「世界が君を見つめてる」 (Sekai ga Kun wo Mitsu Meteru)
“The World is Watching You”
The end of Hagure Yuusha’s here and what better way to finish things off than by having Akatsuki choppin’ the dragon in half, Final Fantasy style? Phil finally bites the dust with a little bit of help from Miu and Haruka, and all’s fine and dandy—or is it? Seems like there’s trouble in Alazzard, and Misty’s in a bind. True to his word though, Akatsuki hears her cries and makes his way toward the other world. Not to be left behind though, he’s joined by Miu, the Class Pres, Izumi, and ultimately Haruka and Motoharu too.
And that’s where the series leads off. It’s pretty much the typical “series end” episode that ends the current arc while setting up the foundations for future ones but… in this case, it doesn’t seem like there will be a sequel. There just don’t seem to be enough sales to warrant a continuation, for better and for worse. Like any other series in this position, there’s just the reality that some questions won’t ever be answered, and that’s the case with Hagure Yuusha. It looks like we’ll never actually see how the story ends up, what COCOON’s plans entail and how they’ll play out, or Motoharu’s relation to Scarlet Dusk and their counter to COCOON either—unless of course, you decide to read the source material.
And well, this is exactly why I ended up having mixed emotions at this ending. The episode demonstrated some of the potential of the series, but with it came the reappearance of its flaws as well, as the series just can’t seem to develop things in a proper manner. There’s just that potential there… but also the flaws that offset it too. It just leaves you wondering which part you should be betting on, and it leaves you torn as to whether or not to give it the benefit of the doubt or not. And it goes doubly so when the ending gives you a bunch of reveals and insight into side plots and the future, which were admittedly intriguing. I personally hate leaving things hanging, and as such, part of me really wants to see how the story develops… but I just can’t decide between whether or not a sequel would be worth the time investment, even if they did make one, just because I feel like the flaws would just rear their heads again and offset everything.
Either way, it’s that time of the year again. The time where series start ending and we begin our transition into the next season. Hagure Yuusha’s anime run probably ends here and ultimately leaves a somewhat sour after taste as a series that just hit short of the mark. Final impressions after the new ED sequence animations.
Going into the season, I was admittedly intrigued by Hagure Yuusha no Estetica. The action, magic, and kick ass protagonist screamed potential for me, even with the fanservice element. And with the first few episodes, some of that potential was present. I mean, Akatsuki’s first few appearances screamed atypical hero/protagonist, as he was armed with a plethora of kick-ass skills that few have even at the end of their respective stories. Yet here was Akatsuki, armed with “end game” level powers from the start, and ready to throw the fantasy genre on its head, especially with his perverted antics. Surrounding him were a fairly decent cast of characters, including the daughter of a demon king he defeated (what irony it was!), and a bunch of female magic users too.
However, as the series progressed and the plot started moving on to darker, more serious aspects, Hagure Yuusha began missing the mark. And perhaps, it was not more obvious than when Episode 05 came along. You know, when they spent the entirety of the episode in the mall shopping for lingerie? Yeah, that one. Granted, the fact I disliked this episode was partially my fault for underestimating the sheer amount of fanservice that came from the series and that some viewers seemed to have enjoyed it (especially learning how to put on a bra), the fact remains that you just can’t afford to spend an entire episode on such antics in a one-cour series—especially when you’re trying to attract viewers into your adaptation of a fairly long series that will require viewers to stay on for more than one-cour to really get into things.
But in the end, that was just a rather small miss, and a subjective one as well. The other episodes of the series had a much better balance of fanservice to plot development after all. However, this would ultimately reveal what would be the major problem with this series as a whole: the fact that the positives aspects would be constantly outweighed by the negatives. And the perfect example would come in the now infamous (at least to me) Episode 10, where the creators (for some inexplicable reason) thought that fitting in a climactic fight, character development, and a rematch in the span of 20 minutes would be a great idea. Not only did the rematch end up revealing that both Akatsuki and Phil were holding back the whole time, rendering the first fight pointless (not to mention how anti-climactic it was in the first place), it also made the character development of Miu and her interactions with Akatsuki exceptionally forced. What could have been a great emotional development and a special episode in general, was turned into a disaster, and it was a formula followed in the final two episodes of the series, where great action and potentially great dialogue/development were ruined by improper placement or the act of developing itself. In the case of Episode 10, the end result was an episode that could be summarized as one filled with a malarchy fight, Miu suddenly jumping off a cliff in an emo state, and forced development that garnered no real emotional reaction. A real long cry away from what could have been a darn awesome fight followed by quality, tear-inducing character development.
And yes, I understand a lot of people reading this are probably going: “But you shouldn’t be expecting much from the plot of a series such as this anyway!” And to this, I’d normally say yes. However, Estetica differs in that it shows that there is indeed a deeper plot beneath everything, especially since this final episode hinted a lot at future, major plot points. Furthermore, it had all the factors to make something good out of, which makes it just that much worse that it wasn’t properly developed. In addition, the typical fanservice series only last about one-cour and even then, still have a barebones plot that gets solved. Estetica’s main plot hasn’t really even been revealed up into this point, which indicates its attempt at being a series that is at least partially plot-driven, and thus doesn’t put it into the territory of a “typical fanservice show”. As such, I feel it’s fair game to actually put some expectation into Estetica’s plot, which just didn’t deliver.
Ultimately, Estetica will go down as one of those series that just missed the mark (and by a fair bit). It seems like part of this is at least due to the fact it’s an adaptation, but I have heard it is at least fairly close to the original source material. I have also heard that the future chapters are a far cry better than what has been shown up to this point, but I just don’t see myself wanting to continue the source material to see. There is a chance I will however… just not at this point in time. At least though, the fanservice elements seem to be here for those that want them, but just those elements won’t do (at least for me) when surrounded by a plot that failed to deliver and reach its potential.
And well, that’s about it I suppose. Sadly, the series just didn’t end up the way I expected, and this probably goes similarly for many of you out there. At the very least though, I have to say thanks to everyone reading this for following my coverage to its completion (whoo, second full show completed)… so “Thanks!” And I hope you’ll continue following my coverage of other series in the coming seasons, which will consist of at least Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse, Jormungand 2, and the Naruto Manga in the fall.