It’s all at an end! Though some shows will continue into second cours, my memories of all these stories are only just starting to blossom.
Almost every finale this week was on-point. It feels daunting going into the Summer season now I’m so used to all these characters. But a story should not overstay its welcome, and neither should this rarely-informative introduction!
I’ve never enjoyed a midpoint reversal so much as this. Before only we were skeptical of Subaru’s role in this story. But now he’s revealed himself to the whole nation that he’s not compatible with anyone in this world at all. Emilia wants equality but he values her above everyone else, just because she’s his ‘best girl’, ‘mah waifu’. He can only mock the knights and can’t accept they deserve their power so much more than him. Even what he taught Rem is contradicting his actions; he doesn’t believe in people working together. He just want sot be the hero saving other people.
Props to the knights for being the real people we’re ‘inserting’ ourselves into. They even comment on the ugliness of Subaru’s face. But the scene with Emilia was beyond what I expected. Her autonomy and her anger against Subaru this episode skyrocketed her in terms of development; her lack of ‘depth’ before was only because Subaru never gave her space to offer any! And watching Surabu come up against his wall of delusion, and the wall of the witch’s hold on him, was a new kind of ‘suffering’. I haven’t seen such tragedy in mainstream storytelling in a long, long time.
The second cour is about to begin, and it feels like a whole new narrative for Subaru is dawning too. A whole new world of suffering.
I’ve been a fan of Attack on Trains the whole way through, so I was really surprised to feel let down by this finale. The narrative I’ve loved is all there; Mumei needing to be ‘saved’ by Ikoma but also battling her own duress. Biba and his men using science to slay rather than protect. But man, the directing was off on this one by a mile. The pacing got so far ahead of my thoughts and I never felt like anyone deserved anything happening to them. The setting for the final battle was this random muddy arena. The zombies felt more humanly animated than the humans – just try to spot the animation defects yourself.
The lasers I could do, and Ikoma’s gravity-defying powers make sense in the context of what keeps the Black Smoke together. Biba being Kabaneri himself was a ‘twist’, but the reveal of it fell flat. Mumei’s comeback against him likewise. I feel like I’m remotely characterizing everyone, but all that means little when the action itself didn’t satisfy me at all. I felt no peril for our heroes. After everything Biba had done, I felt nothing but surety for Ikoma’s success.
Regardless, my biggest complaint is that everything worked out for our heroes. Ikoma reawakening didn’t even have a narrative – he was ‘just okay’. Too much closure is a bad thing. Who cares where the Iron Fortress goes now? The cast have called it ‘home’, a good final acceptance of a nomadic lifestyle, but I’m left with no feeling that they have any more adventures to give us. Not that I want a second series. I just didn’t want this bloodbath to end like an episode of the Care Bears.
Boku no Hero Academia
A sure-footed send-off for the first cour. Deku’s One for All gave time for the pros to arrive and be All for One in saving All Might and the students. As much as All Might is the ‘top hero’, the sense of weakness this finale gave him really rounded off his character arc of dealing with his disability. Everyone has their limits, and we should all be there to help them when they reach them; to help them ‘go beyond’ by taking their burden. Deku’s very character is All Might ‘going beyond’ himself into him, and one day I hope Deku will do the same for his own successor.
We had many new faces this week – a great way to build hype for the second season. But one figure remained faceless, and I can’t help but already suspect All Might’s never-before-mentioned ‘best friend’ detective. The introductions are too close to each other. But it may well be a red herring. The sense of a ‘bigger villain’ is always what a story like this needs. And what will become of Nomu at UA?
Whatever future our heroes have, I’ve never been more hyped for a second season of anything.
With Makoto soaring above the town, Flying Witch delivers its most audacious musical flourish. She surveys all she’s accomplished this episode, and making Chintsu’s cloak cements the impact her witchy ways have had on the child. Chinatsu lives and sleeps in the cloak once it’s made a full acceptance of magic into the everyday and beyond it.
The everyday is Makoto’s way too. Making the robe is beautifully domestic, and she treats her broom as just another kind of personal transport, parking it with the bikes. chito also shone in this finale more and more as a completion of all of Makoto’s flaws; a little gem of a character demonstrating how much we need the natural and the curiousity of nature in our lives in order to not get lost.
Makoto must have so much to report back; the earthfish end the series reminding us that there’ll always be another thing we’ve never encountered before. Something we can share.
Why did I never think about ‘giving back your pain’? Because it’s an amazing twist to the philosophy of the show. All the time we’ve been seeing things through Nori’s logic, but our cast have learned that peace and friendship lies beyond the mere sharing of pain. It’s not really sharing unless you’re able to give it back. And that’s what out cast did, eventually.
The best conflict wasn’t even Katsuhria and Nori; they were the result of what these people managed to realize about empathy. It was between Nico and Honoka. Nico’s unconditional friendship, and empathizing with the feelings of multiple people, not just her own, and not just one other person’s. What Nori-chan never connected to was how anyone felt about her. But seeing how subtly animated she was after giving back the pain was a quiet beauty to behold.
Subaru could learn a lot from this lot, that’s for sure.
- Space Patrol Luluco. Luluco’s first love is her coming-of-age; she stops fighting for an abstract justice and starts fighting for the one she loves. She’s ‘Miss Trigger’, an emblem of everything Trigger love about storytelling, heroism, and themselves.
See you next season!