Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki’s Emotional Finale Begins a Whole New Journey

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki Episode 12, “Equipment for Girls Has Special Effects,” now streaming on Funimation.

After their clash of ideals and Hinami ending their life tutoring – and friendship – Tomozaki begins the finale right back where he was in Episode 1: alone in his bedroom, playing AtaFami, hunched over and depressed. Only now he's not even able to enjoy his favorite video game. Instead, he's just going through the motions having given up all his training.

Unsure of where to go or what to do anymore, the only thing Tomozaki knows is that he needs help. All season long, there's a second character who's been quietly teaching him much about life – Fuka Kikuchi. Once again she helps Tomozaki come to an understanding about himself, and his relationship to Hinami. It all sets the stage for Nanashi and NONAME to have their biggest and most important battle of all.

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When Tomozaki and Kikuchi meet up for a bookstore outing and then lunch, Tomozaki shows up as his pure self. Mismatched clothes, hair left unkempt, no memorized conversation topics. He's confused because of the contradiction between being easy to talk to – i.e. being himself – and Hinami's calculated techniques being so effective. Thanks to her he's made friends, learned to improve his appearance, and found the joy in getting to know people while taking part in major school activities. But if Tomozaki isn't being his true self, if everything is calculated and insincere, is it all real? What does Tomozaki want most out of his life?

Without revealing Hinami's identity, Tomozaki confesses all this to Kikuchi, who says the clearest difference she sees is that when he speaks, his words have more color than they once did. Tomozaki's efforts to improve himself have led him into an expansive new world, one that the shy Kikuchi also wants to know better. If there's someone special in his life who helped give him that color, that person should be kept close and treasured.

After taking some convincing, Hinami agrees to meet with Tomozaki one more time -- at the same place they met as Nanashi and NONAME in the season premiere. Tomozaki tells her how much good she's done for his life, and that her goals and techniques have helped him improve as a person. Just as importantly, he's also enjoying her tutoring. However, he wants his goals to be tailored toward what he wants most in life. Therein lies the problem: Hinami doesn't believe "what you want most" is a real concept. Rather, it's an in-the-moment emotion that soon passes and isn't worth paying attention to. Tomozaki can't define it either, as it's a complicated and abstract concept. But he does know the one way to get through to Hinami: AtaFami.

They remain the top two AtaFami players in Japan, but Hinami still has not beaten Tomozaki once. Hinami is the best at everything else she sets her mind to accomplish in life, except this. Tomozaki confidently reveals why that is: when he dives into the world of AtaFami, he's going in as his purest, truest self. Hinami has spent much of her life building the perfect mask and seeing everything in life from the view of an outsider looking in. Conversely, Tomozaki fully embodies the character -- both in the video game and in the game of life. He claims -- and it's likely accurate -- that Hinami has never known true fun in her life. He wants to show her that fun, and even though he doesn't exactly know what he desires most in life, it does exist somewhere out there.

Hinami isn't fully convinced, but she also never turns down a challenge. The two come to an accord: Hinami will continue tutoring Tomozaki in life, and he will continue following her instructions and goals -- as long as he feels they're helping him reach what he wants most. Likewise, Tomozaki will try to teach Hinami how to truly have fun while convincing her that goals and accomplishments can intersect with one's deepest emotional desires. The ultimate life team is back together -- only now, they're both holding controllers.

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