While all the girls becomes increasingly busy with their various tasks, Haruka becomes dejected for not being able to gather the same enthusiasm as she did before. Thus, it quickly goes downhill from there as an unexpected tragedy strikes.
It’s apparent in the last episode that Haruka, the main heroine of the game and the show is now fading into obscurity. She chooses to continue living in the past and wants to enjoy time with her friends like before. As she rises to stardom and gets into the big leagues, she is quickly losing her motivation and ability to perform since the source that drives her cheerfulness is on empty. Through the inability to gather everyone for practice, the variety show being canceled and Miki stealing the Producer, it simply makes everything worse for her. Not only that, she hides her feelings of sadness by remaining happy and saying that everything is under control. In reality, it only builds up more feelings of sadness within her.
In comparison to what happened to Chihaya in episode 20, Haruka’s situation is far more depressing. Although the former was sad as the media was libeling her and blaming her for the death of her younger brother, Yuu, the solution for the latter is not clear-cut. As previously mentioned, Haruka was the leader who motivated everyone through her positive attitude. Sadly, her strengths are becoming a hindrance since she is dependent on everyone to aim higher rather than doing it on her own. From this, I can’t see an easy solution since she drifted apart from her friends and therefore, can’t get the same power to help her.
Right before the terrible accident, I have become increasingly bothered by Miki’s self-indulgence of the Producer and taking him away from Haruka. This was also apparent in the last episode when she gets an award that takes Haruka’s ability to give him the gift away. However in this instance, it felt like she doesn’t care about her feelings. You can also tell in the credits that she had a mixture of sorrow and anger on her face in the hospital.
Moreover, the Producer taking the fall to rescue Haruka simply came out of the blue. Nobody expected it and not even myself, causing a lot of speculation on whether or not he will survive. Given that it’s kind of similar to the accident from the first game, I don’t think he’s going to die. Despite this, the last scene in the credits with Haruka intensely crying pretty much sets the overall picture of this episode. It’s just downright heartbreaking.
On a lighter note, there were a few happy moments in the episode. During Chihaya’s absence, I liked how they stick a flat cardboard substitute of her. In addition, “Little Match Girl,” one of the DLC songs in the 2nd game finally gets an appearance. I’m quite curious if Namco is finally going to make a full version of the song since other people wanted it for a while now.