and says if you wish from your heart, you can even catch the stars. Miko taught him that. He then tells her to listen carefully and pulls back to look into her eyes. He then says he loves her and Miko throws her arms around him. Then confetti comes out and everyone is smiling happily from Shu, to Yuki to Ando, RINA and Mabuchi.
After the concert, Ren and Miko talk alone on a bridge. Ren complains that Miko has become self important, making him wait as he did. Miko says she can see starts in Africa, too, and when she does, she’ll think of Ren. He then says he will let Miko see stars even closer than those. Is he going to threaten to hit her again? This surprises Miko, and Ren turns and holds up his fist. He then brings it down and the necklace falls out. Miko pulls a shocked face and asks if it is for her. Ah, duh? Miko happily accepts it and says that it makes her feel loved. This embarrasses Ren and he goes to get it back, but Miko won’t let it go. She says she will cherish forever. It’s nice to see the normal bickering between the two that we’ve grown accustomed to. Ren then says he will never let go of his important star and we get another horribly fake kiss. Seriously. Ren then says he’ll be waiting for Miko to return.
Time passes and we see Ren has pictures of Miko from when she was in Africa. Miko returns and when she leaves the airport, there waits Ren. She calls out to him and he welcomes her back. End episode. End series. [Anyone else wonder why a person coming back from missionary work would be wearing killer heels and fancy clothes? Just wondering.]
Not bad. Not bad at all. A teensy more satisfying ending all around than the Korean one. I am glad that I gave this series a chance. Hope you enjoyed it with me along the way.