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So-Ra-No-Wo-To – 07.5 »« So-Ra-No-Wo-To – 11

So-Ra-No-Wo-To – 12 (END)

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Summary:

After hearing the gunshot and learning that Hopkins’ men have captured Aisha, Filicia decides to take Hopkins himself hostage. She forces Hopkins’ men to leave the fort, and Yumina is able to offer some medical treatment for Aisha’s bullet wound. Hopkins then reveals that he was planning on sacrificing Aisha to start a fight with Rome because he doesn’t believe in peace. He also uses this chance to take a shot at Noel who he calls the witch of Helvetia for her role in reviving a biological weapons plant. Filicia shuts him up with a warning gunshot near his head, and she has Kureha lock him up. Afterward, Yumina tells the girls of how Aisha had earlier explained that the Romans tell of a different legend where the flame maidens protected lives. Kanata believes that this is true, and later while on lookout duty, she hears a horn signal in the distance. She reports to Filicia that it’s a signifies a ceasefire, but before the girls can do anything about it, they find out that Hopkins escaped. Since Hopkins has rejoined his men outside the fort, the girls decide to send Naomi to tell him the news, but he just has her tied up. Hopkins feels that war is what advances culture and science, and he wants to regain the glory that humanity used to have.

Back inside the fort, the girls realize that a battle is coming, but Kanata refuses to give up and wants to go out and relay the signal she heard. Since Noel is still distraught about what she did in the past, a weakened Aisha decides to ease her pain by forgiving her. With Noel now willing, Kureha is unable to oppose them, so the four gives take Aisha and board the Takemikazuchi. Upon seeing the tank climb out of the fort and up the nearby cliffs, Hopkins has his men leave the village to pursue it. As it turns out, the legend tells of how an angel, who had been sent to punish the world, had arrived hurt outside of a western town. The maidens of the fortress had saved this angel and had sheltered it in a valley, and in return, the angel gave them a golden horn. However, the people of the town soon found out about this and set the valley on fire, burning the maidens and beheading the angel. It was then that a huge force of angels appeared in the sky, but the villagers were saved when a sound of the sky caused the angels to leave. The sound that saved them was from the golden horn, blown by the last maiden at the cost of her life.

Filicia and the girls now ride Takemikazuchi towards the battlefield, incapacitating any of Hopkins’ forces that oppose them along the way. They arrive just as both armies are ready to attack, and Kanata tries to play the ceasefire signal. When it doesn’t work, she decides to play Amazing Grace instead, and that succeeds in stopping both forces in their tracks. After Kanata finishes and before the two sides can engage in combat, a third side enters the battlefield: Rio and her royal guard forces. Rio reveals that she’s Rio Kazumiya Arkadia, the fiancee to the Roman emperor, and she has with her the royal decree that ends the conflict. This leads to celebrations on both sides when the men realize that they don’t have to fight, and the girls are happy as well. In the aftermath, winter passes and spring arrives peacefully. Aisha is now back in her own country, but she keeps in touch with Noel through letters. On this particular spring day, the girls are expecting Claus to bring them someone new, however Rio shows up instead. She’s been readmitted to the 1121 Platoon because the Roman emperor is reasonable and granted her this wish after she stopped the war. Overjoyed to hear this, the girls welcome her back.

Epilogue

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I came out of this finale with some fairly strong feelings about it, mostly positive but with a few not-so-positive. I’ll start with the positives. I had of course a lot of fun watching Takemikazuchi in action after all this time, and seeing Filicia ultra-serious for once was nice too. The strongest moments though were the ones that evoked emotion, like when Aisha forgave Noel and when Kanata played Amazing Grace to stop the battle. In the latter case, it wasn’t so much emotional as it was the sheer power of the trumpet playing, like the notes were resonating with your soul – and I’m sure that was the point. I also loved Yumina’s retelling of the legend, and it entranced me the same way Rio’s telling of the legend in the first episode did, probably thanks in part to the fact that both scenes featured the same French insert song. The actual content of the legend was very interesting as well, especially since they leave it up to the audience to guess what really happened (I’m still guessing the angels were aliens).

