Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru – 12 (End)

What started out as a pretty typical chronicling of a Hotori misadventure developed into something quite a bit more in the final episode of Soredemo. I found this one hitting pretty much all the right notes for me, as the series itself did for most of its run.

For starters, Hotori has mangled a pen by securing a magnifying glass to the end – creating what she thinks is an original double-purpose detective tool. Unfortunately this has already been done, as Grandma shows by producing the cheap model from her junk drawer. Even more unfortunately, the item Hotori butchered is a ridiculously expensive fountain “pendant” – a Mont Blanc her Uncle gave her when she entered high school. When he asks her to visit over the summer she’s stuck – until she comes up with the brilliant scheme of writing a detective story to win the “Mystery Magazine” 5 million yen prize. What follows is a preposterous murder mystery set on an “Jelly Island” and, not surprisingly, a quick rejection. That rejection devastates Hotori so much she get hit by a truck.

That’s when things take a pretty interesting turn. Hotori goes to the afterlife, greeted by the same Angels who messed up Grandpa’s passage, and they promptly dump her in the Egyptian afterlife by mistake. But a friendly civil servant rescues her and places her in the Japanese line, and from there a hilarious social commentary plays out. But as this show has proven it can, the episode deals with some fairly emotional stuff – especially when her guide takes her to an arcade where she can pay 100 yen to see what’s happening on Earth. This emotions aren’t subtle here, but they’re genuine – pretty believable for a 16 year-old who thinks her life has ended. Fortunately, her brain makes a miraculous recovery and Hotori gets her second chance, her memory wiped clean of the time she spent on the other side.

That was a nice end for this series, which has often moved deftly between absurdity and seriousness without missing a step. If that’s the last we see of this adaptation – and I hope it isn’t – it was a good place to leave things.


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