Yoshino is shot in the arm, but not seriously hurt. Hanemura attacks the Genesis pillar, but his blows aren’t strong enough, and the tree viciously retaliates. Samon, Natsumuura and Tetsuma use magic to protect the nearby ships to minimize casualties. Hanemura sinks into the water, but the Sword of Exodus teleports to his location, and he uses it to destroy Genesis once and for all. All the magic in the world goes with it, leaving the Kusaribe clan powerless. Crime, war, and strife returns to the world, but it was not reset. Yoshino and Mahiro watch the goodbye video Aika recorded for them. Mahiro vows to keep working to one day save the world. Hakaze leaves her village and travels to Yoshino.
Everything came together very nicely in the finale to what turned out to be one of the highest-rated we’ve ever watched. That means most of it was gripping, powerful drama tinged with a surprising amount of comedy; a story about grant plans for the world and rival gods that did not forget about little moments between two people, however oddly-matched. Enemies became friends and then family. The hero who saves the world this time (Hanemura) is merely creating the opportunity for it to be saved again (Mahiro). The grief of a lost love is mitigated by all the good that loss did, and by a new potential love.
The final battle with the pillar, Eva-inspired super-weapons and all, was great fun, but the emotional heart of this episode is in the aftermath, in a world with no more magic. It’s striking how cheerful Samon and his men are, for one, but then why wouldn’t they be, the world’s been saved! People get on with their lives, and Aika gives her brother and boyfriend a properly Aika goodbye, complete with one last tease. But Mahiro gets all philosophical, pointing out that while everything came to a very good end doesn’t mean he has to like her means. She lived her life by a script not of her own making (that he knew of) and played her destined role, but he’s going to write his own script and shape his own destiny.
We’ll close with a quote by the initially reluctant but ultimately successful hero:
[This is] a story about those who seemed to have lost something, but were able to gain something by coming together.
Rating: 9 (Superior)
- The old crones strike again, laying down a stunning salvo of harsh burns upon the young Hakaze, no longer a mage, but still not an ordinary girl (since she can’t cook, for one!) We’d still marry her. Yoshino better.
- Hanemura’s ex agreed to meet with him, but we like how his scene ends with her simply showing up (we don’t even see her face). It’s a scene that doesn’t give us any answers, but is replete of possibilities.
- Even Mahiro may have found love, in the form of a pen pal he made of a girl whose life he helped save. Good for him! Aika’s methods may have been too rigid, but she was right about one thing: the best way to remember her is to live full, happy lives.
- We like the idea of the world with magic being akin to a dream world; and now that the trees and magic are gone, civilization has woken up. It’s not a perfect world, but it never is.
The back-and-forth between Yoshino, Samon, Mahiro and Hakaze continues. After determining the method by which Hakaze can be transported to the present without causing a paradox, Samon admits he left a suitible offering on the island to do just that in an emergency, but then proceeds to stall for time by trying to convince Mahiro that the Tree of Genesis is to blame for Aika’s death. Tetsuma reports to Samon that the killer was not of the Kusaribe clan after all. Hakaze surmises that just as she is the princess of the Tree of Genesis, a princess of the Tree of Exodus may have emerged; a mage of destruction.
With three characters standing in the same place for more than two episodes, we’re officially in Naruto Boss Battle territory now. Fortunately, the dialogue is a lot more engaging, and once we’d come to terms with the fact that very little would get done action-wise this week, again, we spent the episode listening carefully, rather than gnashing our teeth. And there were a fair share of revelations this week: most intriguing being that Hakaze can come back, but only if she uses magic that transports everything but her bones from the past to her present-day skeleton.
Samon also loses the only bargaining chip he had in his contract with Mahiro: Aika’s killer. His men can’t find him, and they’ve determined he’s not a Kusaribe. This happens late in the episode, after Samon had already stalled for time about as much as he could. The whole idea how how Aika’s death is related to the actions of the Tree of Genesis – which only acts in Hakaze’s best interests – is also fascinating. Did Aika in fact die so that Hakaze could live, through the intervention of the two guys who loved her? Should Hakaze really blame herself for things the tree did independently, for her sake?
