‘First Love’ Ending Explained: Do Yae and Namiki End Up Together?

Welcome to the Ending Explained for First Love, a new Japanese romantic series developed by Netflix that releases this week on the streaming service. The series consists of 9 episodes, and they are written and directed by Yuri Kanchiku, who also penned the famous My Rainy Days a decade before. The series stars Hikari Mitsushima, Takeru Satoh, Rikako Yagi, and Taisei Kido. The series tells an epic love story between two lovers who meet and fall in love with each other, only to get separated by life in the years to come.

First Love is a Japanese TV series that offers the gentleness and delicacy that only Japanese people are able to convey in their art. The series offers wonderful cinematography and direction and some sweet and direct acting that really manages to express the feelings of love, hate, and frustration that come from falling in love. It is a series that doesn’t really attach to the conventions of a plot but focuses entirely on the characters, their lives, and their decisions.

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The following paragraphs contain spoilers for First Love, now available on Netflix. Read at your own risk.

How Do Yae And Namiki Fall In Love With Each Other?

First Love is a series that focuses mainly on the characters and their decisions. There is definitely a series of events that can be attached to a timeline, but what really matters are the important events when the characters make the most difficult of decisions. For our two main characters, Yae and Namiki, those decisions put them on very different paths in life. Even when their love intends to unite them every time. These two really care for each other, and it is one of the purest romantic stories of 2022.

The series presents a structure that divides the point of view between Yae and Namiki and jumps back and forth in time. When we meet our main characters for the first time, they are adults. Namiki is a man full of regret, lost in life, and trying to find some sense of purpose after abandoning his position in the Air Force of Japan. Meanwhile, Yae is a taxi driver. She has a son named Tsuzuru, who wants to be a musician, and clearly has the talent for it. However, Yae, has abandoned her dream of being a flight attendant and travel around the world.

When we go back in time, we see that they met for the first time when they were in high school. Namiki was clearly a troublemaker, and Yae liked the free spirit he had. They were clearly in love with each other, but Namiki had a hard time trying to express his feelings for Yae. He prayed every time a boy would declare his attraction for Yae. She always rejected each of them, but it wasn’t until one snowy night that Namiki finally declared he liked her, and they started dating. It is one of the most tender scenes in the show.

However, life wouldn’t be so easy for both of them. Their love would only keep them together for a while before separating them. Yae gets pregnant, and Namiki leaves for the Air Force.

Do Yae And Namiki End Up Together?

As the series comes to a close, we focus on Yae who is trying to fix her relationship with her son, Tsuzuru. Tsuzuru likes a girl named Uta, and Yae starts a friendship with her. It is here, seeing her son’s love for this girl, that Yae thinks back on what she feels for Namiki. Uta is about to leave Japan, but knowing firsthand that her son must do something, she takes him to the airport so that he can declare his love for Uta. They arrive on time thanks to Yae’s magical driving, and everything goes well. Tsuzuru even receives a kiss from her love interest.

Yae reflects on her own situation, and she thinks she must do something. Like she told Uta before, she wanted to be a flight attendant, and she wanted to travel around the world. She travels using her phone and Google Maps, but she wants something more. So, she decides to take all the vacation days she has accumulated, a total of 40 days, and then go traveling. Their co-workers at the taxi company help her get her vacation days, and they celebrate. Sadly, right at this moment, the COVID-19 pandemic has started and Japan shuts down.

Three years passed, and Japan opened its doors once again. Uta and Tsuzuru reconnect, they are clearly in a relationship. Meanwhile, Yae grabs all the Namiki letters he used to send her, takes her passport, and leaves Japan, for Iceland. When she arrives, she asks around, and the people realize that she is looking for the only other Japanese person around. Namiki, who works at a small airport. We see Namiki boarding the plane and getting ready to board the plane himself when Yae appears. They embrace and kiss.

The series ends with Namiki boarding a plane; he is the pilot, and as they get ready to fly, we see Yae, now a flight attendant as she always wanted.

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.