「空の果て」 (Sora no Hate)
“The End of the Sky”
The penultimate episode is here and suddenly it’s Isla’s last mission. We got the Sky Clan letting our cast through in exchange for Nina Viento/Claire, and the episode overall turns out pretty interesting in my book. Because for me personally, there’s always been a kind of charm to the Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta universe, and its mythology was one big reason why. There’s something to be said about a world where the countries are separate but the mythology and roots are shared among them all, and it goes without saying that the literal fulfillment of what turns out to be a prophecy of sorts just adds to the intriguing nature of it all.
That said, the thing that ended up first and foremost on my mind was the question of why they had to sacrifice Isla upon reaching The End of the Sky, and it’s probably something that’s on most people’s minds too. After all, it’s quite easy to look at this and wonder why exactly this had to be done in the first place, and one can make a case that it’s nonsensical to just toss away what essentially was their home throughout this entire journey.
It’s times like this where I’d say the symbolism is the name of the game though, and one could say it’s quite representative of the sending off one gets at the end of something significant (such as the reaching of The End of the Sky). Judging things from that perspective, one has to say it ends up quite fitting, because there’s was no turning back anyway, and Holy Levamme Empire seems to have offered them a new place to stay as well. Isla is arguably unnecessary when it’s all said and done, and its sacrifice also serves a dual purpose in allowing them to fulfill the prophecy and freeing them from the shackles that have bound them all this time. Without Isla, there’s nothing linking them to the empire they were exiled from anymore and generally, it’s a new start in more ways than one.
Looking forward, there’s really just one thing left on the menu here, and it’s Kal-el’s promise to get Claire back. As it turns out, their relationship may not end up as star crossed as we thought it would be, and it’d be interesting to see if they actually do end up together without either (or both) of them dying at the end. Either way though, Kal-el’s promise to go to The End of the Sky and back puts a new twist on some classic romance lines—such as “I’ll go all the way to the moon (or the end of the world in other quotes) and back” for you—and it’s an aspect that does make this episode stand out from the rest. The beautiful scenery—odd drops in animation not withstanding—just emphasizes some of the many positive points this episode had, and it really is a pity that they seem to have cut out quite a bit in regards to this adaptation, because there was clearly a lot here that could’ve really brought this series up a notch. Alas. Just one episode remains.