「こころの光」 (Kokoro no Hikari)
“The Light of the Heart”
This finale caught me emotionally off-guard when I least expected it and made the entire two seasons so much better because of it. I have a real soft spot for those who pour all their heart into what they believe in and try their earnest to see it through, so once Noir entrusted his Gymnopedies to Lag and the latter showed to the world that he’s the embodiment of a second artificial sun, I couldn’t help but get a little teary-eyed. In the back of my mind, I was pretty convinced that Noir would survive his injuries, which made it a lot easier to take the sight of Aria breaking down when it looked like he had passed away.
After I was completely drawn in by the mesmerizing spectacle of Lag literally pouring his heart out to attract Cabernet back to Yuusari Central, the destruction of the giant Gaichuu happened almost too quickly. There wasn’t any sort of a fight as Lag finished it off convincingly with his dual heart bullet guns, but I don’t think I would’ve had it any other way. The reason being, I was really looking forward to seeing all the loose ends wrapped up in some semi-conclusive manner. The massive multi-angle explosion was more than enough to stress the scale of taking down Cabernet.
Naturally, the driving plot surrounding Lag’s search for Gauche was the most important thing I wanted to see. I would’ve figured that there would be a bittersweetness to Noir’s departure, but there really wasn’t after learning that he has a new outlook on life living with those who couldn’t become a spirit. Even without Gauche’s memories, the two of them parted on very good terms and formed a “new” friendship while confirming that this wasn’t a final goodbye. It was still sad to see Noir go, particularly for Sylvette and Aria, but I don’t think I could have asked for a better ending given the circumstances. I dare say I even like this intermediate conclusion, which was the culmination of a year-long fifty episodes.
What I wasn’t expected was the extra bit of hope interjected during the epilogue, where Thunderland has been making some significant progress restoring Sunny’s heart. She didn’t have her all her memories, but she was very much “alive” again. She was cheerful and full of emotions, which not only led to a very uplifting ending for Connor, but also opened the door to potentially restoring Gauche’s memories if he so desired. The subtle inclusion went a long way in making this a very good ending, and got me excited about the prospect of seeing a third season where Thunderland’s research is an ongoing subplot.
The final scenes showing how life goes on for Lag, Niche, and Sylvette with much more peace of mind were probably a given, though I don’t think I would’ve been as happy with this ending if it were left out for whatever reason. It’s been fifty episodes after all, with this second season completely invested in Reverse’s involvement, so visual confirmation that something was accomplished even when little has changed is very much appreciated. The last shot with Lag happily delivering a letter was when it really hit me on how I’m a bit sad to see this series end. I can’t say I was every really looking forward to the show on a weekly basis, but it’s been such a part of my anime routine for the past six months that there’s going to be noticeable emptiness now that it’s gone. Deep-down inside, I probably love this series a lot more than even I realize. The characters, the surreal world, and the hopeful story that it portrays. Tegami Bachi is definitely one of the few series that has a positive influence on its audiences, which I really can’t say about a lot of anime these days.