Soukou no Strain – 13 (END)
Locked in battle with her brother, Sara remembers how she always been chasing after him. The fight isn’t over for the other pilots either because there are still tons of Tumors to destroy, and the Strains are getting heavily damaged. The only good news is that Lottie has safely brought both Melchisedec and Dufarge back from the Deague ship. As he attacks Sara, Ralph questions why she doesn’t understand what mankind did to Emily’s kind. He feels that all of humanity should die to make up for their crime, but Sara disagrees and suggests that Ralph killed people to feel better. In fact, she wants him to give back all the people that he’s killed, including Mary, Colin, Cedi, and Carris. The two Strains then charge at each other, and Sara’s RAM-DASS is the one that suffers the most damage with a Mercurion leak. Since Ralph’s Gloire isn’t moving for the time being, Lottie comes in and helps Sara back to the Libertad. When they arrive in the main Strain hanger, the RAM-DASS immediately undergoes repairs with parts from the other Strains.
Emily greets Sara when she gets off, and then Becky and Dickon arrive to thank her for earlier. Dickon also asks her to fight for them and to avenge Carris. Sara and Emily then head to the locker room where they find Lottie putting out a plate of sandwiches. Emily immediately starts eating and finds the sandwiches delicious, though Sara and Lottie quickly realize that they’re not very good. After Emily falls asleep, Lottie remembers all the things they’ve been through and specifically mentions treadmill competition they had. The two girls start arguing about who won, but when Emily briefly wakes up because of the commotion, they have a good laugh about it. Lottie suggests that they should settle it once everything is over and tells Sara to live even if she dies. Carmichael then comes to get Sara because the repairs are done. Everyone comes to see her off, and the doll Emily has even been given a new outfit. When the real Emily insists on going with Sara because she doesn’t want to be alone anymore, Sara agrees and the two board her Strain together.
Dufarge then reports that the Gloire-type is the only enemy left since they’ve succeeded in destroying all the Tumors. Everything hinges now on Sara defeating Ralph, and the bridge officers salute her as she flies off. In this next round of her fight against her brother, Sara initially comes under heavy fire, but she dodges all the shots. The two use various attacks on each other, and during the fight, Emily tries to get Ralph to stop. In response, Ralph tries to order her to come to him, but Emily wants to be with Sara instead. Though he stays silent for a moment, Ralph then roars back to life with a series of hits that put Sara on the defensive. Remembering what he had told her when he left all those years ago, Sara vows to carry out her decision to not let Ralph kill anyone else. She then accelerates her Strain to sub-light speeds so that the Libertad can’t get dragged into the battle. Watching her disappear with Ralph chasing after, Craven declares that Sara has become the first graduate of this school term.
Seeing the serious look on Sara’s face as they hurtle through space at these speeds, Emily smiles at Sara and tells her that it’s ok because she’s not alone. With Ralph’s vision blurring, Sara’s able to get in plenty of hits as the two Strains circle each other as if they were dancing through space. Having taken a lot of damage, Ralph stretches his hand out towards Sara’s direction, but then charges and pierces his blade into the right side of her Strain. As she remembers Ralph returning home on that snowy day so many years ago, Sara plunges her blade into the middle of Ralph’s Gloire-type. Realizing that it’s over, Sara starts to cry, but she soon hears Ralph calling out her name. After he entrusts Emily to her, the musical pendant he was wearing comes to life with a familiar song, and Ralph smiles at the progress his little sister has made. The song stops when the Gloire-type breaks up into pieces as it and Sara’s Strain enter the atmosphere of a nearby planet. The RAM-DASS eventually crashes into a sea of water and skips several times before stopping.
Having been able to get off safely on a beach, Sara looks up at the sky and silently addresses her now-deceased brother. She feels that they are siblings after all because of how they chased after only what they believed in and how they got everything around them involved. Having found no one around, Emily comes running with the doll Emily in her arms and wonders what they should do. Sara isn’t sure of what to do either, but she feels that they’ll be fine as long as they’re together. The two walk along the beach for a while until Emily notices a small shuttle emerging from the clouds that is carrying Lottie and all of Sara’s friends. Addressing her brother one last time, Sara promises to carry out his desires because she knows that she’s not alone anymore.
As I had suspected from last week, no one other than Ralph died at the end. With the way Sara succeeded in not getting the Libertad involved in her fight with her brother, it’s clear now that all the deaths early on made her want to not take any chances with other people’s lives. I guess you could say that the ending didn’t really have any surprises, but I more or less liked how it turned out. It didn’t dawn on me how the ending sequence that we’ve been seeing for all these weeks would fit in until Sara was crashing onto the planet – but then everything made sense.
Production-wise, the fast-paced CG Strain fights this episode are probably some of the most impressive I’ve seen in the series, though that might just be because such a huge part of the episode was the fighting. I also liked how we finally got to see and hear Ralph’s musical pendant which I had admittedly long since forgotten about. Having said all that, I do wish that we got to find out more about what happened in the war between Union and Deague or if Emily ever got to return to her people.
Final Thoughts: Soukou no Strain started off with quite a bang because of the double episode premiere and the high body count early on. Although I had hoped things would occur on a grander scale in terms of the war between Union and Deague, the story was still fairly engaging as the mysteries of Emily and Ralph were unraveled. Now that I’m able to look back on and evaluate the series as a whole, I feel that the Lavinia episode could have been used more productively towards the overall plot. I also didn’t really care for Isabella or Mariette’s involvement in the story, though their ostracization of her did play into the theme of Sara being alone. Still, the plot had plenty of highlights and managed to end on a relatively happy note, so I’d say that this was a good one-season show to follow.
And finally, for those who may be wondering, Soukou no Strain will be replaced in WOWOW’s schedule by Rocket Girls starting next week.