Day: I have to apologize for not getting this done sooner, as the delay was pretty much my own, what with family stuff and then being sick!
Cara: Alright! End of season and the end of 2015 – what better way to cap things off than with some high quality trash? I’ve really enjoyed following these shows this season, hopefully Winter can provide some fitting replacements.
K: Return of Kings – Episode 13 [End]
Day: IT’S OVER! IT’S OVER! HALLELUJAHHHHHH!!!!
What a complete waste of time this show was. The finale does little to ameliorate the issues this show has had throughout, as while it is most certainly conclusive, it also manages at the very last moment to vomit on the sole thing it did right. There’s a whole lot of deus ex machina going on, that’s for sure… Munakata not dying feels like we were cheaply denied the dramatic quality a scene of Awashima having to kill him would’ve had, and it simply feels like a cop-out after spending so much time making it seem that he could only die at the end. But it’s letting Shiro/Weissman resurface in another form that really bugs me. Given that in the first season, Kuroh and Neko basically spent time with the real Yashiro Isana, I was envisioning them sort of re-dedicating themselves to the real one as he comes to again in one of the final scenes. But, instead of it being that they were basically in a hierarchical-type relationship to him, it’d be that Kuroh and Neko were equals to him that were committed to helping him figure out where he is, who he is, etc. Meanwhile, Weissman would simply be gone – after all, his original body would be at least a century old at this point. So I was disappointed that they went for something more “comfortable”; it felt shallow, and it robbed what little poignancy there was from the finale.
The other thing I wish to comment on is the matter of Neko’s true identity. Discovering at the last second that Neko was much like Nagare, having been made into a “Strain” due to the Kagutsu Incident, had no impact. For one thing, Neko having another identity has only ever been alluded to a couple of times previously by Nagare, with no additional development of any sort otherwise. Additionally, we have barely spent any time with her the entire season. Since the show opted to shift focus elsewhere – and in doing so essentially ruined itself! – it’s hard to suddenly start caring that the girl wasn’t always a cat creature. It doesn’t help, either, that it’s not clear what all of this even means, ultimately. At this point, what was the point of filling this information in?
Anyway, I’m just glad it’s over. That was a really small amount of content stretched to a breaking point over thirteen episodes! I wish they’d either made an OAV or just another movie… or, if instead of making Missing Kings they’d taken all that material and combined it with the bits that mattered in Return of Kings to make the thirteen episodes. Ugh. Sigh. What a lousy show.
Cara: This second season of K was a bit of a disappointment overall, but at least this final episode delivered on the things K does well – flashy action and fanservice. If you ignore the rather repellant politics (which got increasingly difficult as the series went on) this was a rather entertaining finale. It is a shame that the Green Clan got so thoroughly screwed over by the narrative though, they were the best part of this sequel and I think they got a pretty raw deal. But at least Sukuna managed to miraculously survive being chucked down that pit, and gets to go live with Mother Yukari.
I think the way the finale switched focus back to the Silver clan would have had more impact if they had of gotten the focus they needed throughout the series. We never really got to know how Kuroh & Neko managed to reconcile the Silver king with the Shiro they spent S1 with. This season’s Shiro is a completely different character, one who decides he knows what’s best for everyone and moves without really giving proper explanations for his plans. We discover that his plan is to crash his Damocles Sword right into the Slate, banking on the fact the power of the two should cancel each other out.
What he doesn’t really explain to his clansmen is that doing this will render all the King’s powers null & void (incidentally this is what saves Munakata – I’m still shocked he survived the season) – meaning that he’ll be forced out of the body he’s been occupying all this time. For Kuroh & Neko who spent a year searching & wondering if their King was dead before being reunited, this must have been another kick in the stomach – they have no way of knowing if this second separation will be permanent or not, the Silver King is actually pretty damn old after all. Of course the epilogue has them all happy families again, but I’m sure it can’t have been easy to get used to yet another version of their Shiro. I can’t help but think that S2 of K would have been much more interesting if it attempted to explore these feelings a bit more.
So, that’s K finished! I’ll continue to appreciate it for its aesthetics and fluid animation, but S2’s plot was pretty terrible and wasn’t nearly as fun to watch as S1 & the movie. I guess sequels will always be a tough thing to get right.
High School Musical Star – Episode 12 [End]
Day: This was a pretty solid conclusion to one of the shows that surprised me this season. It also felt like it was well-earned, as the obstacles that the boys have had to overcome have been coming along pretty steadily throughout. That we aren’t privy to the outcome of it all – did they avoid the next round of cuts, or was their boldness not enough? – contributes to the circumstances of the stage and the storm not feeling contrived. Of course, the way it ends can act as a hook for another season, but even if it doesn’t lead to such, I’m happy with how they decided to close things out.
…but it would be nice to get a second season!
