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Hiiro no Kakera: Dai Ni Shou – 01 »« Hiiro no Kakera – 12

Hiiro no Kakera – 13 (END)

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「鬼斬丸の力」 (Onikirimaru no Chikara)
“The Onikirimaru’s Power”

With the second season slated for October, how does Hiiro no Kakera‘s first half fare in terms of keeping viewer interest and as a self-contained season? It’s a difficult question to answer – do you look only at the finale to derive a satisfying conclusion or do you look at the sum of all the parts?

In terms of plot, the season finale received a much-needed boost in its engines and managed to resolve the main conflict that has been present throughout the series – I may not exactly love how they got there, but in terms of conclusions, the issue of the Onikirimaru has been resolved well enough that the season ends on a high note, but the door is open for the issue to be revisited in the second season if there are no new conflicts to take its place. A new obstacle for the protagonists to face might be nice, but the Onikirimaru storyline might be a better alternative for the sake of consistency. I do think there are plenty of material left for the producers to harvest a plot for the second season, especially if they continue at the pace of the first half. It would be wise for them to give plot progression a little more attention next time though as it still remains Hiiro‘s weakest link.

Unfortunately, the finale does expose a lot of that weakness in plot – there are no glaring gaps in logic per se, but the episode does need a little bit of suspension of belief to digest everything. It’s mainly an issue with how fast the conflict hits the cast and is resolved. The Onikirimaru’s seal breaking and Tamaki awakening as the Tamayori Princess have been the core conflicts that the show has been exploring for the better part of its thirteen-episode run. For such important components of the story, more care should have been given to make sure it got the developments it fully deserved. My biggest gripe will have to be the abrupt, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment of Tamaki finally becoming the Tamayori Princess – I was extremely happy she finally became the legendary figure, but it happened in such a nondescript way I can’t help but feel a little jilted. Grandma’s sudden appearance doesn’t help matters, because where has she been this whole series? She has been a completely peripheral character, which I wouldn’t mind as much had she not actively blocked the progression of the story for the majority of the series; I’ve said this before many times, but I feel it’s an issue that needs to be revisited. Obstacles to complicate matters for the protagonists are perfectly fine – even welcomed. But when that obstacle gets to a point where it becomes a complete roadblock, it really drags the story down unnecessarily. I feel this was Hiiro no Kakera‘s biggest problem when it came to the slow pacing and lack of forward movement; you can have all the willing characters in the world, but when you don’t have the proper means to use them, something falls a little flat.

The build-up to the final conflict has been fantastic though, with Tamaki proving her worth every step of the way and Takuma facing his inner demons; it will always remain my favorite part of Hiiro – sometimes it’s more about the journey and not its destination. And the journey certainly has been a little gem – there wasn’t a moment where empathy was lost.

When you polish that gem a little, you have the real ingredients for a successful finale. The characters are a real delight as always and even though there were some instances of plot-induced behavior, they still retained the charm that first drew me into their world. Hiiro no Kakera is at its best when it allows its cast to take the spotlight, so it’s no surprise that my favorite portions of the finale were the moments that involved Tamaki and her fight to save Takuma from himself, as well as all the Guardians rallying around them. They’re the glue that ties the show together and I’m glad the producers realize their value – each cast member is utilized to their fullest and none of them feel like the cardboard cutouts that they could have so easily become. Studio DEEN fully deserves some credit giving movement to these characters, so props!

Like I said, the finale managed to conclude the first half of Hiiro no Kakera in a manner that leaves the door open for the second season while also giving enough of a resolution to keep things self-contained. It’s not an easy thing to do, and while I do have my gripes, at the end of the day it doesn’t worry me as much because there’s a second season. I know the producers have the time to answer some of the questions that went unanswered, such as the full extent of Masataka and Ryou’s involvement. Even though they brought out some new developments that piqued my interest (most notably the collection of images the Onikirimaru showed everyone upon its unsealing), it doesn’t feel as tacked on and rushed as it could have been since I fully expect it to be fleshed out upon the show’s return in October.

For now though, I’m content with the final shot of the episode. It’s a perfect snapshot of the show’s winning charm and what better way to conclude the season than to show the audience the characters they’ve been rooting for?

Full-length images: 1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 16, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 30, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 41.

Epilogue:

Hiiro no Kakera   13   43 Hiiro no Kakera   13   44 Hiiro no Kakera   13   45

Final Impressions:

Admittedly, Hiiro no Kakera was probably not very high on anyone’s watch list. It’s born of a very niche genre peppered with some disappointing adaptations, so it’s no surprise expectations for this spin on Otomate’s game were low to non-existent. But honestly, Hiiro surprised me almost every week – while flawed, the show had the ability to showcase its strengths so that its weaknesses were mostly overshadowed by the dynamic cast and the interactions between them. Each episode felt confident and while the pacing did feel a tad too slow, there was never really a moment I questioned its direction. To me, nonsensical or frustrating developments don’t matter as long as they feel organic to the story – I want to know that the producers are confident in their work, that they know where their work is going. That sense of confidence and certainty is important for viewers since it establishes a sense of trust; the producers and writers are fully in control of their work, so the audience can rest assured as the story unfolds. And aside from that issue with Grandma, I felt plenty assured that Studio DEEN knew what it was doing with the series. They knew what its weakness and strengths were, and Hiiro no Kakera never tried to be more than what it was, or to be what it wasn’t.