That brings me to what I wasn’t too thrilled about. There were things like Kureha’s crying scene which I felt was too much drama for the particular moment, but those aren’t worth dawdling on. My main complaint is that the ending was too happy. Both versions of the legend imply some degree of sacrifice by the maidens, and the version Yumina told in particular had a bittersweet ending. The ending here, however, was devoid of that. I think what really got me was Rio’s return in the epilogue. I was okay with the combination of Amazing Grace and Rio ending the conflict since both were solutions that they were building up in past episodes, but I don’t like how how the emperor just let his fiancee return to her old military post. I thought the point was that Rio was giving up her own life by marrying him to ensure peace and save lives, but now that she’s back, there’s no element of sacrifice left. They didn’t need her to return to have a happy ending, and by doing so they made it too happy, in an artificial sort of way.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I still consider So-Ra-No-Wo-To to be a very successful first Anime no Chikara series. I truly appreciate how this was an original work since so many series these days are based on previously established anime, manga, or games, and I really liked the world they crafted here and how they exposed us to it and its history little by little. The character designs were cute but gimmicky and initially made you think that they were going a not-so-serious route of girls-in-pseudo-military-life, however there was actually plenty of drama and war. I’m curious to see what they put on the two DVD/BD extra episodes, but those won’t be out until June 23rd and September 22nd. I’m also looking forward to the next Anime no Chikara series, Senkou no Night Raid, but as you may have read, I won’t be around to blog it unfortunately.

March 23, 2010 at 4:34 am
36 comments »
  • March 23, 2010 at 4:40 amAlec

    ive high expectations for A-1 thx to this anime, I can see what they’re capable of doing right now ….

    The previous build ups were wasted on this episode -_- i thought they’d pull something CRAZY, but they didnt….im a bit dissapointed, but still 2/3 episodes of the anime were phenomenal!

  • March 23, 2010 at 4:50 amAlec

    looking forward to A-1′s sengoku night raid…

    hmmm just realized alot of people sure have stopped visiting here. I really had thought that RC will still be ALIVE (more visitors ) even declaring its own “expiration date” -_-… i guess it didnt. the moment RC announced its “expiration date”, alot of commentators left (prolly busy, searching for anime blogs) .

    i really had thought the Visitors would stick with RC until the end, but they didnt…RC isnt dead yet..yet

  • March 23, 2010 at 4:57 amiamwhoiam

    The part where Kanata plays Amazing Grace kinda reminded me of that scene in Macross Frontier where Ranka stops the firefight by singing.

  • March 23, 2010 at 5:04 amProoof

    forgot if anyone posted this pic yet
    http://tinypic.com/4dukui5h

  • March 23, 2010 at 5:05 amProoof

    my bad correct link: http://i40.tinypic.com/5x1qiw.jpg

  • March 23, 2010 at 5:32 amAlec

    seeing Rio reunite with her platoon was nice, but to the eyes of a critic, that part was totally unnecessary, as it ruins the last part

  • March 23, 2010 at 6:02 amkaineng

    wow a great anime indeed! well those bad points that omni cited aside, the show generally still didn’t really start war (which makes the action of the takemikazuchi cool) and was not all on fighting. more on emotions is great, maybe the flow of the storyline should be improved (like the squad being slack @ the start and playing), but it’s still a great show!

    and the bad news… I’m taking it all well… *ack*

  • March 23, 2010 at 6:45 ambaka~

    I wonder when we’ll be able to see this moe blob style of animation on violence-themed anime. I was actually assuming hard battles and sacrifices and lots of blood spilled in this war-themed anime drawn moe-blob. in the end, we only get to see felicia’s flashback as close to the harsh reality of war but i could never really tell that it was quite vicious. well, for this season’s anime, sora no woto was good but i guess what really nabbed people’s hearts this season was baka to test and durarara! i also think that the moe-blob animation style was appropriate but it would stick better with k-on!

  • March 23, 2010 at 7:05 amKWeng

    i am sad,,,y no war

  • March 23, 2010 at 7:58 amqueenie

    I get that people are sad that they didn’t see any war battles, but come on. Did anyone seriously think that they would switch over like that? I didn’t and I think that that’s why there are people who are mad at this ending then the people who knew things would come out OK.

    I almost cried when Kanata played Amazing Grace. Soooo close, too. And I love the symbolism behind it: that everyone knows the song and it crosses nations and cultures. That’s really what the show was about, I think. And yes, Rio returning was kind of lame when we put the last part of the story along with the legend, but overall it was a great ending to a great series.

