The last batch of season 1 surprised me by going in a completely unexpected direction. Not that it was too out of left field (take a shot every time bicycle imagery appeared in the show before episode 21), but it did remove itself from the love triangles that made up most of the series’ drama.
Yuta, dejected after being rejected by job after job, gets on his bike and rides. And he rides, and everyone believes that e left to find himself. On a two month bike trip from Tokyo to the very tip of Japan and back.
Why this arc worked was that it preempted a problem that I noticed, but never brought up about the series, particularly with Yuta. Yuta suffered from Shinji Ikari Syndrome: where a character is so directionless and weak-willed that they wallow in self-pity and ultimately never accomplishes anything. The trip served to give him a journey on which he discovered that drive that he needs in order to overcome the SIS (It’s a better alternative to Shinji’s actions in End Of Evangelion, which tried to cure him of his SIS).
And as a college student, this was a poignant tale. And it ended the season on a remarkable high note. All that remains is season two and the resolution of the love triangles, but if this ending gives any indication, we will finally get some forward momentum.