Last Call of the night, in a manner of speaking.
The last episode ended with Ko on the run from the police.
We begin the season finale with the complete opposite tone for the cold open. Nazuna, alone on the floor of her apartment. She is playing a video game, but not having any outward fun. Yet, she is not so much bored as she is killing time. Running down a clock. The game is just something to occupy her.
Until, at last, she recognizes she should head out for a meeting.
For all the new furniture she bought to improve her cuddle buddy business, none of it went into the ergonomics of her gaming setup. Maybe some other day, or night, if she gets to see it again.
Elsewhere, Hatsuka is successful in whisking Ko away from the authorities.
While Hatsuka are one of the vampires we have spent the least amount of time with, any form of familiar face is welcome for Ko. This will also be the first time Ko is invited into a vampire residence other than where Nazuna lives. The difference is immediate. Even setting aside the higher financial class nature of where Hatsuka calls home. Hatsuka announces their arrival, and a trio of over enthusiastic folks charge out to gush pleasantries and fish for praise. They begin to show signs of being perturbed by Hatsuka having a guest over, as this means Hatsuka will be spending time with Ko and not any of them. Only for the group to clam up and clear out once Hatsuka asks if this is going to be a problem. Hatsuka shows who has the clear power in the household relationship dynamics.
As well as some slight insight and table setting for Hatsuka and their personality.
Ko figures the group are either early vampire offspring themselves, or perhaps potential offspring in waiting.
He is unsure what the full scope of those kinds of situations are. He has seen bits of it, like with the love situation Seri was running away from before accepting Akihito Akiyama. But, like any other relationship, there must be plenty of unique differences. Everyone having their own ways of doing things.
The most noteworthy standout to Ko is how there were both men and women present, all eager for attention from Hatsuka. Ko has only seen heterosexual vampire relationships. And even this subject is pretty cloudy to him.
Which brings us to something I was wondering about pretty much since the show began: how the series would handle its formal reveal of Hatsuka as male. He needs Ko to hand him a towel, having gone off to take a shower. There are so many ways for an adaptation to fumble this kind of gender material. Cheap laughs. Terrible cliches. The potential to get into some sad and nasty dirt kicking, and driving the material into miserable territory.
I feel things went pretty well, overall. Ko is embarrassed and a little flustered, as he had indeed assumed Hatsuka was a girl. So there is some surprise. Hatsuka, for their part, had assumed Ko already knew. He thinks Nazuna must have told Ko more about the vampire group, after all. Which leads to Ko admitting how, no, Nazuna never tells him too much about these sorts of things. She does not volunteer much information about the other vampires herself.
To go a step further, Ko recognizes the actual issue is how he never knows how to bring up these sorts of matters with Nazuna to answer in the first place. It never should have been on Nazuna to tell Ko about Hatsuka. Rather, Ko should have been more curious about asking her about all the other vampires. Nazuna may joke around about a lot of things. But, Ko knows he would know more about a lot of things if he knew how to ask her better questions.
She does still always tend to tell him the truth, or at least her best interpretation of it.
So, this gender reveal situation was still able to be delivered as an insightful character moment for Ko. Which I found quite welcome to see realized in this anime adaptation.
Nazuna herself is, at the moment, back at the usual vampire rooftop bar lounge for a negotiation. As things stand now, she does not think Ko will become a vampire. However, even if this failure comes to pass, she does not want any harm to come to him. Which is… not what Nico wants to hear. She is furious. This is a table smashing level of seriousness. This is a clear change of the agreement from the hostage situation some time ago.
Furthermore, there is no real deal on offer. Nazuna and Ko would face no consequences for their failure to find love. The rest of the vampires would get nothing but trouble for the threat vector this brings. This is not fair to the group.
Nazuna says they can fight her over it if they want, but she will not be easy to kill.
Which is also seen as a silly offer by Nico. Vampires killing other vampires is not a subject they feel like breaching. Killing Ko would be much easier, and solves all the potential problems.
As for the boy at the center of the discussion: he is taking the opportunity to chat with Hatsuka about vampires.
Hatsuka is thrown off by the idea Ko is still harboring doubts about wanting to become a vampire. Ko made such a big declaration about it when they last saw each other at the rooftop hostage get-together.
Ko gets to ask Hatsuka some of the questions he never got to bring up to Anko. In particular, the notion of how a human can kill vampires. Ko tells Hatsuka everything he knows. Anko having foul tasting blood. Her putting something in the hand of the teacher. The morning sun. Etc. While not stated outright, we do know Ko has been rather hung up on the particular matter of vampire death ever since he saw it. It makes sense, of course. If Ko were to become a vampire, he would need to know what places him in mortal danger. Or Nazuna.
But Hatsuka is pretty stumped on the matter. He admits vampires do not tend to know too much about their situation either. A lot of things are trial and error, oral history, hearsay, and so on. Hatsuka does not think Nazuna is withholding any critical vampire lore information from Ko either. He thinks it is a simple matter where she just does not know too much, like all the other vampires in the larger local group. Hatsuka does not even know why some blood tastes good and other blood tastes bad.
