Sonny Boy Ending Explained

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Ever since Sonny Boy first started airing, we knew that we'd end up begging for a satisfying conclusion. The 12-episodeoriginal anime was often more of a thought experiment than a story – and it ended like this. So, what exactly happened in the finale? Here's our attempt to explain the ending of the season's most complex anime:

Sonny Boy Ending Explained: How and Why Did Mizuho and Nagara Go Back?

Most of the show's first half was concerned with the students' attempts to return home, but, as the episodes went by, more and more gave up, until only the three misfits, Mizuho, Nagara, and Nozomi were interested in going back. Following Nozomi's death and Rajdhani's reappearance, the remaining couple decided to kick off the plan and return.

Sonny Boy Ending Explained
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Credit: Madhouse

In their attempt, they were aided by Rajdhani's technology and the compass that was now Nozomi's essence, following her death. In one of the anime's most dizzying sequences, Nagara and Mizuho ended up in the same blank world they encountered when they first went adrift, and then sprinted through universes and into their world.

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While at it, they encountered two key barriers: their headmaster, who often appeared throughout the anime as a god-like figure, implied to have been behind the class's misfortune; and Asakaze, who informed them about their classmates' fates, before declaring there's nothing left for him.

Let's break down these two encounters: the headmaster/god was, and remains, an enigmatic figure we haven't seen much of. The fact that Mizuho and Nagara are able to surpass him easily, suggests that he was never a threat, or that they've come a long, long way, and their journey through worlds made them capable of surpassing whatever prevented them from going back.

Remember that the two characters were misfits who didn't comfortably vibe with the rest of their classmates, and were often implied to have been better off adrift. In that sense, going back required them to take a leap of faith and forgo all their self-loathing.

After all, Mizuho and Nagara are implied to have been behind the drifting, even if unconsciously. If they are able to create new, surreal worlds, they might have been able to recreate their own.

Of course, their encounter with Asakaze is a key one of their return; their former classmate makes shocking revelations about the rest of the castaways' fates. Ms. Aki and the rest of the classmates got lost, and we never find exactly what happened to them.

Meanwhile, Rajdhani became a forest (!) and stayed with the birds he was so fascinated with. Asakaze is the last one left standing, and he sends Nagara away with an offering of peace: a compass, identical to the one Nagara has both of which seem to symbolize Nozomi's essence and her skill.

This allows Nagara and Mizuho to find their way home. When Mizuho asks Nagara why he chose to go back, he simply says that he wanted to follow the light Nozomi saw.

Sonny Boy Ending Explained: What Happens After the Characters' Return?

The first scene of the episode is shockingly normal, so much so that it could be any anime, instead of Sonny Boy. Nagara lives a normal life as a high-school student with a part-time job as a waiter. As he walks his way through life, he encounters many of the people we met throughout the show, including Kodama, accompanied by a boy we can presume to be Yamabiko.

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Credit: Madhouse

Nagara now attends an all-boys high school, and when he tries to approach Mizuho she doesn't seem to know him, causing him to wonder if they ever went adrift at all. It's later revealed that this was all an act on her part though. Mizuho is later seen asking her mother about the fates of her cats, and finds out they went to a very expensive animal home, where one of them died of old age.

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Mizuho later greets Nagara with a code phrase: "Rajdhani's parrot laughs," showing that she remembers everything. The two bonds again over their shared memories while recognizing that they are probably different versions of the selves that went adrift.

Others who shared their adventure, on the other hand, have no memories whatsoever, suggesting they are completely different versions, and that their adrift selves will forever be separate. To his surprise, Nagara sees a version of Nozomi, who appears to be dating Asakaze. None of the two are able to recall their time with Nagara, however.

We can't be sure why this is the case. It seems, though, that Mizuho and Nagara retain memories of their time in the now destroyed island and all the other worlds simply because they were the only ones to leave out of their own volition, essentially merging with a version of themselves that never went adrift, retaining memories from both selves.

Or, it could be the theory discussed above, that the two friends - once again unconsciously - recreated a world where none of the horrible things experienced by their friends ever happened. This could be supported by the fact that Rajdhani is nowhere to be seen. Their best friend, and the one who chose to stay drifting out of his own free will, wasn't forced back by Nagara and Mizuho's powers.

Sonny Boy Ending Explained: How Did Nozomi Survive?

While trying to make their way home, Nagara and Mizuho worried about whether Nozomi would be alive if they returned. In Episode 6, all characters went back briefly, only to realize there had been some sort of split. In a few words, versions of themselves continued living their normal lives, while copies with the same memories and consciousness went adrift.

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Credit: Madhouse

To her shock, Nozomi found out that while the non-adrift versions of her classmates graduated from middle school, she never managed to, as she died prior to graduation. This also foreshadowed her death in This world, falling from a cliff.

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Why is Nozomi seen alive then? The anime offers no definitive explanation, but it appears that Nagara and Mizuho ended up in a normal world that was not the same as the one they visited in Episode 6 – one in which Nozomi never died. It's only fitting since they managed to find their way through compasses that were essentially their fallen friend - or perhaps, they unconsciously influenced this outcome.

Related:The Duke of Death and His Maid Ending Explained

Sonny Boy Ending Explained: What Did the Final Scene Mean?

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Credit: Madhouse

In the final scene, Nagara and Nozomi meet near a train station. As was the case with their first-ever encounter, Nozomi finds a wounded baby bird and asks Nagara to care for it. Once again, Nagara refuses explaining he's not allowed pets. Nozomi shows the bird to Asakaze – her boyfriend in This World – declaring she will save it.

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This scene seems highly symbolic – simple, yet appropriate for the ending. Remember that Nagara and Nozomi's first meeting revolved around the former's inability to save a bird. Not a great start, but the two became good friends regardless. Remember, also, that Nozomi and Nagara discussed what would happen if they went home, and Nozomi expressed the desire to still be friends, even if they were unable to remember their time together.

The repetition of the bird seen might, then, be seen as reassurance that whatever it is they shared still exists in a way more meaningful than memory. Think of Chihiro in Spirited Away: even if she forgot all her supernatural experiences, the character development wasn't lost. Nozomi and Nagara might be friends again.

Besides, train stations can be seen as symbolic of all sorts of crossroads, and birds often symbolize freedom, due to their ability to fly, and a young, wounded bird could suggest all the possibilities for our main characters' future. They might not survive… but they might also fly. As Nagara puts it "Our lives are just beginning. What lies ahead will just take a little bit longer."

At the end of the day, you can't pin Sonny Boy down. You just know that what happened to the characters matters more than the certainty that it was real. You also know that somehow, in some world, they will be ok, and try again.