Well, that was kind of… anticlimactic.
Katana Maidens: Toji no Miko
Studio: Studio Gokumi
Genre: Action, Supernatural
Toji no Miko came to a conclusion, last week. But it feels more appropriate to say it casually meandered to its end in the final episode. Pretty much the entire climax came down to episode 23, with the entire team (plus Origami) taking on Princess Tagitsu. But I feel like the ending was both rushed and somehow dragged. It’s a sensation that the rest of the series didn’t really have. For all its issues, this show’s biggest enemy was its pacing. And I think the problem primarily lies in how much was really happening throughout the entire ordeal.
The series set up a lot of plot threads and character arcs. But when it finally came time to do things with a lot of it, things felt breezed over. They were addressed, but rather quickly and unsatisfactorily. And part of this comes from the series’ consistent struggle with determining whether it wanted to be a legitimate ensemble show or settle entirely on two stars. In the end, it went for the latter. But as a result, it winds up underutilizing the others. The arcs outside of Hiyori and Kanami’s romantic two-girl friendship didn’t so much conclude as they just… ended.
Once again Mai is put in charge, yet her role as team leader made absolutely no difference to anything. Sayaka’s arc just boiled down to a vague desire to be stronger. Kaoru’s arc was barely present from the beginning, being kind of shared with Ellen’s. Yet we don’t really get to see the impact that either character has on their overall objective, which is returning things to a state of peaceful coexistent between people and Aradama. It’s said that seeing Kaoru’s relationship with Nene will help with that. But ultimately it’s something we’re told and we never see come to fruition in any way.
Also, the other two Princesses. By the end of the series, it becomes increasingly apparent that they were completely superfluous. They were just walking plot-devices. The arc was leaning in the direction of having things so Princess Tagitsu absorbing them would somehow influence her in the end. Possibly coming to a conclusion that didn’t involve the destruction of mankind. Actually, I think that might’ve been a more poignant ending in a way. After the fight’s over, Kanami and Hiyori (who each formed unique connections with one of the other Princesses) could’ve convinced her to look into herself and see what her counterparts saw. Then she could’ve essentially self-terminated (or allowed them to banish her if she couldn’t) to correct what she’d done. But then that would’ve left another little plot point without a conclusion – Kanami and Hiyori’s final meeting with their mothers in the other world.
Episode 24 was entirely dedicated to Hiyori and Kanami getting back home after getting stuck in the Netherworld. In that time, they get to meet with their mothers (teenage echoes of them from the Great Disaster period, anyway) and get some closure. This was handled, for the most part, decently. But the show didn’t have time to show us the whole of Kanami’s final match with her mother. And that’s probably this show’s greatest sin – ambition. It had a lot of ideas and the like but hardly delivered on any of them because they took too long, getting to things. It never forgot about anything it wanted to do. Just about every idea was used. But it moved at snail’s pace to get anywhere on a lot of things. If you’re going to tell a story this big and have a limited amount of time to tell it, you have to move fast. Things must constantly be going on. If you don’t, you’re going to have to rush, in the end, to actually tie everything up, making the series feel sloppy and generally only managing to reach satisfying conclusions with some of what was set up. The Maki/Suzuka thing, for example, ended on a fine note, despite the rest of that arc being a bit problematic.
These episodes basically sealed that one. Lots of arcs and ideas, but an extremely rushed ending because the rest of the series moved at the speed of a geezer on NyQuil. So that’s ultimately my take on the finale. It was fine. It wrapped up everything competently. But it just wasn’t satisfying because it was rushed and also decided to full-lean on Kanami and Hiyori being the only characters who really mattered. Overall, the episodes are completely Harmless. If nothing else, episode 23 did have some decent action in the fight. So there’s that. What’d you think? Did the ending wrap up the series well?
Toji no Miko is available on Crunchyroll. That’s all for me, here, folks. As always, thanks for reading. Keep up the awesome.
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