The resolutions to these last holdout shows were… definitely something. That’s for certain.
Endings are always a bit difficult to pull off. It’s hard making one that satisfies everyone. But as this season featured some absolutely killer writing, one would expect these shows to leap that hurdle, right? …Right? Guys?
I’ll put this rather plainly. Of the three shows that definitively ended, this week, I’d be hard-pressed to say this one didn’t stick its landing the best. And that’s a weird thing to say about a series in which the finale didn’t seem like an actual conclusion to much. But it actually was. Surprisingly so. It perhaps wasn’t perfect, but it was rather graceful in the approach it took. Rather than choosing to do anything to try to force out a resolution to the macro arc of the series in one episode, it went for something else – showing us a minor evolution in the relationship between the two leads. All the while showing steps of character development and setting up for the future with both subtle and unsubtle cues.
Yuu, finally no longer fearing the prospect of taking leaps and being the first to act, is the one to invite Touko on what is, for all intents and purposes, a date. They don’t call it as much, but… really, now. Meanwhile, Touko continues to struggle with the question of what she’ll do after the stage show and slowly tries to piece together her own kind of existence. Seeing Touko listing off all these things she wanted to do as some sort of subconscious effort to define herself as an individual was honestly an adorable way of having her express the very real and emotional plight she’s wrestling with.
On top of that, the story continues with its sweet visuals. But the thing that jumped out the most was how, for the first time in the entire series, Touko’s the one we see in that drowning imagery we’d previously grown accustomed to seeing out of Yuu to express her loneliness. That reversal was just a brilliant way of showing off just how lost this girl was. And yet hearing Yuu call her name is what reeled her back in. It was just an excellent few seconds. And all of that is to say nothing of the scene leading up to it, wherein they practice for the play and Yuu decides to “improvise,” which is another great way of showcasing the issue without it being through so much direct, on-the-nose dialogue as many other series might ultimately decide to handle it.
And, honestly, I think the non-ending kinda works for this series. The episode was an enjoyable standalone and it’s actually a good catalyst to give the manga a try, unlike other series that pull the same stunt. It leaves off at a satisfying place, is what I’m saying. And that, combined with the episode’s individual strengths, is enough to net this episode another World’s Finest rating. At this point, I have absolutely no reservations about this show making it into the finals. So here’s looking forward to that.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one not really satisfied with this ending? “What, is it because you didn’t want Kaede to go?” Actually, no. I knew, well ahead of time, that that was where her arc was headed. And that’s without research. The memory loss thing just gave me that vibe because whenever amnesia’s used in a story that’s not fundamentally “optimistic” and it’s not a plot device for an action show, it plays out almost exactly like this. It does tend to annoy me because that’s not at all how amnesia works. But whatever. I accepted it here because, hey, supernatural disease. No, I fully expected Kaede to “die.” What I wasn’t overly happy with was that the whole thing just kinda shifted, after that, to being about Sakuta.
Don’t get me wrong. Sakuta’s great. Easily one of the best characters of the season, if not the year. But I was far more interested in what Kaede’s puberty syndrome was saying about her and her arc. And… we didn’t really get any real resolution to any of that. It just focused in on Sakuta’s grief that Kaede was “gone.” And sure, all of that was tearjerker-worthy and highly emotional (didn’t really work on me, but it takes a lot to bring that out of me, these days). It wasn’t bad, at all. It’s just not what I was wanting the episode to do. And I wasn’t especially thrilled with what we got. It also kinda left some things about Kaede hanging, like where the bruises were coming from.
Also, when it did shift to Sakuta, the episode just kinda… slowed to a crawl. Yes, this show is fairly slow on the pacing. But I don’t really know how to describe it. The stuff with Shouko and Mai was far less interesting, and I know that sounds weird to say because I love Mai and Sakuta’s relationship and appreciate any kind of advancement in it. But the drama brought out of this particular bit, while coming to a sweet resolution, just didn’t have the proper buildup, I think, to warrant taking a hard swerve away from Kaede to get to. That being said, make no mistake. The episode was still good. Super Effective, in fact. Like I said, the emotional core of the episode was really strong. Just not the most satisfying of endings the show could’ve had.
This show seems to continue to confound people. Again, I can certainly see why. Index is not paced for a particularly optimal viewing experience in a weekly format. Binge-watching it is probably the way to go. And that’s definitely something working to its detriment. But without having those problems, this has proven to be getting a bit closer to what I like about the series – Touma at the heart of a much bigger world than himself, fighting to shatter people’s delusions. It’s not quite there just yet, but it’s getting closer to that point. In the meanwhile, this episode mostly just continued the arc without actually concluding anything, so it’s not looking like there’ll be any true reprieves from what’s going on, at the moment. The action wasn’t neat, and Index even got to do something! So a fun episode of Junk Food, all things considered.
