Well that was quite the bus ride we just got off of. The finale of this bizarre adventure manages to wrap up a few loose ends, almost unbelievably – as in really, can you believe what is going on in this show?
“Nanaki Mirrors Your Soul”
The opening of this episode quickly turned the series in to some kind of monster battle epic. Beyond the fact that everyone could suddenly see each other’s Nanaki despite the previous situations to the contrary, I was really hoping that they would all power up and have a battle royale. This did not happen. Hayato was especially off his rocker at this point, although we all knew going in to this that he would be redeemed in some way. His reconciliation with Mitsumune was actually alright, considering how weird it got leading up to it. They both kind of believably accepted their situations and moved on – the point that I assume this show was trying to make.
This leads us to Koharu(n), and her sudden shift to villain. Interestingly enough, this was also explained pretty succinctly. I can’t really get after this episode for not tying up some of the loose ends, but how it did so is a little more of a problem. We receive the quick revelation that Kami the researcher is actually her father, and she was attempting to cure him of his lost Nanaki. What exactly is he dying of anyway, lost Nanaki? The fact that this is all pseudoscience in what seems to be a pretty normal setting really doesn’t help the plot much. Either way, Koharun comes to the crux of her villainy and is redeemed in no time flat. Who else do we have left?
Ah that’s right, Masaki. I kind of enjoyed that Reiji was her childhood friend and never actually real, although the whole Nanaki business brings up an odd question of how real he actually was all those years. If she could see and interact with him now in this village, despite him being a part of her, there is something to that. Her acceptance is also somewhat logical, in that she knows he wasn’t real, and won’t deny it any longer. Good thing Mitsumune is there now to fill the void fake Reiji left, all too conveniently.
This leaves a substantial portion of the cast just lazing around back in the main part of the village. Reiji comes to the rescue, despite not actually existing, and guides everyone towards their own path of acceptance. Accept not all of them are really on board with that, despite the consequences that have been lined up. Nothing really seemed consequential about any of this, actually. I find it most entertaining that so many of the characters deviated from their defining character traits in this episode, just kind of doing what needed to be done to finish off the story. The one character that still carried some interest by the end, somehow, was Lion. She refused to accept what had happened to her and move on, pretty rightfully. Sometimes starting from scratch is the right way to go, despite this show’s apparent moral. Perhaps the studio should take note of that.
– The darker the scene, the less detail to animate?
– Makes it tough for screenshots.
– The Rem & Ram sibling story was better than Mitsumune’s.
– The cat girl just realized this place has interpersonal problems as well…
– So many blush shots.
– Why did Mitsumune need a new Nanaki just for this episode?
– Did we never hear thy that girl kept grabbing her side?
– The final line was an execution joke.
Nobody died. That defied a lot of expectations, didn’t it? In fact, there was very little that actually came of this story. I made a lot of parallels to Lost in my reviews over this season, and finally it deviated slightly. Everybody is alive, and they’re all pretty much OK. Even the people who decided to stay in the village seem like they’re going to be fine, despite the threat of disappearing or aging rapidly. Oh dear, I hope they aren’t setting up a continuation based on those still in the village.
Defining all of the characters in this series was far too heavy a burden for the writers. At least it must have been. Over thirty players, and most of them had at least some kind of bare bones definition to them. There are still a dozen or more that I couldn’t tell you the names of, and I wrote about this show every week. The characters that did get some story to them were fairly cliched and hollow overall, with the occasional bit of nuance. The story could have benefited from a smaller ensemble cast, but I understand how the group mentality was part of the desired tension. It was just so comically overdone, beyond the level of Lord of the Flies proper commentary on the problems of anarchy and mob rule. Mitsumune seemed to be our main lead, and his most defining trait was being way too infatuated with any female that talked to him – and somehow it turned out fine. His best friend, Hayato, was a little more interesting, but even he devolved in to a caricature of his problems. Most of the characters just lacked any real need for interest or definition, and were there just to pad the mob. Did they even need names?
It’s pretty safe to say that this series will not be going on the record books as anything other than sub par – more likely to be remembered as an insane and convoluted mess of characters flying though a contrived plot filled with holes and retcons. It was an interesting ride, at times. It’s guaranteed to get the emotions pumping in its audience, but probably not for the reasons it intended. Compared to the relatively interesting and nuanced Kiznaiver, this show merely proves the stereotypes of the perils in creating original anime without established or critically acclaimed source material.
(Rounded down to 5 for MAL)