  • March 23, 2010 at 7:58 amwhatever 2

    >moe blob style
    please learn something before you post. A-1 did this style first see kannagi. Kyoani stole the style and then bastardized it.

  • March 23, 2010 at 9:06 amIsland Esper

    It was a good ending, I never expected to see an actual blood bath, still Aisha did got shot. I did wanted to see more about Noel and her past even though see wanted to redeem herself by saving more lives than the ones she took. I have my own take on Rio’s ending, that famous emperor was waiting for a waifu for how long? I mean he should already have someone he loves. So Rio’s “engagement” was more a political thing than a physical thing. So he “graciously” let Rio have her wish of returning to the fort. That will make a good start for another season; and see how those peace talk did go. Besides lame or not Rio is only mine and not for that wacko rome emperor. :P

  • March 23, 2010 at 11:59 amDavid Joslin

    Pure, absolute sentiment. All the predictions that the war would be averted were of course born out. Rio’s return at the end is just icing for this sweet point-of-view: only good things can happen, and good things never change. I can’t imagine a second season: the little perfect world can’t get any more perfect.

    Nice of Aisha to forgive Noel. So what? The only forgiveness that matters would come from those who died, since they are the ones actually sinned against, and they can’t forgive anyone. At a certain point the relentless sweetness makes you sick…

    I wish they had done more with the Flame Maidens mythology. That moment in Nausicaa where Nausicaa is revealed to be the fulfillment of the ancient prophecy was very powerful, and we don’t get that payoff in this series. Kanata was going to play her trumpet, and it was going to have its magic effect one way or the other.

    Still, I liked the show. The individual characterization was very well done: I had a strong and clear sense of each of the girls’ personalities. I liked the social world of Sieze (sp?), and the connection to the larger outside world of politics was well worked out, according to the terms of the anime’s political perspective.

  • March 23, 2010 at 12:54 pmewok

    Sugar overdose of over 9000 calories, but it was worth it to see Filicia capturing Hopkins hostage and making him shut up with warning shot, and of course Takemikazuchi in action. Bonus points to Rio for threatening to release her pretorian guard on those who dont comply with stand-down orders. Lives up to the Macross style of ending wars with songs, ne?
    Last one thing, Takemikazuchi was so haxxor compared to those clumsy WW2 era-like tanks… Complete with antigravitation and superconductors… Noel really is genius to make it operate again.
    Loved like subtle hints in former episodes came to fruition, from mentions of last war, ongoing peace talks, the legend of the Flame Maidens, story of boy orphaned due to Invisible Reaper (note how Noel then said to Kanata he was right about soldiers being killers?)

  • March 23, 2010 at 1:53 pmAuroraFlame

    Kureha’s moment hit me kind of hard because I was starting to get annoyed with her militant attitude this late in the game. So, it was kind of emotional to hear her say that she has to play the bad guy because she’s surrounded by airheads, even when it goes against what she really feels.

    This was my favorite series this season. While a longer show would have had more time to delve into the setting and give the characters more development, every character got their chance to shine and questions about the mythology were left to interpretation in a tasteful way. Looking back at the entire run, I’m really surprised by how small a presence Kanata became after episode 5. Outside of 8, she never really ended up being in the spotlight. I kind of wish that we got a little bit more backstory on her part.

  • March 23, 2010 at 1:54 pmAuroraFlame

    The music during the end credits and epilogue was really nice, too.

  • March 23, 2010 at 2:15 pmお化け屋敷の主人

    As expected, nobody died. And the ending is also pretty good, too. That makes me a happy man. Thanks for blogging this series OMIN, and good luck to you.

  • March 23, 2010 at 2:50 pmKyuusei

    Call me a cynic but basically the Roman emperor takes Rio’s chasity and sends her back from where she came? :/

    A prequel OVA/Series chronicling how the world end up the way it did would be awesome.

  • March 23, 2010 at 3:35 pmRockmanshii

    When they told the legend at the same time they fighted I thought they would follow it and everyone would die except Kanata who would play the cease fire but it didn’t happen hopefully for me. I didn’t wanted to see a sad ending today I’m already sad enough since your announcement yesterday lol.

