Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou – 11
「少女たちの最終決戦」 (Shoujo-tachi no Saishuu Kessen)
“The Girls’ Final Battle”
Despite how this series has been all over the map in recent episodes as it tries to tie up loose-ends as quickly as it keeps introducing new subplots, it still handles the actual screenplay fairly well. At least, that was my impression of seeing Lily stand up to Eiko’s corruption and calling her out for killing her own father before attacking her head-on even in the face of Junko and her Iga ninjas. In addition, the rather unimportant introduction CIMO8′s Rubber to the series did make for a nice entrance by Michie to save the day and allowed her to team up with Fujiko to eventually take him out. On the more climactic side of things, Lily unleashing her ultimate technique on Two V’s puppet body and Junko declaring that she’s going to be true to her heart and drawing the Sword of Sohaya to take it to Eiko were exciting moments. Basically any time they bust out a background track such as the remixed version of the opening theme REALIFE:REALOVE, I’ve felt that the series has delivered well in terms of providing a gratifying end result. Some are very cliché and predictable, but objectively speaking I find they’re done well.
The only problem (and it’s a big one) is how the build-up towards these scenes are generally very brief or simply poorly done. Because of that, it really sours the overall impression of the various subplots all together, even if the way they were wrapped up was kind of cool. I went on a bit about how the introduction of the Hattori family treasure last time came off as something new just thrown in our faces, yet here it ended up being one of the highlights of the episode. Granted, it kind of sucked to see Korone step in and save Eiko’s butt in the end and let her off easy with the reappearance of her father in his new Terminator-like body, but everything leading up to her getting the ass-kicking she deserves was exactly what I wanted to see. In a way, I even considered it good fan-service, though obviously not of the ecchi variety. However, as soon I recall the sudden insertion of the Sword of Sohaya last episode as a plot device towards what I just saw, it all comes off feeling rather “cheap”. Frankly, that’s been the main qualm I’ve had with this series, which is a shame because I do feel that all the other ingredients needed to make it a good one are present. A somewhat unusual premise, large cast of characters with distinct personalities, plenty of foreshadowing early on for the main character, above average production values, and a nice balance of action to round things out.
At this point, I don’t really have any expectations anymore going into each of the remaining episodes, but I am curious to see if they’ll make good on the main plot at the very least. The brief glimpse of how the blond version of Keena used to be the demon lord’s lover of sorts and how it was the reason that caused Bouichirou to act like he is now did help pave the way towards the ultimate showdown. Furthermore, Hiroshi’s decision to side with Bouichirou so that he can keep his powers as Brave to rescue Yuuko was pretty believable, even though the abrupt way he decided to do so while trying to protect the school’s chairman was less so. The biggest revelation towards the main overarching plot was Peterhausen explaining that the demon lord is human but appears in the gods’ system every hundred years or so. Hearing that gave me Matrix vibes from how the demon lord is like a round-off error in the system that perpetually surfaces to wreck havoc and try to take it down, but at least it’s good story for that very reason. With the girls out of the picture now, it looks like things will come down to Akuto, Bouichirou, and the gods’ system in the end, but Hiroshi’s still around to throw a wrench in things. For what it’s worth, if they can reach some sort of closure in that regard, it will help redeem the series a bit in my eyes.
* The eyecatch with Lily was a bit too unflattering with her bust size in my opinion. She’s not as flat as a boy in every other scene.