Hatsuka and Ko also have quite a continuing conversation about gender. There is the matter of why Hatsuka dresses the way he does. How he enjoys its because everyone else thinks they look good this way. But also the potential for Hatsuka to try and turn Ko into his own vampire offspring. It would, on a technicality, solve a lot of problems if it worked out. Ko is a teenager in the midst of adolescence, but has not fallen for Nazuna. It seems odd to Hatsuka. The longer Ko does not become a vampire, the greater pressure and danger the two of them would be in. It could have a feedback loop effect, and make it even harder to fall in love.
Ko could sidestep the matter by trying to form a relationship with other vampires.
Why not him?
Hatsuka drives a hard bargain.
To say nothing of Hatsuka reminding how one of the only requirements for the vampire process is for the human to feel they are in love. Circumstances and brain chemical processes can do a lot of legwork if Hatsuka wants to put his mind to it.
Hatsuka also has some picture messages on his phone. Midori sent some along showing the devastation occurring at the rooftop bar. Nazuna is there trying to vouch for Ko having a future if he does not become a vampire, and as we know: Nico is pissed. Time may be more of the essence than they thought.
Ko rejects the offer to try and enter a relationship with Hatsuka. But not because Hatsuka is a guy. Ko thinks Hatsuka is pretty cute, all told. Which is enough to throw even Hatsuka off guard. Ko does not have a problem with the idea of getting into a relationship with another boy. Instead, Ko thinks even if he were a girl, he would want to pursue a relationship with Nazuna.
Understanding another person, on a real and true love level, is something Ko thinks he has never accomplished in his life so far.
Understanding also has nothing to do with gender identities, as far as Ko feels it.
Ko may not know a lot of things. And he may know some things he is not even aware of about himself. But he does know where he wants and needs to be: with Nazuna.
He is not prepared to die, but he also does not want her to live a boring life.
Ko thanks Hatsuka on his way out, as he feels so much better and more confident now in his choices.
There was one question Ko brought up over the course of their conversation which never had the chance to be answered. It was interrupted between the news of everything going down at the rooftop lounge.
Hatsuka must have fallen in love once, in order to become a vampire. Was he ever conflicted about it?
It some respects, it was the most important question of all.
Perhaps some other time, when all this has passed.
Ko makes his way to the devastated vampire bar den, and the usual suspects are still here.
Nico relaxing on a sofa with her back turned to the entrance, with Seri and Midori sitting on a table further away. Nico has little to say other than Nazuna left a while ago. Nazuna will not be capable of a proper conversation for a while.
Which is far more than enough to send Ko and his imagination into overdrive, as he races off in search of her.
In the process, he is reminded of how there are still plenty of cops out searching for him. This is the same night from the last episode after all, where Anko called them out and Hatsuka picked up Ko from the playground. Rather than hiding, he flees and jumps from a pedestrian overpass. We have an entire montage of all the various sights and people we have met across the series. How they are spending their current night, while Ko races through the streets.
We circle back to where everything began. A beer vending machine.
At the start of the series, Ko brought himself to one hoping to experience something new and unusual. He encountered far more than ever bargained. This time Nazuna is the one placing the order. She is looking for something familiar and comfortable. Again, the one with their hand on the button receives more than they could ask.
Ko gets to enjoy having a Cool Arrival, getting to mimic the way Nazuna first dropped in on him. But, he snaps out of it trying to size up if Nazuna has been hurt. He saw the broken furniture at the lounge. He knew Nico and Nazuna had some kind of violent disagreement. With Nico mentioning how Nazuna was not going to be fit for a proper conversation for a while, he may as well have expected Nazuna to have her entire jaw broken.
We have seen Seri recover quite fast from having her arm ripped off. But vampire healing power still at least leaves a temporary mark and has a process. And it would still have hurt.
Nazuna looks the same as ever though, and the lead couple get into some well realized end of series admissions. How they were always bored before they met each other. Apologies for dates gone sideways. How they are no good at being alone. How they should keep finding new things to do together.
The comedic cut back to Nico, amongst so much wreckage, talking about how violence really is not her thing. The terms of the new deal are, on the surface, quite similar to the old one.
Nazuna needs to do whatever it takes to make Ko fall in love with her.
By the exact letter of the law in the previous agreement, Ko was given time needed to fall in love with Nazuna. But, Nazuna did not need to be active at all in cultivating a relationship. Now, she does. This is the new condition for not killing Ko.
It is a very slight change, on one level. Rules lawyer shenanigans. But also significant in how it will influence everything these two do together going forward.
As Nico says: we are going to root for these two.
With Ko relieved Nazuna was not killed by the other vampires, she reaches out and grabs not only him but their combined future.
The season is sealed with a kiss. How the two of them are committing to be in this together.
For as many times as Nazuna may have bitten Ko over the course of the series, they are stepping into even greater unknowns.
But for the nights ahead, they will have each other.