Kakegurui Final Episode (12): That’s one way to do it

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As far as endings go, I feel like I have to be critical as this one. Thinking back, resolving the battle against the president in a single episode is a strange idea. I think this kinda adds to why the drawn ending ends up being unsatisfying. It’s true that a more conclusive ending would have been even more of a disappointment, but this ending is pretty much a tease. Maybe that fits the show, but still…

Either way, this ending opens the series up to a second season. I guess that’s fair, but I had heard this was an anime original ending. It seems a bit counterintuitive.

I think a lot of why this episode rubbed me the wrong way stems from how the president talked. All of this mention of destiny and fate gave her too much of a “zen spiritualist” persona that didn’t seem to fit with someone supposedly on par with Yumeko. It also seemed to rub in the ending for me. Not only was it a tie, but it was destined to be a tie.

Giving Suzui the final play in the series seemed…okay. It seemed a bit strange to me at first, but I think the scene made up for it. I quite liked this shot with Yumeko guiding him.

At the end of the day, I still don’t understand this character (whose name I’ve forgotten). I get that she worships the president and all, but what exactly was she put in to do? I was honestly expecting her to cheat on the president’s behalf to give her some purpose in the show. She seemed to be getting some setup in the previous games against Yumemi and Manyuda, but it all died when the president returned.

As a side note, I found this scene hilarious. Suzui’s “confession” was mostly underwhelming, but this reaction was funnier than I expected.

Final Score: 7/10 Certainly had its flaws, but enjoyable overall

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Made in Abyss Episode 12: Learning the ropes

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This episode’s climax wasn’t really the development I was expecting as setup for the final episode, but I have to admit that it makes sense. Having Nanachi join the group is a very reasonable stopping point for this series and Mitty is really the only thing holding her back. The “dream” scene with Riko also seemed to support this. It looked as though it was showing a crying Mitty looking pleadingly at Riko. Perhaps that was meant to indicate that Mitty also wants to end her suffering.

That being said, I have to say that the explanation about the Curse was the most interesting piece of the episode for me. The cloth made for a good demonstration of how it works and I liked that it tied into the forcefield that has been mentioned on multiple occasions. Since the forcefield was relevant to other phenomena in the Abyss, it’s cool to learn that they’re all actually connected.

I also liked the idea of linking the forcefield’s movements to changes in consciousness. It was a really nice way to give a concrete reasoning to the danger of the lower layers.

The part that I didn’t really understand in this episode was the return to Kiyui at the top. I acknowledge that it addresses a question I posed much earlier in the series, but it still seemed…random? I’m sure there’s some deeper purpose that I’m missing, but I just couldn’t understand the timing of the scene. It seemed to end pretty simply too, suggesting that the cause of the mysterious illness was just the Abyss.

Part of me is wondering whether it’s meant to contrast with the explanation of the Curse. The people on the surface were really quick to accept that Kiyui’s recovery was just a quirk of the Abyss. However, the explanations in this episode seem to suggest the opposite. They suggest that the series is truly willing to explain itself even if things look “magical”.

Anime Review: Isekai Shokudou

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I mentioned this series while it was airing, but I didn’t really say much about it. While this series didn’t really do anything crazy as a slice of life show, I looked forward to watching it every week. Admittedly, I probably have a bias in favor of food shows. And that’s pretty much what this series is. It revolves around a Western restaurant in Japan connected to a fantasy world. Every week, the restaurant opens, allowing the other world’s residents to enter and eat.

I said it before, but I found the reactions to the food in this series very charming. The descriptions generally felt a lot more accessible to me than those of other food shows. The show presented characters that were legitimately experiencing a new world of food and doing their best to describe it with what they knew. Maybe I’m just too much of a food pleb, but that was the impression I got.

Much of the show revolves around introducing each character and focusing on their unique perspective within the restaurant. I liked that the episode individualized each character with their own “story” while also giving them a favorite dish to further act as an identity. I’d also say that this show was one of those rare cases where I noticeably liked the character designs.

This series probably falls under the category of “relaxing” anime, and I think the music certainly helps. The background music sounds whimsical as the characters experience the restaurant, but it also has tracks that sound mysterious as they discover the strange restaurant. I thought it was a satisfying experience overall to watch this series, even if I might not remember it in five years.

Overall Score: 7/10

Fate/Apocrypha Episode 12: Bullying Lancer as always

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Well, this episode seems to be setting up a completely different battle for the second half of this series. As always, being Lancer is suffering. I wasn’t expecting Darnic to fully invest by taking over Lancer in his Dracula form. What exactly was his plan if he managed to kill everyone? It’s not like every Servant of Red was participating in that fight, after all.

I was hoping for a bit more out of this truce than what we saw. While it’s true that everyone contributed, it still looked like an extension of the fight between Dracula and Karna in the end. It really doesn’t take too long before the Red Servants are taken out of the fight.

