If there’s one thing I have to say about Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta, it’s how hard it is to get a grasp on it. One week it’ll be filled with hits/misses, another week it’ll be a complete miss, and other times it’ll manage to hit all the right notes. Say what you want about the previous episodes, but this week was definitely more of the hit variety than anything else. In fact, it might be the series’ best episode yet.
It’s been said that there’s a kind of beauty in simplicity, and ultimately, that’s what I feel like this episode (and to an extent, this series) ends up being about. Because despite the adventure backdrop and the whole story we get about The End of the Sky, Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta isn’t so much about those elements as it is just a straight forward love story; one built up on a simple notion that people will inevitably change over time and that sometimes, it’s better being able to forgive than to spend your entire life consumed with hate. What we see this week is our cast finally realizing and accepting this sentiment, and it was just nice seeing Kal-el, Claire, and Ignacio all come to terms with their past in one way or another. Sometimes, you just don’t need fancy plot twists and/or crazy convoluted plot lines and Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta really demonstrates this.
Don’t get me wrong. This series isn’t a masterpiece by any sense of the word—there’s a boatload of issues one could talk about—and some of us may not even remember it given a few years, but the fact is that Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta isn’t bad by any sense of the word. This week’s episode demonstrates exactly why and one needs only look at Kal-el’s singular reply to Claire/Nina as the main reason:
In ways, it’s as simple of a reply as they come. But while it may just be one phrase, it’s also a beautiful representation of how less can sometimes be more. You don’t always need a dramatic speech or some long-winded confession. Words can’t always encompass all the feelings one may have in a given moment, and it’s times like this where only one word (or phrase)—especially if it’s one you never thought you’d say—is all you need. The fact that Kal-el ends up telling Claire to live—him out of all people—makes this scene more powerful than any other phrase or action that could’ve been done here, and it’s just good execution in a series that’s often had its share of faults in this regard.
Needless to say, the aforementioned goes a long way towards fulfilling at least some of the expectations I had for this show, and it feels nice to have the series meet at least some of that before it’s all said and done. That said, it’s interesting to note that there’s a mention of “one last sacrifice” needing to be made, and sadly, what this does is just make it seem less likely than ever that our main pairing will last. There’s been a kind of feeling that their relationship has been star crossed from the start and things are lining up to an ending that will confirm this. As for when the ending’ll come though, it’s interesting to note that next week may not actually be the last episode. Both MAL and ANN only have 12 episodes listed respectively, but the Japanese airing schedule actually lists a 13th untitled episode as the “final” instead. The journey may not be over yet after all.