  • March 23, 2010 at 4:39 pmMayuri

    Am I the only one who thought that one screenshot looked a bit like Van from Escaflowne?

  • March 23, 2010 at 4:55 pmimerik

    I ended up really liking this series overall… but I could have done without Rio coming back to the squad. Oh well it’s a small thing compared to the rest of the series.

    Overall I thought the last episode was a lot stronger than I expected.

  • March 23, 2010 at 5:16 pmMike

    Good series overall except a bit of a dissapointment for these last two episode.

    It just they kind of display that the rules and regulation of a military is nothing but a joke.
    Military personal hiding and not reporting an enemy spies, a low ranking officer pulling a gun on a colonel holding him hostage and didn’t get arrested or executed on the spot.

    In reality as soon as the colonel escape, he would have send in his troop into the building and arrest Filicia and the gang, not to mention it wouldn’t even surprise me if they were executed on the spot because during war time, they can’t risk having their own military personal turn against them or waste manpower to lock them up and hold them till military trial later, so best way is just executed them on the spot. So theres no way they would have the time to get into there spider and pwn everyone.

    Let just say all this didn’t happen and they got into their spider and do their things.
    But once everything is over and the war has stop, the colonel would still held Filicia responsible for holding him as a hostage, Rio maybe the Queen and all but it still cannot excuse the action that has been taken by Filicia for holding a high ranking officer hostage. If Filicia lucky she can get out alive with loosing her rank if not she can be trial and executed. A country does not take the act of treason lightly, so seen her at the end without a single scratch just felt out of place.

    Sorry I rant a bit but I just can’t take it when they make the rules inside a military look like a joke.

  • March 23, 2010 at 5:17 pmsamu

    This was very good for the ending of this anime, awesome when you think that it was entirely original with no previous source material to base it on. They used just about every dramatic insert song in the whole series effectively, and the Takemikazuchi can do the job of a hundred of those older tanks, single-handedly changing the tide of any battle. Sure, the ending was a little too perfect, but the idea I got was that the world they’re in has fought war constantly without breaks (the girls were always supposed to be on alert at all times, much like the state Pearl Harbor is in today), not unlike our world, except a previous war with angels (probably aliens who came in peace, but the militants at the time wanted to capture them and their technology) prompted retaliation with the result of humanity and most of the animals (no sea life left)were destroyed.
    This is the instance where THIS TIME, like the flame maidens of the original legend who stopped the war with the Angels, the flame maidens of the present stops a war which was sure to kill almost all the humans left on earth. The “golden horn” of the legend the last surviving flame maiden played with her last breath may have been something like Kanata playing Amazing Grace, but in reality a signal/message detailing their actions (saving the injured Angel and trying to keep it safe)to cease-fire only understandable in the Angel’s language.
    I think the ending where Rio returns(hey you dirty people thinking that the Roman Emperor boinked her and then tossed her back to her old post; the marriage was political to ensure unity of the countries, and the granting of any wish to Rio was serious on the Emperor’s part, but if he did, Noel’s going to have a new playmate come wintertime!) keeps the series open to a season two, and since this is anime original, the people at Anime no Chikara can keep this going if it’s popular enough (like the resurgence of InuYasha). They could have gone the Evangelion route (just about everyone likable DIES), but this was a nice change of pace where it looked hopeless, but a little girl who joined the military not to kill but to learn how to play the trumpet helped stop a war.

  • March 23, 2010 at 5:50 pmOrion

    Kweeb: “i am sad,,,y no war”

    90% of the planet is dead from the Old Era war. The seas themselves are dead. I’d think that would be quite enough war for anyone. :)

  • March 23, 2010 at 9:22 pmmedd

    why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why?
    it just makes me want to off myself, why? You seriously do not know that this blog makes you the omni, without it you will not be yourself, you will hate yourself for this, and will want to turn back but have no courage to face people you dissapointed. Omni, i say its the worst decision in your life.

  • March 23, 2010 at 10:43 pmDavid Joslin

    Orion,

    It’s not a matter of wanting war–no one wants it, except maybe straw-men villains like Hopkins. Rather, for those of us who live in the real world, a world not governed by wish fulfillment, what hope can we have in a story where war is averted by a girl playing “Amazing Grace”? If only that is all it took! It isn’t true. And knowing that, the person watching the episode can only feel amid the sweetness a certain bitterness.

