「決戦アキバスター」 (Kessen Akibasutā)
“Battle for Akibastar”
Looking back toward AKB0048’s first season, one of the most notable things for me was how Kawamori managed to up the ante right at the end, forging a dramatic finish that sent chills down my spine and brought out all kinds of emotions. In the end, it just seems like Kawamori’s just gifted with the ability to end series on high notes, and as the end of AKB0048 Next Stage fast approaching, it looks like he’s still got the gift, as it looks like we’ll be in store for quite the ending. And at this point — especially after this insanely awesome episode — all I can say is: “you’re a darn magnificent bastard, Kawamori Shoji.” Because while I expected some pretty epic things to happen this week, none of those expectations didn’t hold a candle to what actually transpired this episode.
Moving right into the episode itself though, let’s just skip everything and just say it: Yuuko steals the stage in style this week. Not only does she end up protecting Akibastar from destruction, she does so after blatantly disobeying orders from Tsubasa, and becomes Center Nova in the process. To say the least, her epic rise to “Position 0” was just that: too epic for words.
I mean gosh darn, I don’t even know how it’s possible to summarize the feelings I had this episode at all. The episode was just skillfully sown together — mixing flashbacks of Yuuko, Acchan, discussions about the history of Akibastar with multiple concerts and a whole load of inserts that have been used previously in key moments to first create an atmosphere of dread and impending doom, then blowing us away with an epic battle whose scale easily eclipses any we’ve seen before hand. Gorgeous attention to detail highlights the Sci-Fi nature of the series — and the experience/skills Kawamori brings — and well, it was just eye candy all through out the episode, which was filled with enough emotional moments to fill one’s quota for the year, and topped off with some superb animation that just adds icing to the proverbial cake. And well, in the end, those are the exact reasons why I’ve made the rare exception of attaching 45 screenshots instead of the normal 36 this week — because a picture’s worth a thousand words and this episode’s undoubtedly worth well more than that.
But yeah, I guess that’s enough about how I felt about the episode, as the rise of Yuuko to Center Nova brings with it both a load of revelations, as well as questions. For one, Yuuko’s opening of “The Gate” answers the question of exactly why Mikako ended up helping Chieri’s father — as it seems as though its opening could lead to the retrieval of the previous Center Nova… including Acchan herself. Incidentally, the opening of the gate ends up being the goal of Chieri’s father as well, who seems intent using this to his advantage himself — though I’m admittedly not sure exactly as to the specifics of what that entails. Ultimately though, all of these developments lead to the same thing though, and that’s the question of “what happens now?”
I’m pretty sure at this point we haven’t seen the last of Yuuko, but at the same time, it looks like she may be out of the picture for a little bit. I’m starting to get the feeling that the ending’s starting to piece together as a result however, as it feels that it’s likely that the future will likely end up with either Chieri and/or Nagisa becoming Center Nova and retrieving not only Yuuko, but some of the past Center Nova as well. Of course, it’s more of a gut feeling more than anything, but yeah… I mean, I guess we’ll see how things work out. Gosh darn, the end of the winter anime season is sure is bringing some spectacular episodes ain’t it?
Inserts: Aitakatta, Rainbow Train. Kaze wa Fuiteiru, Heavy Rotation, Dareka no Tame Ni, Korogaru Ishi Ni Nare.