2017 Week 12: Episodes 45-49 (Finale)

Started by Milieva, June 14, 2017, 08:03:16 PM

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This thread is for the discussion of Season 2: episodes 45-49.  Please mind the rewatch rules.

Getting this one done while it's still fresh in my mind.

Episode 45
The anime just seems determined to screw up everyone's characters and character arcs. Practically NONE of what Clef and Lantis discuss in this episode makes sense as a discussion to be having at this point. The discussion about protecting Emeraude's happiness is completely POINTLESS because she's DEAD, whereas in the manga, it happened before Lantis left Cephiro. Clef saying that he planned to tell any Pillar candidate the full truth could simply be him putting a good face on things after the fact, whereas in the manga, it happened at least a day before Mokona revealed himself, so he still had no idea who the candidate(s) would be. Also, in the manga, it was FERIO who raised the specter of a fully informed candidate deciding to NOT become the Pillar. Not that Clef did anything to indicate that he disagreed with the assessment that having a fully informed candidate would be worth having the candidate step back, but it's just another sign of how little the anime cared about anyone's character arc.

Oh. My. God! I had completely forgotten that they gave Lantis the GODDAMN FUCKING STUPID excuse of "If I hurt Nova, Hikaru will be hurt, too" so they could have him ~hold back~ against an apparently real threat to his life! I mean, it's not like it was necessary, given that the way Nova actually captures him is to throw an illusion of Hikaru up in front of him when he decides to charge her monster, then slip in behind the illusion and run him through when he brings his charge to a screeching halt. And if they thought that it was necessary for Lantis to hold back for pacing reasons, well, Episode 30 already established that this alternate dimension is capable of nerfing Umi and Fuu's magic, so I see no reason why they couldn't have simply had it nerf the fighting ability of a magic swordsman.

I worry about my sanity sometimes, given that my reaction to Lantis collapsing as the result of being run through Nova's sword is "Unf, that's hot." And I have the same reaction to him being tied up (essentially) in the next few episodes.

Aska (with a few comments from Sang Yung) narrates the "Coming Next" segment on this episode. The funniest line is "But who is Nova?", said after she announces the title of the next episode.

Episode 46
I really love how everyone gets a chance to shine during the group battle against the red monster. And the fact that Hikaru doesn't interrupt the fight makes it even better.

Seriously, given that Nova was created by Hikaru's heartbreak over having to kill Emeraude, there is absolutely ZERO reason for Umi and Fuu not having Nova equivalents. And if they really had to, they still could have centered Hikaru and Nova by making Nova the leader of the Shadow Trio because she's the strongest of the three Shadows. (I'll confess that I've always seen Hikaru as being a little more heartbroken over killing Emeraude than either Umi or Fuu were, partly because she was the only one vocalizing disbelief after Emeraude revealed the truth and partly because she was invested in their supposed mission from the very beginning, so I can easily see her having cast a stronger shadow.) That could have actually been really interesting, to contrast the warm and friendly relationship between Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu, where Hikaru sort of just naturally falls into the role of leader, with the certainly dysfunctional and unhealthy relationship between the Shadows, where Nova maintains leadership by means of threats and rigid control.

What the hell happened to Ascot's robes in the shot where he's running out of the throne room? There's no conceivable reason I can think of for him to essentially have a wedgie, especially not while he's running.

I still find it surprising that the anime manages to get me to have some noticeable sympathy for Alcyone at this point, given that I have effectively ZERO sympathy for her at any point prior to this, with the possible exception of Episode 43.

Eagle's "grave illness" was so much better in the manga, not least because someone coughing up blood like he is in the anime really should have died by now.

The fade from Hikaru to Nova near the end of this episode is, I think, the best example we've gotten of how their faces - and just their faces - have the same exact structure, which helps with explaining why people mistake Nova for Hikaru. It doesn't help a lot, but it does help some.

Nova narrates the "Coming Next" segment on this episode. There aren't any noticeably funny lines.

Episode 47
Let's discuss how to keep your audience from learning important information too early. There's a good way to do it and a bad way to do it. The good way to do it is to not start talking about it at all or, at the very least, cut away at the end of a sentence so it doesn't feel so much like a deliberate attempt to conceal the information. The bad way to do it is to cut away after starting to talk about it, often in the middle of a sentence, making it very clear that you don't want the audience to have that information.

