「空の音・夢ノ彼方」 (Sora no Oto – Yume no Kanata)
“Sound of the Sky – Beyond the Dream”
What better way to mark the end of the third Anime no Chikara series than with the second bonus episode of their first one. Unlike episode 7.5, this latest one takes place at the end of the series, after the ceasefire was called between Helvetia and the Roman Empire. As seen in the final episode of the series run way back in March, Rio is back at the base with the rest of the girls as per her special request to the Roman Emperor she’s engaged to, and it’s like nothing has changed at all with the girls “playing” war again. In Kanata’s case, she’s now the designated trumpet girl every morning, which is nothing compared to the way she calmed an entire battlefield with Amazing Grace, but still not good enough to get Mishio off her back about not having any sort of a dream in life. Subsequently, most of the episode revolved around Kanata’s search for one, which was cute in that slice of life kind of way, but not nearly as enjoyable as the girls playing war and Noel whipping out her Gatling gun-equipped push cart. Oh how I loved that push cart and the melodramatic deaths. In comparison, one of funnier moment came from Kanata’s horrible driving and inability to keep her eyes on the road that Yumina almost feel victim to in the passenger’s seat.
Clearly, the lighthearted side wasn’t what they were going for this time around. What was surprising though is how the legend of the fire maidens was brought up again, in addition to Rio’s belief that the world seems to be slowly dying and that humans can’t afford to be fighting among themselves. The latter made it feel like this episode was setting the stage for a continuation where bigger problems need to be addressed, and the map she received from the emperor charting their best understanding of the world seemed to support that idea. Rather than simply leaving us with that depressing feeling with no plans on depicting a resolution, I was happy to see them turn it around as an encouraging outlook on the future when Rio told Kanata of her dream to fly through the skies in an airplane like the ancients did so that she can seek out new thriving lands. In turn, Kanata decided on a dream — to follow Rio in her pursuit of hers — which her senior decided to let her do in hopes that she’ll truly have a dream of her own one day. The sound of that gave off a somewhat strange yet uplifting feel that I wasn’t expecting in this bonus episode. As such, it truly came off as the epilogue it was likely intended to be, particularly with Rio’s monologue at the very end about seizing the future before them. Things came full circle as well, with a whole year passing since Kanata’s arrival, who now has the unfortunate honor of taking on the fire maiden role at the water festival.
Overall, this was a nice, proper conclusion to the series that made up for the somewhat abrupt ending in episode twelve. As for some tidbits, I found it interesting how Japanese is seen as a lost language to them, yet the use of Shinto ema managed to survive as part of some old religion. There was also Seiya’s ema wishing to marry Kanata one day, which was kind of cute because she didn’t really know how to react to it in front of Yumina aside from saying she’s honored. Other than that, I don’t recall ever hearing that Carl from the glass factory had a fling with Naomi from the glassware shop at some point and gave birth to Maria as a result, but it was pretty funny to see the latter take pride in being a love child. Lastly, the absolute funniest moment came from none other than Noel herself, when she started tearing up up on the spot because Kanata and Kureha weren’t receptive to her ema wishing to be a cute wife. Are they crazy!? Noel’s adorable! Those animals.