‘Final’ means a lot less than it used to these days – but this is the finale! There are some big emotional moments, if you’re at all invested in the relationship that the series wants you to be.
Episode Review – “That’s All This Story Is About”
We pick up in the finale at the height of the battle with Betelgeuse, a guy who just doesn’t know when to quit. I’ll warn the huge fans right now that I thought this episode was rather mediocre, and this fight kind of set the tone. It was drawn out, considering the big moment was the ending of last week’s episode where it looked like it should be over in one big move. Turns out it wasn’t! Subaru and Julius jump around for a while in what felt like the need to make it a climactic final battle. Even stranger was that it wasn’t even the end, after Betelgeuse was completely crushed. He returned later in the episode as a far more entertaining version, I’ll give it that.
I want to know why Subaru would let Betelgeuse in to meet the witch inside of him. That just seems like it could have so many complications. Was he banking on the witch not caring for her subordinate? If there’s an angle of that tactic that I do enjoy, it’s that it further solidifies Subaru’s immense pride, believing that the witch wants his heart only. And that reminds me, nothing was revealed about the witch this episode. We did get to see a slight outline and her voice, giving a strong hint at similarities to Emilia, but overall not much to go on beyond what we already knew. In the future (because we know there will be one for this series) it would be nice to focus a lot on the witch herself and making her an interesting character.
The big moments were of course the romantic grand finale. He loves her! Who would have thought? But this felt hilariously unearned and completely forced after most of the second half of this series didn’t even involve Emilia. I’ll get more in to the problems with pacing and character development below in the final impressions, because this episode really had no chance at wrapping anything up in a meaningful way. Perhaps I’m still disappointed with the whole Rem situation (as many people seem to be).
So that was the end. But probably not. It seems a little deceiving because it clearly doesn’t leave an obvious cliffhanger or a straight up “see you in season 2!” to taunt us. It’s just they love each other and everything is happy. The end? It’s a play on the perfect ambiguous ending in anime that has been around for decades. If you don’t know you’re getting a second season, end on a moderately conclusive note. And that is the word I would probably use most to describe this series – moderate. It was moderately entertaining, and moderately irritating. There is so much potential for the future, but I’m only moderately excited for it after the end of this season.
7.5/10 (Moderately Good)
– Witch doesn’t care much for her cult.
– He’ll be back.
– I do like the ending music. The first one and the credits.
– And I thought they couldn’t be any meaner to that tree.
– What is this, Naboo? Maybe Edea’s Orphanage?
Was this series great? Definitely not. But I did enjoy it each week, by some miracle. There are many issues, but there are also so many fun and interesting things about it. Technically speaking, this series showed up every week with action, interesting dialogue, and beautiful music. It’s not the presentation that brings this show down, it’s what is being presented. Whether I want to give it a final verdict or not is still kind of up in the air, because it is clearly not done. If it were, this series would be a train-wreck of a story. As it stands, there is a lot more to be told, and that encompasses pretty much everything that I am interested in hearing and seeing. I think I’ll go through a few of them here.
So about that royal selection. Yep, it didn’t quite happen, despite being the entire reason pretty much anything was going on in this series. Stranger yet, a bunch of the characters involved in that plot line just haven’t been used in ages. Reinhard and Felt were two of my favorites, and they’re just missing for the most part. I did enjoy that most of the candidates for selection got in on the white whale action in one way or another, and that Subaru did have to interact with them. It all completely undermined Emilia’s leadership and eligibility, but whatever. If this series returns in the future, this will be a major time sink and possibly quite interesting. Considering Emilia’s character wasn’t really improved upon or advanced at all throughout the series, and if anything regressed quite a bit to a dependent and overly feminine caricature, it will be interesting to see how they make her viable again.
The love story. Subaru really nailed the ‘main characters only fall for the princess’ routine quite well. And most unfortunately, Emilia seemed to only exist for that purpose by the end of the story we’ve seen. It was even all that it was about, according to the finale episode title. She was a strong, independent character who didn’t care what anybody thought of her at the beginning of the series, and somehow turned in to the beautiful girl who should sit on the sidelines to be saved. I know the writers and director wanted to mess with Subaru’s character to the point that we kind of hated him, and it worked quite well, but why did they need to ruin Emilia as well? There’s something to be said about an audience falling for the side characters when you really want them to like the heroine the most. It’s somewhere between indecisive and harem. Pick a love interest and keep us convinced that it makes sense.
The thing that I have praised this show for time and again is its world and the side characters that make it live. It truly is a believable world, and Subaru is just thrown in to it. Things were happening before he arrived, there are tensions he doesn’t understand, and it doesn’t feel like it exists solely for his use. This is why I would love to see how the witch story plays out. She seems disconnected from the cult, and quite possibly misunderstood. The people of the world call her the “Jealous Witch”, and I really want to know why.
Final verdict: An averagely enjoyable show that just didn’t go anywhere new. There’s a lot more to its world, and it could be interesting, but that will have to be seen.
7.5/10 (Sure, it was OK)
(rounded to 7 for MAL)