Medaka Box – 12 (Fin)

With Medaka in the hospital, Zenkichi, Akune and Kikaijima are on their own responding to a plea for help from the new shogi club president, Mochibaru Sasae, about a missing king piece. After cleaning the clubroom, not only can they not find the king, but Akune discovers all the kings are missing. Akune seeks out Natayama Miri, the best player in the club when she quit when Sasae won the presidency. The council teases a confession out of her, simultaneously scolding, shaming, and encouraging her. Impressed with the council’s efforts, she returns to the shogi club.

So ends Medaka Box, what will be – barring a late meltdown by Accel World – the lowest-ranked Spring series we watched. Does that mean the series was bad? No; we don’t watch bad series. It was simply the weakest, when measured by our admittedly highly subjecitve rating system. But as the lilac punk-haired Natayama proclaims, You can’t blame someone for being weak. But you can blame them for not trying to get stronger. Even if it didn’t always excel, the series always aimed high. This final episode omitted Medaka, who, let’s face it, did her part for jade general and country. There was a refreshing quality to an episode lacking the show’s star.

The remaining three council members make up for her absense by stepping up her game, considering carefully what she’d do in their shoes, and channelling various aspects of her in solving the case of the missing kings. Zenkichi aggresively challenges Miri to a match, then calls her out on her childishness. Kouki follows with a lighter, more encouraging touch – something like a pretentious appeal to innate goodness. Kikaijima simply tries to say something cool (in an episode brimming with gardening and shogi metaphors). And it works. They still have much to learn from Medaka and each other, but they’ve come a long way thanks to her.

Rating: 6 (Good)

P.S. At the very end of the episode, a new group of mean-looking students appears and one of them says “To Be Continued.” We’re not so sure about that…