Where can you start with an episode that so perfectly wraps up a series? Honestly, I’m speechless right now. The chills are still running through my back as we speak, and this truly was a finale for the ages. No matter what you felt about the series’ developments following Five and Lisa, there’s no way you could’ve been disappointed about how things came together, and I’ll remember this episode—and this series—for years to come. It was just that damn good.
Best of all, it was so enjoyable despite the fact that we all saw this coming. We knew Sphinx didn’t intend to get out of this alive. We knew Shibazaki would be the one to find them at the end. We knew Von meant “hope” in Icelandic. I predicted that Sphinx would try to use the nuke in a high altitude explosion. Yet it didn’t matter one bit. Greatness lies within the execution, and it’s clear that the past few episodes—and this one in particular—were executed virtually flawlessly. It was great just to see things be followed through to their ultimate conclusion, and I think the big thing here now isn’t so much a discussion about what happened this episode (they stand for themselves) as it is the speculation that comes from trying to see what (if anything) Watanabe’s trying to say here.
Because the fact is, there’s a lot here that could be construed about the events here and how they happen. This whole incident with Sphinx puts a bulls-eye on the dangers of nuclear weapons + energy—you’ll note how they had to be shut down ASAP and were used as a threat at the very end—and makes you think that there’s a commentary against its usage here, but is that really all there is to this? Couldn’t it be a more scathing commentary on society in general? That we’ve become so accustomed to utilizing and trying to advance our technology that we’ve become oblivious to the simpler things in life? Alternatively, could it be a discussion of how one shouldn’t spend too much time dawdling on the past—instead spending that time looking forward to a hopeful future?
Needless to say, authorial intent here is one of the big questions, and the fact that one won’t ever know unless he says it himself is perhaps the greatest thing this series offered. That’s not to say the story was a slacker—it was pretty darn good despite what I felt to be an improper utilization of Five and Lisa—but more so to say this: Zankyou is something that’s privy to the viewer’s own interpretation. Depending on how you view this series, you could end up at a very different conclusion about the messages this series sends, and it’s nice to point out how this ends up being the case. You could say Watanabe’s pointing towards viewers toward a particular direction, but he never really ever confirms any specific view, and it gives a sort of opening to what could be some in-depth discussion about the topics he broaches. The fact that this all came together to create a finale with a fabulously emotional atmosphere is just an added bonus, and pictures do indeed tell a thousand words.
I mentioned this before, but it still rings true. Ultimately, Zankyou no Terror was a series that one needed to watch and experience for themselves, and although there were some flawed developments, the fact is that there were various episodes here that could not be described with words. Episodes whose established atmospheres kept you in awe and gave you an indication of how good anime could be. Episodes that sent chills down your back and made you remember particular scenes. Episodes filled with the brilliance of Yoko Kanno’s soundtrack—one of this year’s best. It might not have reached the masterpiece level that I wanted it to, but this was still a good to great series, and there are few better compliments I could give.
ED2: 「bless」by Arnór Dan
With this finale comes what’s likely to be the beginning of my hiatus from coverage for at least the fall season (and perhaps the winter season) as I dedicate myself towards making sure my first year of full-time work goes smoothly. I will continue to blog the Naruto Manga and work on the occasional post (introductions, previews, best of anime etc.), but I won’t be covering any weekly series. As such, I would just like to take a moment to thank everyone here reading this and those of you that have followed me since before Zankyou and ALDNOAH.ZERO (I sure got lucky with my picks this season didn’t I?). Random Curiosity wouldn’t be what it is without the support of those of you out there, and I hope that you continue to support us as we temporarily transition (some of you may have already heard that Zanibas and Enzo are also going on hiatus for the fall) to a new core group of writers headed by the newcomers in Passerby and Samu, whom have already proven themselves to be great additions to the site. It’s been a blast and I’ll see you guys around. Thank you for reading! (And don’t forget to spread the word! We always welcome new viewers!)
*Oh yeah, if you’re ever bored, I made one of those ask.fm things everyone’s been doing.