And on that note, what exactly was the reasoning for that? Was it just because Ruler had used the Command Spell to gain the allegiance of the Red Servants? It also looked like Shiro took the Command Spells from the masters as well…or at least forced them to use them up. I’m not sure I fully understand that part.

I don’t know why I didn’t guess that the character literally named “Shiro” was secretly a Servant. I really should have known better. I guess they did set up his vendetta, but Darnic really didn’t feel too “present” in the first half of the series. Is he really just dead now?

I suppose this development is meant to set up a new type of Grail War for the future, one in which the two Rulers fight for control over the war or something. I’m not sure what to make of it yet, so I guess we’ll see. With Darnic dead, I’m not sure how much is left of Shiro’s motivation to make him an interesting villain.

Knight’s & Magic Episode 12: The big reason

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For some reason, I found this episode funnier than I think was intended. It has always been an aspect of this series, but I found it stood out more in this episode. I mean, they even bothered to make a joke out of the fact that the sword guy leaves his swords scattered across the battlefield. That’s more than I would expect.

I’m starting to feel like it’s a conspiracy that the Guair gets the good fights. And it was a small thing, but I totally thought that the sword machine was going to explode after Dietrich stabbed it. It’s a common scene in mecha series and they definitely had a good excuse given that the Ether Reactor had just failed.

It’s a bit sad that this statement has to be made. Still, I don’t have a problem with presenting an enemy who is an actual challenge for Ernesti. You’d expect Ernesti to laugh off the big surprises that Oratio throws at him in a typical villain interaction, but they’re actually having a legitimate competition.

I’d say my biggest source of confusion in this episode is the timetable. Ernesti had time to solve the smokescreen issues with the Ikaruga, and Oratio had time to upgrade the Vyers. I really can’t keep up with how much time is passing.

Ernesti’s final comment in the episode also ended up being pretty funny. His motivation is just to keep the fighting restricted to giant robots, which is hilarious. There are no grand ideals going on for this guy…

Princess Principal Episode 11: Ultimate betrayal

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In many ways, this episode didn’t quite go the way I expected, but I think I’ll wait to see how it comes together in the end to pass ultimate judgment. Honestly, I thought from the moment when Ange first accepted the mission that she would try to die in Princess’s place. I can understand that her plan to escape with the Princess is more reasonable given that she expressed her wish for that outcome in the first place, but I guess my head saw a different ending.

There are a couple pieces in this episode that didn’t sit well with me. First and foremost, I’m wondering how the Duke of Normandy plays into everything. He’s been a constant looming presence in this series, but he has very little setup himself. Given that his agent has been involved in many episodes now, I’m very much expecting that his character exists as a simple enemy. It seems to me like the ending will just prop him up as the mastermind behind the coup all along, which seems empty if we don’t know much about him.

Along the same lines, Zelda seems like a bit of a random introduction. It’s not unheard of for this series, but it’s odd that she’s being introduced so close to the end as someone presumably pivotal to the ending. It makes me wonder if she’s just a simple spy for the Duke.

Of course, the whole idea of splitting the team just feels like a setup for a grand reunion in the final episode. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that, but it’s time that needs to be spent. Just how much is meant to happen in this finale?

The most interesting part of this episode was the statement from Ange that Operation: Changeling was her idea. It makes sense and has likely been said before in this series (knowing my track record), since it plays into her original plan to get close to Princess. But I find it interesting that the final conflict in the episode is that plan blowing up in her face.

I’m really shocked about the ending of this episode, though. It has nothing to do with the coup or the fact that Princess trapped Ange on the airship. I’m just surprised that Princess got away with pretending to be Ange so easily. Does the spy organization really think so little of her? They suspected Ange of betrayal, but take her word that Princess is dead without physical evidence? That just seems bizarre.

Kakegurui Episode 11: Stakes are getting higher

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This week’s episode went back to being a bit more predictable. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because it makes the twists a bit more satisfying. Some of the recent ones have just felt confusing.

That being said, I definitely didn’t see the president’s return. I would argue, though, that I don’t really understand what her reveal accomplished in the game. Was she really the only person who could legitimize Sumeragi’s bet? It felt more like she was only there to set up a final showdown with Yumeko.

Interestingly enough, this week’s episode shows its hand when Yumeko literally shows her hand. That was kind of a nice touch. I had to either accept that Sumeragi was stupid enough to give away her desperation or smart enough to realize that she was brought up to help trick Manyuda. Given her resolve from the previous episode, it made more sense for her to provide the contributing factor in the gamble. Ripping out all of her fingernails might have been a bit overkill, though.

When you really get down to it, Manyuda effectively lost because he expected Yumeko to use the exact same strategy that she used in the previous hand, discarding a good hand to get a losing hand. Why exactly did he think she would do the same thing again? I guess I was hoping for a bit more out of him.

