Campione! – 13 (END)
「神殺しの物語」 (Kami Koroshi no Monogatari)
“Tale of the God Slayer”
I’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship with Campione! over its run, but this finale to the series certainly stands as one of the episodes I feel better about. The plot with the two Athena turned out far better than I thought it would’ve and cleanly brought together a number of plot points that the anime had been introducing. The “dark” Athena is revealed to be the avatar of Metis in corporeal form, stemming from the idea that each rogue god has multiple mythological figures tied to them. What’s giving Metis her physical form is the Gorgonion, the divine instrument central to Campione!’s first proper arc, and Metis’s current rampage is the realization of the Prophecy of the Starless Night that had been referred to a number of times across the duration of the show. I probably won’t be the first to admit that a number of these points had completely slipped from my memory until they were brought up here again, but it was nice to unexpectedly see the story come together in this manner. It’s not perfect, no; the explanation of why and how Metis started rampaging gets somewhat lost amidst the chaos of the episode, but with a single episode to wrap things up, I honestly thought they had done a decent job tying these hanging plot threads together while answering most of the important questions.
But the plot feels somewhat secondary to what the episode was really trying to be, a celebration of everything Campione! was, from the battles to the kissing and yes, the show’s favorite Unlimited Golden Swords of Babylon Works. It’s immediately obvious, as it typically is with endings, that the studio splurged on the animation here. The battle between Metis and the gang is a brilliant spectacle, especially since we finally see Godou go mano-a-mano with a god and spam his authorities in an impressively destructive display that see Mount Fuji being taken out as collateral. (And as we learn, it seems like he really can’t do much without the support of his harem) Of course, it wouldn’t be a celebration without Campione!’s now (in)famous kisses, as Godou makes out with each haremette in turns before finishing off with loli goddess Athena, who at this point I should probably count as part of Godou’s harem as well. As always this is accompanied by the golden swords, and while not as eye-popping as some of the stuff we’ve seen before (remember the sword storms and tornados?) it’s still one heck of a spectacle that tops itself off with a badass golden scythe coming from Athena’s kiss.
It’s an entertaining spectacle the final episode serves up, and at the same time it delivers on the things Campione! has done well and right, highlighting and celebrating the aspects which Campione! has succeeded at. I don’t think there could’ve been a more suitable ending for the series.
Looking back on my Campione! posts, I have to admit that I was a tad too harsh on the series over its run. Perhaps it stemmed from me having a different set of expectations after watching the first episode, what with the show’s novel use of mythological figures and factoids as well as those the larger-than-life clashes with gods. Campione! was stuffed with ideas, some brilliant and some not, but still, fantastic ideas that I’ve not seen played elsewhere. The story had a lot of potential to it, and while I personally might not have enjoyed the direction it took itself in, the series still had its moments.
Because for all that’s been said and done by the show, the one thing you can always count on is that it knew how to deliver its simpler moments well, especially where it concerned fanservice and the onscreen action. The fights, when not hampered by exposition to validate Godou’s info-powered swords, was Campione! at its best, typically displaying an impressive mix of fight choreography and showcasing devastatingly destructive power spams. (Godou’s tendency to completely destroy the nearest significant landmark in his fights was a hilarious touch.) And while I’m impartial to fanservice, what the show achieved with the emphasis on its numerous, impressively animated makeout sessions is something only it can attest to, an aspect that has become characteristic of the series. If there’s one thing people are going to take away from finishing this series, odds are this will be it. And really, from time to time, Campione! can provide a decently entertaining watch just for these light moments alone, such as with the incredibly hilarious Liliana romcom episode.
I’m not going to go deep into the flaws here, as I believe I’ve talked excessively on the subject in my previous posts already, especially with the episodes leading up to this finale, and I’m sure most of you aren’t interested in a rehash. Ultimately, Campione!’s undoing was twofold for me: the first was its formulaic approach to storytelling in spite of the rich lore and world it had, choosing a beaten road travelled by many a light-novel fantasy before and churning out a story that feels, for lack of a better word, generic amidst the many teenage fantasy stories we see in anime these days. There’s little that’s uniquely Campione!’s, from characters to developments to the art, the only exceptions being its characteristic brand of fanservice with the kissing, as well as the great musical score which grew plenty on me across the duration of the series, highlighting the epic moments in the show to some truly haunting and chilling effect. (In a good way!) The second was its identity crisis, where its exposition-heavy plot failed to mesh with its action-harem inclinations.
In the end, Campione! won’t be a show people will jump at to recommend. Even when judged against its action-harem peers, its execution is nothing to bring home about, with other shows such as Infinite Stratos being far more consistently entertaining in their unabashed execution. But if you’re an action and harem-genre aficionado who’s looking for something new, you probably will find plenty to love here with the unique take on fanservice and a mildly intriguing storyline that constantly serves up the fights.