Cara: So the finale of Starmyu was, as predicted, all about the boys overcoming the problem of not actually having a place to perform. It was really satisfying to see the randomers that have been floating about in the background of the show since episode 1 actually help out our Star team – it’s little details like that, that really made Starmyu a great show. This was a really feel good episode and I particularly loved how it forms a nice bookend with the first episode – both the first and last performances in the show take place in the same place, right outside the school building.
So all our boys hard work and passion for musicals pays off and everyone (except for Akatsuki) up to and including the weather, helps Team Otori put on a memorable guerrilla performance. Just like how the other members of Team Otori gradually came to appreciate Hoshitani’s straightforward earnestness, the Kao Council & rest of the school came to appreciate Team Otori’s unconventional, but sincere performing style – so heartwarming! Even Otori & Hiragi seem to come to an understanding (I still ship it – kill me!), and Otori seems to have rekindled his friendship with the rest of the Kao Council again by the end of the episode.
I loved Starmyu. Such a simple show, but really well put together with endearing characters and a massive dollop of cheesy goodness. Fingers crossed for another season – that would just be fantastic – I’m seriously going to miss these dorks.
Cara’s final Starmyu character ranking: Tengenji > Nayuki > Otori > Hoshitani > Kuga > Hiragi > Kaito > Tsukigami-senpai > Inumine > Nayuki’s sisters > Purple’s Playboy friend > Tatsumi > rest of Team Hiragi > Rest of Kao Council > Akatsuki
Dance With Devils – Episode 12 [End]
Day: Wow, what a good ending! Having Ritsuka finally step up and end it all herself was *thrilling*, and I loved that she did so with Azuna’s dagger. I’m also happy with Ritsuka’s decision. Romance is great and all, but, let’s face it, she’s only seventeen years old, and she’s got a lot more options if she remains in the human world rather than giving it all up for Rem. Ultimately, Ritsuka didn’t choose one of the guys over the others – she chose herself.
Of course, I could snippily point out that Rem COULD stay in the human world since he DOES have a reason to – duhhh, Ritsuka? The girl you love? And, come on, Rem, as if your dear daddy is going to be happy and cool with you bringing back the girl who was the Grimoire but with none of its powers. Buuut this would’ve taken some weight away from Ritsuka’s own decision, so I can live with it. At least they got to kiss!
By the way, I LOVED Ritsuka’s blue dress.
Anyway, Dance with Devils – way better than I’d expected, and totally disproved my fears that it’d be Diabolik Lovers, but with devils instead of vampires. So glad I didn’t pass it over.
Cara: You know the ending of DanDevi actually surprised me – and in a good way! It was all going more or less as predicted with Ritsuka finally stepping up to help finish off Nesta by using the Grimoire herself (I enjoyed the fountains of blood), and Rem finally confessing his feelings to her – but then it veered off into an unexpected direction. Ritsuka appears to have two choices – Rem or Lindo; embrace the devil realm or stay human, and while Ritsuka’s heart clearly chooses Rem, she rejects the devil realm in favour of her old life.
We don’t get the saccharine happily ever after I was braced for, instead we get Ritsuka making a much healthier, if bittersweet, choice for herself – she is exceptionally young to be throwing away everything she has ever known in the pursuit of a man who has been a bit of a dick towards her for much of the series after all. I was equally pleased to see that Lindo (and the other devils) gives up his creepy pursuit of his cousin once it is clear Ritsuka loves Rem and will only ever see Lindo as a brother.
All in all a very strong ending for DanDevi, and one I truly wasn’t expecting. The show in general has been much better than I ever hoped, having a pretty decent plot for a show in this genre. The boys may have been a bit creepy but at least Ritsuka proved to be a very capable heroine. Well done DanDevi, I’ve really enjoyed watching you!
Seraph of the End S2 – Episode 12 [End]
Cara: What a clusterfuck of an episode – pity it had a rather tepid ending, although I suppose since the manga is ongoing that is to be expected. So yeah, Seraph wasn’t really satisfied with just having the bog standard Vampires vs Humans story, it had to fire in Demons and finally Angels as well! I gave up on trying to follow the jumps in logic ages ago and have just been enjoying the spectacle that Seraph of the End provides – and this episode sure did end up looking like some sort of missing Evangelion episode!
It was plenty of fun to watch the action unfold (although I could have done without Yuu’s incessant whining about family), but everything came to a crashing halt way too abruptly! One minute Yuu’s the angelic King of Salt (oh how much did I laugh at that reveal!), the next he’s possessed by his demon sword and then we’ve jumped forward to a pleasant stroll along a beach with the gang (minus Guren plus Mika & Narumi) in casual clothing! There was a load of switching sides going on somewhere in between, with Ferid & Crowley turning on Krul, Guren finally siding with Kureto (and probably still playing some long game with Ferid) and our core group buggering off to form their own motley band.
Seraph of the End was a really entertaining show – terribly trashy, but definitely entertaining. I really enjoyed watching it for the majority of the time, mainly due to its good looks, but you really can’t deny it is a well put together series. Just a shame the characters are all incurable idiots and the plot is ridiculous……..I think I might pick up the manga!