The season was a fun ride for me and it was a pleasure blogging the first season. I’m definitely looking forward to the second half in October – if Studio DEEN keeps up the charming character interactions and mix it with a slightly faster plot progression, they have a pretty good adaptation on their hands. Since this is only the end to the first season, I’ll keep my final impressions brief and save all the tl;dr for when the series actually ends! Thank you to all the readers who stuck around with me throughout my coverage – you have my deepest thanks! It was a treat reading all the positive comments and seeing that people enjoyed the show as much as I did. Hopefully we’ll meet each other again in October… so until then, bye everyone!

June 25, 2012 at 7:54 pm
15 comments »
  • June 25, 2012 at 8:26 pmJenanime4eva

    The Tamaki/Takuma shippiness levels were over 9000 this episode. Brilliant! :)

    Looking forward to when this series returns in October :D.

  • June 25, 2012 at 8:34 pmAni_BEE

    This series has been fun to watch but if it had aired in North American it would have been canceled for sure. then ending leaves alot of questions set up but the lack of any tention or a cliffhanger for the second season is what bothers me, the series feels finished to me as it stands.

  • June 25, 2012 at 9:41 pmrandom viewer

    I don’t think Tamaki has truly awakened yet; the other guardians don’t seem stronger. And yes I feel that those questions that linger (like “what happens to the sword now?” and “who is going to betray Tamaki?”) needs some answers before I can really criticize how good this anime is. I feel that many of the viewers here at Random Curiosity had enjoyed the show for the most parts, and as said in the post review for its strengths and weaknesses together. So overall, I’ll just have to wait for the second season (such good news) to enjoy the show again.

    • July 2, 2012 at 10:00 pmpatacake

      I have read it somewhere that Shinji Inukai is the adopted son of the Inukai family. Is he going t betray Tamaki? The guy in green hair – Ryou Kutani is actually one of the original 5 guardians. Hope the second season can provide us with more answers.

  • June 25, 2012 at 11:59 pmKagura

    Am I the one that want to kill that baba? what keeps me moving on next season is my oni, Takuma. Studio DEEN u better make improvement until this october ^^ BAKAMOCHI, I will stay faithful to your essays till the next season ^^

    • June 26, 2012 at 12:22 amJenanime4eva

      I think most viewers probably want to whack Grandma Useless on the head with a frying pan at this point in time XD.

    • June 28, 2012 at 1:17 amBakaMochi

      Thank you! ;___;

      Hopefully DEEN can focus on Hiiro and not blow their budget on other shows lolll.

  • June 26, 2012 at 2:53 ammac65

    I loved the opening theme for this series.

    So, the bad thing has finally happened, and it turned out to be a good thing.
    So why were they so desperate to keep the seal if releasing what the seal
    protected (was it the sword?) was the power the group needed? I’m confused…

    Did I mention I loved the opening theme?

    BakaMochi, I enjoyed your coverage and look forward to your future coverage of this series.

  • June 26, 2012 at 7:34 amStereoman

    Aww, I expected 45 full-lengths. :[
    Jk jk

    I enjoyed this show more than any other reverse harem anime I’ve ever seen. It must be because Tamaki was such a great character…

    Awesome post, Mochi! \o/ Thanks for covering this!

    • June 28, 2012 at 1:18 amBakaMochi

      LOL. Nothing can top the GC finale! Although… KuroBasu just might… orz

      And yeah, Tamaki = <3. I think she’s one of the better heroines Otomate put out? Not really sure, but that’s the impression I get lol.

      • August 10, 2012 at 10:59 amanon

        Tamaki is awesome. She’s got spunk! (I like her way better than Chizuru LOL)

  • June 26, 2012 at 12:35 pmAutumn The Cuzzy

    Very well done ending to a surprisingly well-adapted anime. Color me surprised though, my prediction for last time did not come to pass. I guess they’ll save it for the second season Show Spoiler ▼

  • July 4, 2012 at 9:34 pmKarmafan

    This series was definately a snoozefest. Things moved at such an exciting pace, almost as exciting as watching paint dry. After watching this series for 7-9 episodes waiting for the series to take off I stuck with it to the end hoping it got better.

  • August 10, 2012 at 10:56 amanon

    Thank you for the great reviews! I agree with you and also think the relationships between the characters are Hiiro’s strongest points. Tamaki is such a fun heroine and the guys are all interesting in their own way. As for plot development, yes it’s a bit slow especially with Grandma being “missing” all the time, but if my hunch is correct (that they’re adapting the story mainly from Takuma’s route in the original game but with changes that incorporate the other characters’ routes), there’s a reason for it. The same thing with the mystery behind Ryou and Ashiya. Hopefully the Season 2 plot will move faster now that they’ve gotten the basics down. Also I hope to see all the loose ends (Tamaki’s recurring dream, etc.) tied up.

    • August 10, 2012 at 11:01 amanon

      Oh and hopefully they’ll explain why Aria keeps calling Tamaki “Sybil”. It still confuses the heck outta me…