Tada Never Falls in Love
Episode 13

by Rose Bridges,

How would you rate episode 13 of
Tada Never Falls in Love ?

While it's not gonna set the world on fire, Tada Never Falls in Love definitely stuck the landing with its finale this week. There are some big, sappy, raw emotions in there, and it ties up most of the series' loose plot ends. It doesn't make up for how long it took to get here, but at least the show found its feet in its last moments.

You can more or less guess the rough outline of what will happen. Tada finally gets up the courage to confess his feelings to Teresa. She returns them. Her Larsenburg associates are more or less fine with this, having figured this out ages ago—including Charles. It's not all "everyone lives happily ever after", though; realistically, Teresa and Tada still have several things to work out. But it's just fine for tying a bow on this particular story, and you can assume all the finer details get hammered out some time later.

This conclusion succeeded some impressive character work—a big surprise to me after all the slacking in that department before. There's an overarching theme to this week that love changes you, borne out by the way that Tada and Teresa manage to overcome their mutual shyness and selflessness. Tada at first tells Kaoru that he doesn't want to go to the party, but once the opportunity literally slips through his friend's fingers—in the form of the paper invitation—Tada finds himself wading into the river to rescue it. Kaoru even spells out in this moment how love makes the normally reserved Tada impulsive. It would be cool to see more of a range of love changing both of these two in various ways, but I guess that's what happens when your love interests have overly similar personalities. Arguably there are hints of this in other characters, like the outspoken Charles stepping aside when he sees that Teresa loves another, but this hardly seems contradictory enough to his character to feel like a change. Charles is flamboyant and fun but also kind, like everyone in this show; letting Teresa go once he understands her feelings seems like a choice he would have made from the first day we met him.

Tada also has to be more outgoing in order to finally tell Teresa how he feels. Of course, she gives him a confession right back, but then talks about how she'll "always remember" her love for him—making us think that this is where their story ends. This is furthered by a flash-forward to the club celebrating Hajime's graduation and acceptance into Tokyo University. Tada and Kaoru are back with the group, and Hajime makes a show of handing Tada the metaphorical keys to the club. This makes us think that Tada and Teresa just mutually decided to move on and do their duty. While that could have made sense in a more realistic series, we saw too many hints that Charles was ready to let Teresa choose the ones she loves to buy it. Plus, Charles more or less confessed to Alec that he might share her feelings a few scenes prior. It defies romcom logic to not let both happy couples be with who they love—and it would violate this week's theme of love changing people and their expectations for the better.

So luckily, that's not what we get. If Tada could get over his fear of airplanes to follow Teresa to Larsenburg, she can certainly find him again in Japan. This works as her own resolution now that we know that she did her fair share of running away from him. Teresa and Alec left the country because of her developing feelings for someone who wasn't her fiancé. That's what the old Teresa would do, but she's been born anew as someone who's willing to take chances for love. They even share a kiss (in public!), and so the story comes to its fairy-tale conclusion.

I still left off wondering how Tada and Teresa would really "never be apart again" like she says. Is she going to abdicate the throne to be with him? (Hopefully not, since she seems to be its only potential heir.) Is she able to delay her marriage now that she and Charles broke off the engagement, so she can spend another year studying in Japan? Or will Tada just go to Larsenburg now—but then what will happen to the photography club? But to some extent, it's fine that Tada Never Falls in Love doesn't answer those questions. They aren't really important for this story's greatest goal, which is getting Tada and Teresa to admit their feelings for each other. However, there are a few more pressing plotlines it left hanging, mostly having to do with its two B-romances. While I expected Charles and Alec might end up together, his feelings for her come out of nowhere to this week. We've seen hers built up for several episodes, but his come on relatively sudden, especially compared to how he feels for Teresa. Still, the line about him hating to "hurt [his] beloved" was a nice touch. We also never get any sort of resolution for Hajime and Hinako, other than seeing that she continues her gravure idol career. I don't care too much about those characters, but it would've been nice to get an ending for them after how much time the series spent on their story.

A lot of these holes in the Tada Never Falls in Love finale are a result of the first twelve episodes dragging their feet. If the show had committed to its main direction earlier, it would have more breathing room to iron out all these details. As much as I enjoyed some of the episodic moments (particularly those focused on Nyanko Big), they left the main romance feeling thin. In retrospect, it's easy to find some connective tissue between these different storylines—particularly in terms of the "love changes you" theme—but the show needed to show its hand earlier. Thankfully, Tada Never Falls in Love did go all out with its final episode. While it's much like many anime romantic confessions you've seen before, it left me with a smile on my face. Tada Never Falls in Love is far from this season's most memorable anime, and it will probably just fade into the ether for most viewers, but at least while I'm still thinking of it, my final feelings are fond.

Rating: B+

Tada Never Falls in Love is currently streaming on HIDIVE.

Rose is a Ph.D. student in musicology, who recently released a book about the music of Cowboy Bebop. You can also follow her on her Twitter.


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