What a shame. I’ve really got to eat some of my words, now, don’t I? For the first couple episodes, I was crowing about how sharp this show was; how it seemed to be smarter than so many other anime shows and didn't stoop to their tropes. Well, here we are with a real wet noodle of a finale - - one that can pushed right into the Stereotypical Anime tent that I throw so many rocks at.
Lack of plot resolution masquerading as narrative ambiguity? Check.
A mess of characters who’re all less interesting and less developed than the main characters? Check.
Scenarios drifting far, far away from the initially intriguing premise? Check.
And I don’t really want to check off any more points. Well, actually, I do want to point out the vague philosophical dialogues that turn the conflict into something vaporous and ill-defined because those dialogues specifically remind me of the ones from [C] – CONTROL’s floundering finale. Actually, I can pat myself on the back on the little for at least sensing that this series was showing the same doomful portents as that show at its halfway point.
I’m not eager to totally write off either series because they both have a wealth of pluses to balance out their smattering of negatives. Both series had unique and provocative premises, oodles of interesting ideas and some thoroughly creative designs. Ultimately, those ingredients weren’t enough to make them better than the sum of their parts, per se - - but they at least made them contenders for those Half-Good videos that Rorie and Alex used to do at Screened.
There’s obviously a lot to say, in summation here, and I think I’ll just save it for some forthcoming Vice Pit session - - probably one focused on New Toonami that would also feature discussion of CASSHERN SINS, FMA: B and EUREKA SEVEN. I will say that, at the very least, I appreciate how they didn’t cop out about Ganta’s “sins” by making Shiru magically absolve him. There's an appropriate balance to him acknowledging that he’s flawed, while still not beating himself up excessively.
Watch this episode, “Grateful Dead” below and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.