This was another of the disappointing endings… and I still liked it. That honestly tells you how good this season’s been in the drama department. Hitomi saying goodbye to everyone was a foregone conclusion. But it was her final goodbye with Yuito that was always going to hit the hardest. And that scene really delivered with Hitomi getting sucked into her own magic again, and Yuito rushing to save her so they could finally say what we all know they’ve been keeping themselves from saying. Hitomi’s words about holding herself back were also really great for all of this because Yuito had honestly been doing the same.
The problem with the episode comes with Hitomi’s inevitable return to the future. Put plainly, she’s pretty much the only character who I honestly felt got any closure aside from maybe Yuito and Kohaku. All the other characters just kinda got shafted. Once Hitomi’s back home, we never see any of them again, outside of a time capsule of their days in the past. I’d have liked to see what, exactly, happened with all of them. What did Kurumi decide she wanted to do with her life? What about Asagi? Shou? No real closure at all. Just a scene of Hitomi visiting someone’s grave… and we have no idea whose it was. I’d feel more than a bit cheated if Kohaku just happened to outlive literally every single one of them.
And speaking of Kohaku, we don’t really address the subject of Kohaku’s motherhood much, if at all, really. It’s not exactly clear what her relationship with her daughter is. Did she become consumed with getting ready for Hitomi and neglected her own child, as a result? Hitomi didn’t tell Kohaku about her troubles with her mother, like she did Yuito, so it’s entirely possible. There’s a lot to unpack there as well. But again, I like the episode. I think it was good. It was emotionally satisfying for Hitomi, herself, and handled her and Yuito’s arcs particularly well. It was a Super Effective episode with just a few irritating holes.
So. After last episode’s half-hot half-cold action sequence, here we’re introduced to a new problem. The Witch Queen’s taken control of Asta and commanded him to kill his allies. How will they deal with this situation? Well, a flashback from Vanessa, for starters. And a lengthy one, at that. Soon followed by her decision to seize control of her fate (again) and discovering the true extent of her magical power – a cat spirit, somehow made of the red string of fate that’s able to… well… change outcomes, I guess? Something like that. To the extent that she’s able to alter Asta’s actions subconsciously and prevent him from killing anyone.
Solid character development on her part, allowing her to finally stand up to her mother. Though now I’m just curious where things go from here. I know some of the particulars, of course, having read up on the series a bit. But still. It’s got me decently interested. Again, I just hope she doesn’t go back to being nothing more than a running gag. She and Fenril are just getting out of that space and joining Noelle and Yami in the line of characters with actual… you know… personalities. A decent bit of Junk Food for the show, overall.
Overall Episode Medalists
Welp. It’s time to close the curtain on this one. So. Which final episode of the Fall 2018 Anime Season will be taking home the Gold Medal? Well, if not for TKO, that’d obviously be Yagate Kimi ni Naru. By a country mile. BUT, in lieu of its ability to participate… I’m actually gonna let Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara take it, this time.
It was a close race, but I think the more satisfying conclusion came from it, rather than this week’s Silver Medalist, Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai. Yes, it may have something to do with the latter getting ready for the movie, on the way. But that doesn’t exactly excuse it. Meanwhile, the Bronze, this time, I’m actually going to very surprisingly hand to Black Clover. Yeah, I’m as shocked as anyone, but it did fork over some genuine character development while Index spent the majority of its time setting things up, and the like. Also, it had a cat, so…
Well, she finally received the honor. Hitomi’s development is the strong suit of the series, by far, and the finale brings her some real closure by bringing it all full-circle and allowing her development to reflect on the others. It’s unfortunate that pretty much all of the time is spent on her and Yuito, shoving the other characters to the wayside, but it doesn’t change that Hitomi basically carried the episode on her own merits.
Unique Achievement: Best Reaction
Touko’s reaction to the idea of sitting in an aquarium attraction’s splash zone with Yuu was just hilarious. But really. There were tons of seats, further back. Why’d they choose to sit there? XD
Unique Achievement: Goodest Boi
The simple fact that the spell is a cat should be enough. But it’s also a cat with a pretty neat power.
Well… that’s it. The end of Fall 2018. Obviously, some of these shows are going to be continuing into next year. Black Clover and Toaru Majutsu no Index III are returning. And I’ll be visiting Noragami Aragoto, as well. So look forward to that. In the meantime, though, what’d you guys think of the season? What had the strongest ending? Let me know, down below. Thanks for reading, as always. Keep up the Awesome and Take Care.