So which method does the anime use in this episode to keep the viewers from learning what Hikaru plans do if she becomes the Pillar? Naturally, it uses the bad one! TWICE! And given that it uses a very clearly contrived scene cut the first time, that makes it impossible to simply write off Nova's arrival (which is the interruption that keeps Hikaru from telling Umi and Fuu what she decided) as yet another example of her shitty timing/"Let's kill Hikaru's good mood" radar.

Also, on the subject of that conversation between Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu, the anime manages a twofer with it - too little, too late with a manga conversation and making it seem like the only thing Umi and Fuu have in common is Hikaru. In the manga, not only do Umi and Fuu have this entire conversation without any involvement from Hikaru, but, like Clef's conversation with Presea about planning to tell any Pillar candidates the full truth, it's well before they have any idea who the candidates will be and they explicitly acknowledge that, at that point, they don't really have any right to criticize the system and are doing so anyway, because they feel that strongly about it.

Eagle's return to the NSX always reminds me of a fic I once read where he didn't die, but since weird stuff was still happening, the NSX had stuck around to help. When Eagle left the NSX for the third time, Geo VERY POINTEDLY handed him a communicator as he was getting into the FTO and I think he even made a comment along the lines of "If you forget a communicator again, I'm going to have one surgically attached to you."

Episode 48
Seriously, I'm really concerned about my sanity sometimes, given that my reaction to Lantis moaning in pain is just "Unf, that's really hot."

I really love getting to see how the Chizetan and Fahrenese groups try to help out in the residential quarters.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again now - It's a good thing that the Autozamian mecha aren't Mashin. In this case, because if the FTO was a Mashin, Nova would have killed Eagle when she destroyed the FTO's head.

I really, really love the setup for Clef using his magic to hold the castle together. He knows he's weaker than normal right now, so he goes to the magical heart of the castle - hell, it's probably the magical heart of Cephiro - so that the resonance of his position with Cephiro's magic can ensure that the magic he encircles himself with will also encircle the castle.

The scene in this episode where the Mashin fuse into the Uber-Mashin really confused me the first few times I watched the anime because my first source was an online rip of the original DVD release (not that I knew that at the time) and I was unaware of how the OPs had been messed with for that release, so I just could not figure out how the animators had managed to have that scene ready for the OP 27 episodes earlier.

Episode 49
I have so many mixed feelings about the first scene in this episode. I can, intellectually, understand why Hikaru takes the gentle and accepting route with Nova - I mean, one of her defining character traits is that she's an All-Loving Hero incapable of holding a grudge - but if the creative team wanted me, as the viewer, to feel that Hikaru was doing the right thing in this scene, they should have A) toned down Nova's "psycho" (and especially the "psycho lesbian") vibe, B) given some hints earlier in the season that Debonair was manipulating and possibly abusing Nova, and C) revealed Nova thought that Hikaru believed people could only be happy together when they were dead at a much earlier point.

Oh. My. God. Oh. My. FUCKING. GOD! I was very clearly suppressing my memory of the Season 2 finale, because I had completely forgotten that it is basically just a redux of the Season 1 finale. I mean, SERIOUSLY?! They couldn't come up with ANYTHING other than rehashing the final battle of Season 1?!!!!!!

The creative team clearly had a death grip on their own Idiot Ball when planning this episode. In addition to the complete failure to come up with an original battle, they went and handed the Idiot Ball to the Cephirans again - the general population this time, instead of the secondary characters, but still! These people have lived in Cephiro all their lives, they should already know that monsters are created by the fear in people's hearts! And then the incredibly FUCKING STUPID "Let's all ~believe~ in the Magic Knights" shit! The Magic Knights don't NEED the belief of Cephiro's people to beat Debonair - Hikaru is the proto-Pillar and Umi and Fuu have got to be pretty damn close to matching Lantis in strength of will!

I suppose in light of all of that concentrated ~stupid~, Hikaru not talking about the Pillar system's flaws and the outside perspective she, Umi, and Fuu have before abolishing the Pillar system is only a minor complaint, but it still smarts, because the result is her upending the status quo without giving any explanation for her actions to the people who don't have any basis for understanding why she's doing so. And given that the anime made those same people crucial to the victory over Debonair, it's even more aggravating than it would have been in the manga.
Of course I'm normal...I'm 90 degrees off from the rest of the world.

Ultimately, after Eagle dies, I somehow enter a state of AGGRESSIVE APATHY about everything that happens afterwards. There's just so much that feels so utterly WRONG I just can't. Like, I can admit that other than that ONE FUCKING SCENE, episode 44 was still a decent episode.

But episode 49? Just no.
If your headcanon for Ascot's backstory doesn't make me want to cry, I probably won't believe it.