「LAST DAY – 結実の日曜日 I 」 (Ketsujitsu no Nichiyōbi I)
“LAST DAY – Sunday’s Fruition I”
It’s hard to believe that at the very start of the show, this had been the one moment I was looking forward to the most. Oh, how I had hoped this would become a climatic finale in what might’ve been a truly interesting exploration of mankind’s ideologies, and of the conflict which resulted. How even in the face of the apocalypse, companionship is in scarce supply, and our worst enemies end up being ourselves. But reality falls a damn sight short of those expectations. I’m going to go on a bit of a gamer’s tangent here, so forgive me if I’m losing you anime-only watchers, but this is a point I wanted to address.
Now, at the heart of this climax, in both the game and the anime, was the central conflict between the philosophies of men, the apocalypse serving as the backdrop to this grand clash of ideologies. Arguably much of the narrative, even in the anime, has been focused not so much on the threat of the septentriones, but of the resulting post-septentrione world. There never any doubt the Septentriones were going to be defeated, and that the clash of ideals would bring this show to its close. Yet one never really quite connects to the babble spewed in DeSu2A; ludicrously simple generalizations about the nature of these philosophies and poor character motivations (especially in the case of Yamato’s meritocracy) distills much of the narrative’s potential. But the interesting thing to note here is that I never found the game’s narrative to do this particular aspect any justice either; never willing to fully explore the complexity behind its settings, and the philosopy of its characters. So I was hopeful; hopeful that a linear narrative and a fresh production might fulfilled the promise of these ideas. On hindsight, perhaps my expectations were far too ambitious for the production. Poor narrative decisions and abysmal execution of ideas has been turning DeSu2A into something of a trainwreck, especially in these latest episodes. This one was not exempt; the show was clearly setting the stage for the showdown between Hibiki and Yamato –and what a spectacle it is looking to be- by making its way through the complete elimination the supporting characters, but this is done so in an incredibly ham-fisted manner. Perhaps the most absurd was when Alcor self-destructed in a double suicide move to take out Yamato, only for the JP’s leader to come out of the attack, all sexily disheveled, which demanded quite the suspension of belief.
But I think enough has been said on the failings of the writing and the execution by this point, and I’ll leave the rest of my thoughts on this issue to next week’s final impressions. In any case, this episode did serve up one hell of a spectacle. With the void overtaking the last vestige of the world, the crumbling spacetime made for a visually stunning backdrop as Io and Daichi fought back Yamato’s demons to get Hibiki safely to the transport terminal. It’s a bit of a clichéd setup (especially with Io and Daichi reiterating to HIbiki that only he could do it) to put Yamato and Hibiki together on that final stage, but at least we’re in for a good fight. The question becomes what Hibiki might choose for the world should he win. (And to be honest, that’s the most likely the case) The winner would presumably be able to shape the new world as he wishes; would Hibiki thus return everything to the way it was before the attacks? Keep in mind mankind’s former state was the “decline” that caused Polaris to initiated this trial, and wouldn’t actually solve anything either. In any case, some kind of semi-reset seems to be the most likely outcome; how that can work out, we’ll have to see in the final episode.