Black Rock Shooter – 08 (Fin)

Strength cannot free Mato from Black Rock Shooter, so she attempts to sacrifice herself so Yuu won’t be the one to kill Mato. However, Mato breaks out of Black Rock Shooter’s hold and enters the world to face her one-on-one. BRS beats her bloody, until she realizes that she can’t be hurt without hurting others, and vice versa. Mato cries out and starts to fight back, distributing her pain out to Yomi, Yuu, Kagari and Kohata, who shed tears in the real world. Their counterparts lend Mato “strength in colors”, which she uses to blast BRS away. Strength dies, and Koutari Yuu returns to the real world, where she, Yomi, Kagari and Mato become friends.

The BRS finale featured almost as many tears as bullets, didn’t skimp on lofty deliberations or shaky distraught voices, and all in all did a satisfactory job wrapping up an abbreviated series that didn’t have a whole lot of source material to work with, a fact that became clearer as the story progressed. Even the kickass battle scenes, slick as they are, had become a little repetitive in this, the eighth episode. We’re a little relieved we don’t have to watch four to five more episodes of the same battles interspersed with the same philosophizing about pain and colors.

Don’t get us wrong; we enjoyed watching it thoroughly. At its best it served up really well-animated and imaginative action while also dealing with teen girl angst issues in a very over-the-top abstract fashion. It sticks to simple lessons – life is beautiful, don’t hold all your pain in, don’t be afraid to open up to people. But like Guilty Crown, which we’ve also just finished, Black Rock Shooter didn’t fully live up to its potential.

Rating: 3

Guilty Crown – 22 (Fin)

Shu is moments too late to save Inori, and the newly awakened Mana’s dance begins the fourth apocalypse, as countless people around the world become consumed by crystal. Using his friends’ voids, Shu duels with Gai, but is disarmed and struck down. Just when all hope is lost, Inori calls to him from a crystal flower, and he draws her back out. Her song dissolves the crystal all over the world.

As GHQ headquarters collapses around them, Shu stabs Gai, and the two cross over to the Naath Utopia, which lies beyond the apocalypse. Gai tells him the only way for Mana to be put to rest is by letting her finish her role. Shu returns to the real world, where Inori is almost totally encased with crystal, and eventually disintigrates. Together, theyabsorb the last remnants of the apocalypse virus. Years later, the world is back to normal, Shu survived, and he still pines for his lost love.

Well, it was quite a ride, but all things must end, and end Guilty Crown did. It wasn’t the best ending ever but at least we pretty much knew what was going on, and no last-minute twists or contrivances came out of left field. There was naturally the final boss battle, where Gai who claimed Mana while Shu dug down deep and called upon the power of Inori. Gai was redeemed, as he says in the end he did what he did hoping Shu would come stop him, and he did.

We really dug the new music saved for this finale, including a pretty badass remix of the first ending theme. But we do feel ourselves hard-pressed to offer more than faint praise for this last episode. To be perfectly honest, the trio of sci-fi shows that came around in January (Aquarion, Moretsu and Lagrange) have caused our interest in Guilty Crown to wane. In that sense, it’s a good thing the series is over.

Rating: 3