The supernova discussion seemed a bit strange, but I guess it works. It seems like a simple comparison for the point that the president was trying to make. It probably just has to do with admiring the brilliance of a “life” in its dying state.

Re:Creators Final Episode (22): Finishing the story

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This epilogue didn’t end up being anything crazy, but I’d say it was a very satisfying conclusion. I think my overall impression of this series is that it had its flaws, but I really did enjoy the details put into each of the characters (I might have said this before). Also, I just want to note that I appreciate that the series didn’t revive characters for a happier ending. That was honestly surprising.

The final revelation in the series that the story is written by Meteora would normally feel like a cheap reference to itself, but I think it works in this series. The story has been constantly focused on the concept of writing stories. Plus, the series makes tons of meta references, so it’s only fitting.

Using Meteora as an author also somewhat addresses a complaint I’ve had with the series, the fact that the series largely ignores the mechanics of the world it’s presenting. Given that Meteora is still fairly new to the “real world”, she has no reason to really know as much about it. She’s a bit justified in keeping those details out because she’s still learning how the real world is supposed to work.

To that point, the most curious piece of this episode was this conversation about what will happen to the creations after they return to their story. Will they branch themselves into another world or will they be forced back into the whims of their creators? It’s kind of a weird hole in this series becuase it has some free will implications.

It also approaches some fun questions about “world creation”. If they can go back and create a new world, that means that a force other than a “creator” can create a world. You could also argue that their time in the “real world” influenced their creators, which in turn influenced their story. So in a way, they did change their world.

On a more positive note, I think this line is probably my favorite one from this episode. All in all, it’s a good point. Despite all of the effort that the creators put into the story they built, none of it was able to defeat Altair. What ended it all was effectively a miracle…which I can agree is kinda disappointing in some ways.

I just have one final comment on this episode. While I get that Magane was given her exit in her airport scene, I was honestly surprised that she had no cameo in this episode. Did I miss it?

Final Score: 8/10

Made in Abyss Episode 11: Fetch quests

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I guess this week’s episode was a bit of a breather after last week’s episode. We got a bit more of an introduction of Nanachi, who seems to be a pretty interesting character. Although Nanachi was overtly teasing Reg, I still got the sense that the “looming danger” to Riko’s life was very real…even if Nanachi insisted on downplaying it.

My only real complaint was about the repetition in the opening of the episode. From how it started, I was hoping we’d get to see more from Nanachi’s perspective, but we only really saw that she was watching Riko and Reg. That alone might have been good enough, but Nanachi specifically explains later that she was watching the whole time.

Reg’s fetch quest ended up being a bit interesting. It stood out to me because it’s really the first time he’s been able to work alone in the Abyss. The fourth layer that was so treacherous last week seemed more tame without Riko as added baggage. I’m not sure whether to attribute it to the lack of dead weight or to the instructions from Nanachi.

Nanachi’s past seems pretty intriguing too. The flashback this week seems to imply that White Whistle influence may be involved in her special condition as a “thinking” Hollow. I also like that she comes off as being deceptively serious. It seems like there’s a lot of truth behind what she says as jokes. Maybe that’s just my impression.

There’s also a brief memory sequence from Reg. It seemed to suggest that he was responsible for the grave marked by Blaze Reap. The fact that Reg brushed it off actually has me wondering a bit. Could Lyza really be dead?

As a final note, the last scene in this episode feels like another cheap cliffhanger. Sure, Mitty seems like she’s advancing on Riko, but I’d be really surprised if there’s any real danger.

Sakurada Reset Final Episode (24): Surprisingly interesting

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While I’m not disappointed with this ending, it still nags at me as a bit of a distraction from the grand ending we got last week. That being said, I can still appreciate starting and ending the story with Sumire. In a way, this entire story is her orchestration. As far as endings go, I don’t really have any major complaints.

I quite like this line from Sumire, showing just how much pain she feels right now.

I think using the “trapped in stone” exercise in the final episode like this worked pretty well to reference the first Witch. Much as the first Witch did when she was proposing the exercise, Sumire demonstrates how she used her foresight ability to benefit the man she loved. The two are linked not only by their ability alone, but also by how they ultimately use it.

I was definitely worried that the series would try to end with one final piece of drama, but this episode ended up being pretty mellow overall. The love triangle is resolved in a pretty reasonable way too, as Sumire and Misora acknowledge each other as a rival with the abilities each lacks in herself.

This episode even resolved a point of confusion I had in a recent episode by acknowledging that Sumire was always the “real” Sumire. I wonder if that big scene as this Sumire was about to kill herself was supposed to be a hint.

I guess I have to thank Tsuki ga Kirei for giving me the background to understand the significance of this scene. I suppose it’s a nice gesture from Kei to show that he cares even if he didn’t choose Sumire in the end.

Final Score: 7/10 I really liked this ending, but I’m unwilling to give a higher score because of how long it took to get here.