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Mahiro manages to retreat from Natsumura into a parking garage, where Yoshino meets up with him. Mahiro leaves the tiki walkie talkie with him so Hakaze can quickly school him about magic. Yoshino learns that Kusaribe magic is defensive, but can be used in many ways, including as a weapon. The military sends helicopters to quarantine the city by bombing all bridges and tunnels in and out. Mahiro saves Yoshino from Natsumura by timing one such bombing just right. Hakaze confirms that Aika’s killer was a member of her clan.
We have no doubt Aika loved her brother just as she loveed Mahiro, and would want them to look after each other if anything ever happened to her. Yoshino thought the same thing, and knew he couldn’t just turn his back on Mahiro. So this week he makes the choice not to run, but to stand by Mahiro’s side. It turns out, once he gets a crash course in Kusaribe magic, he proves quite useful and in fact vital to saving Mahiro’s reckless ass.
Mahiro’s quick wits impress Hakaze, whose expectations were quite low after spending time with Yoshino. When he asks her if her magic can resurrect the dead, she wonders if part of him wants to do just that with Aika, but she tells him no; her clan protects the world’s logic; they don’t perform miracles. (They don’t shoot fire or ice or summon monsters, either). We like the magic system involving the offering of the “fruits of civilization” to invoke the powers of the Tree of Genesis, and the importance of preventing Samon and his followers from reviving the Tree of Exodus. It’s great stuff. And the soundtrack is amazing.
Rating: 9 (Superior)
P.S. We don’t know what kind of magic Hakaze was using, but the song she and the kids were singing was hauntingly beautiful.
Car Cameos: This series didn’t skimp on models, though they’re not as pretty as K’s. There’s a whole slew in the parking garage, among others, a Toyota Aristo, Nissan Primera, Nissan Cima, Mitsubishi Montero, and Honda NSX. Evangeline’s one scene has her driving a tomato red VW New Beetle. In the tunnel where Natsu-san gets defeated, there’s a Mitsubishi Outlander and Lancer, Toyota Camry, and more.
Hakaze instructs Mahiro to return to the scene of Aika’s death, where he uses talismans to cast a spell that will draw out information on his sister’s killer. While the process unfolds, he advise Yoshino to clear out to find his family (and non-existent gf). Evangeline gets the jump in Yoshino, but he uses talismans Mahiro gave him to use magic to thwart her. The two make a deal, and she learns that Aika was Mahiro’s girlfriend. Samon orders his dog Natsumura to capture Mahiro, who takes him on, ignoring Hakaze’s warnings.
Takigawa Yoshino is in quite a pickle. His world – Aika – is pretty much gone. His best friend, her protective older brother, has no idea, and probably wouldn’t take it well no matter how much Shakespeare Yoshino recited. Mahiro pays lip service about helping Hakaze prevent her family from upturning the world, but he’s really driven by vengeance. Mahiro would destroy the world to get his revenge; Yoshino doesn’t think there’s any point to it. But like we said: his world is gone and has been for a year. If the world is destroyed, would he care?
We really dig Yoshino’s stoic but still potent melancholy in contrast to Mahiro’s barely-contained mouth-foaming rage. We don’t even mind him quoting Prince of Denmark here and there (as opposed to some cliched villain) because it’s something he may have read in class or found in the library that resonated with him – Aika being his Ophelia. Theirs was a quiet, secret love, one her brother would never understand. One can help but wonder with all the references what precisely led to Aika’s death, and whether Yoshino was in any way involved, which would be another reason to keep tight-lipped around Mahiro. But between carving up mages and cleaning Hakaze’s garage, Mahiro may uncover the truth – whatever it is – himself.
Rating: 9 (Superior)