  • March 24, 2010 at 12:33 amHorus

    I actually loved this episode and felt it wrapped up the entire series nicely. If anyone were to be killed, I wished it had been Col. Hopkins. I had predicted a good ending but the first several minutes made me believe otherwise with Aisha getting shot and the seriousness of Filicia in taking her commanding officer hostage. That was a total surprise. Overall, great execution but I would have liked to seen everything else drawn out more. The little “end to all” trump card that was Rio seemed a bit cheesy yet given the light-hearted affair of the whole series I’ll let it pass.

    For the most part, I was up in arms…A happy ending to a cute story. If only there was a second season…but I kind of doubt that since it closed on such a good note. Unless there are those in the military ranks with grievances against the opposing nation and intentions to instigate war like Col. Hopkins, there wouldn’t be anything much to push in terms of the military theme…but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to see more of the girls in their uniforms ^^;

    Someone PLEASE LICENSE this series NOW. I want it on DVD.

    And I also want to know where to get that ED song, the Mandolin solo. Really awesome song. Maybe get the sheet music too…Mandolin…I want to learn that o.o

  • March 24, 2010 at 1:24 amHorus

    On one more note…

    I have never heard German spoken in such a cute manner as when Noel recited Aisha’s letter. The intonation and stress of German makes it seem sharp but Noel’s voice softened the edges so that you don’t really hear it. I thought that was very cute.

  • March 24, 2010 at 5:42 amewok

    @ Mike – didnt you catch it that Colonel was himslf rebelling versus national authorities still conducting peace talks? Himself he would be probably tried for treason after the whole affair ended. Plus he couldn’t seize (no pun intended) the fort because one girl with machine gun would slaughter anyone at the catwalk. Plus, he got all those meddling peace-minded villagers around. He could order troops to shoot them too, but I doubt the troops would follow his order.

  • March 24, 2010 at 12:50 pm@お化け屋敷の主人

    what did you think this was? failblog? did someone die? lol

  • March 24, 2010 at 5:39 pmMike

    I don’t wanna get into it anymore but what the colonel did wouldn’t necessary consider a crime, since he didn’t really fire any kind of shot to cause the fight. All he did was he was trying to rebel against the peace agreement but is more of a conflict between personal interest, more like a debate than any action being taken.
    But the crime that Filicia commited is an actual crime, hiding a spy and holding a high ranking officer hostage, that is an actual crime in any military standard you know.
    A girl with machine gun means nothing when compare to a tank, if the girl won’t let the troop go across and arrest them and start shooting machine guns, what makes you think the colonel would not order his tank to fire a round and destroy the entire building along with anyone inside.

  • March 24, 2010 at 6:32 pmMoo

    note to self: have a decent finale and all previous flaws are completely forgiven.

  • March 24, 2010 at 11:13 pmOrion

    Mike: “But the crime that Filicia commited is an actual crime, hiding a spy and holding a high ranking officer hostage, that is an actual crime in any military standard you know.”

    Heh. Winning tends to paper over flaws and forgive sins. If the girls had held a polka contest that prevented the two sides from going at each other the Helvetian Military College would probably find some way to incorporate that in the army handbook. The Archduke’s goal was to prevent a new war. Tell him that they did it by holding a gun to Col. Hopkins’ head and he’d probably grumble, “Why didn’t they shoot the SOB in the first place? He wouldn’t have been able to give the order to attack!”

  • March 25, 2010 at 11:27 pmRizz Rustbolt

    Yay! I got my wish! They squashed the Demon of Vingt!

  • March 30, 2010 at 4:36 amMrDuck

    yeah, i thought it was a bit TOO happy for me, should have ended at the cease fire, and especially during the second telling and how the tank was being shot at i really thought they would have to sacrifice themselves like the previous maidens….

    Oh well for me it was average, if all the episodes were like the last 2-3 it would have been an awesome series, but the moe-blob let it down a bit.

  • April 1, 2010 at 2:19 pmT.K.

    WOW, probably my favourite show this season. Metal Gear owns as always. The flow was perfect, I thought 12 episodes would feel rushed but heck, the show’s great. Now a hellish wait for the specials…