As the final episode draws near, the mysteries of the past and future are slowly coming to light. After the recent disastrous shrine visit, Naho theorized that perhaps the reason Kakeru took his life was because of their argument. At the time, it seemed very likely. But now we finally discover the truth about Kakeru, and the inconsistencies in his personality finally click together.
As we watch the events in the alternate timeline unfold, we see that in fact, Naho had very little to do with Kakeru’s depression. This would have been so easy for them to discover if they had just been honest with each other, but Kakeru is caught in a dangerous cycle that is very clear as we watch his reaction to his mother’s final words.
All his life, Kakeru thought his mother was being selfish, but really, everything she did was for him, but because she never opened up to him, he didn’t know. Kakeru thought his friends would be fine without him, but he was wrong. His mother hid her intentions from him, he never opened up to his friends, and now his friends are trying do to what’s best for him without consulting him, so they’re all repeating the same mistakes. The future Naho grieves her actions, believing they led Kakeru to his death, but really, that’s not true. They’re all holding back their hearts because they think they’re protecting each other, and they think they know best, but really, it’s helping no one, not even themselves.
In the latter part of this episode, as Kakeru avoids Naho, we don’t know what he’s thinking, but based on his actions in the alternate universe, I doubt he’s bitter or spiteful towards Naho. He is simply trying to save her, as he always has been, not knowing this will only hurt her more. After that night, Naho is willing to take greater risks than before, and despite his distance she continues to pursue him. This is all for his sake, because she is so desperate not to lose him, but he is shutting her out because of his own fears.
As mildly ridiculous as this all seems, we do this all the time. Everyone thinks they know best, but often the person we’re looking out for the most is ourselves. This is why we need God to show us how to love others, because sometimes we can’t do it on our own. If we could embrace his grace and forgiveness for the times we’ve hurt the very people we love, rather than continuing to think we can handle it on our own, we could move past our mistakes and onward, trusting in his understanding to guide us.
It’s interesting to discover that at least the former timeline wasn’t Naho’s fault, but I doubt knowing this would bring her much closure. She wants Kakeru to be alive again, and to know for certain that he’s forgiven her perceived faults. Instead of providing closure, it’s possible she’s just made her own wound deeper. At the same time, this has changed her. She is a different person now because of the letter, and it all solidified was at the moment of her worst failure. It felt like she showed more initiative in this episode than in all the others. Whatever the conclusion brings, she can choose to let the growth she’s experienced change her entire future for the better.
- The 12 Days of Christmas Anime, Day 11: Angel Beats! - 12.24.2018
- Lynna’s Journey (Entry #8): Where Would You Like To Be? - 11.28.2018
- Lynna’s Journey (Entry #7) The Old and The New - 11.07.2018