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Shichisei no Subaru – 12 (END)

「新たなる伝説」 (Arata naru densetsu)
“The New Legend”

Well I guess that’s it then. No real surprises for SnS in this week’s finale, as Haruto survived, Asahi returned to normal, and one new (old?) pairing was gently—if firmly—established as the next big romantic thing. Or just another finger in the eye of Satsuki’s hopes and dreams, but the poor girl doesn’t need any more poking and prodding on that front. Likewise any chance of finding out the where and what of Asahi’s real life situation was naturally avoided for the sake of “read the light novel” marketing, and Elicia, while finally introduced, still has no bloody explanation. Not the most exciting of conclusions given all the mysteries flying about mind you, but when things could have ended with another cliffhanger, it’s kind of hard complaining too much.

After all sometimes all you need is a happy ending.

Final Impressions

Oh SnS, where to even begin. I cannot deny when this season started this was one show I was looking forward to, an isekai in the vein of SAO with a story that screamed .hack//SIGN (and oh boy do I love .hack//SIGN). It was a good mix of many ubiquitous (read: cliché) components, and yet, ever so gradually, SnS just never went anywhere, revealing a show not so much disastrous as simply boring. Downright boring.

The main issue SnS arguably suffered from was its world building. While the show had the game world and all its necessary pieces, very few occasions were ever devoted to explaining the presence or purpose of them. Just what were the guilds here for, what were they after, or why should we care? How does the Sense system actually work, what determines the power one receives, and how does synergy between abilities function? And don’t even get me started on the enemies and their utter lack of any rhyme or reason. No one expects every little, minute detail to be laboriously fleshed out and catalogued of course, but there must be enough to provide some form of importance and mass to the actions and intentions of the main cast. Without certain details enemies become little more than window dressing, settings a simple change of scenery, and everything becomes open to questions a few snippets of info could have easily done away with.

The irony though of SnS’s choices in world building is that they are not deleterious outside of isolation. SAO and .hack//SIGN for example (especially the latter) featured barebones game worlds of their own, with many key details lacking or simply never touched upon. The difference is both these series made up for world building with (subjectively) good stories which built upon the modest foundation of their settings. We never had to ask for the motivations of Kirito’s enemies after all, never once had to question the reason so many chose to help Tsukasa. These important elements were dropped or discussed when the moment was right, ensuring other weaker facets of their respective stories were papered over before too many questions were asked. SnS however rarely did this, trying to let its characters and their opponents stand without any of the supports required to actively make them interesting or engaging. As a result whenever a new detail or enemy emerged it became a weird mix of confusion and indifference, just another thing we all knew would either not be explained, or killed off/made superfluous before the day was done. Settings and world building can be overdone at times (see Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei), but SnS is a prime example showing what happens when you neglect that aspect too much overall.

In the end however I cannot say I’m too disappointed with the time I spent covering SnS. For all the issues plaguing this show it was still fun to watch every week (if only for one reason), and while not one I’ll probably return to anytime soon, it’s one to keep as a good comparison for future series, isekai in particular. SnS shows very well that a story is not made by its premise alone, that no number of “essential” genre tropes and character archetypes can make up for the details needed to give a story legs. Without that information, without that detail, even the most ingenious of stories will fall far from the heights they eagerly aspire to. It’s an important lesson to all future challengers, isekai or not: make sure you put some thought into the story world at large, or the consequences will overshadow everything else you do.

September 21, 2018 at 12:05 pm
11 comments »
  • September 21, 2018 at 4:28 pmruicarlov

    Somehow I got the impression Elicia was logging in from a different time. At least the news on the background made it seem like something detached from the show’s present time….

    But what? How? Why? I have so many questiooooooons!…..

    • September 22, 2018 at 8:01 amJeffers

      some theories: 1. probably elicia is playing in an alternate world where she is a part of subaru and uses her sense to login herself into the main timeline. remember what those in gnosis said? alterworld. and that tells a lot. 2. elicia’s world is probably a result of asahi’s sense which explains the news that doesnt connect to haruto’s timeline thus alternate world.

      the LN is still ongoing and while we have a lot of questions, like why asahi is in the game and where is her body (and who are those besides the leader of gnosis in OP which i assumed one of them is clive because of some minute similarities), i dont think this will receive a season 2 to cover that… most reviews are pretty low which may affect sales.

      • September 22, 2018 at 8:53 amPancakes

        Yeah a second season is not likely I think, I haven’t seen much suggesting a good deal of popularity of late, particularly after the first few weeks. Never know what the future holds though, we’ve had stranger series receive surprise sequels :P

      • September 22, 2018 at 11:15 amLyfe

        Reactions outside of Japan are a poor indication of a series popularity where it counts, Japan. One Punch Man was hyped to death in the US & Europe yet Overlord more than doubled its sales in Japan. Fafner Exodus was widely ignored outside of Japan yet in Japan it was a massive hit. The Monogatari series are usually some of the best selling shows of the year yet you don’t see much in terms of buzz outside of Japan.

      • September 22, 2018 at 1:47 pmPancakes

        It’s not just foreign audiences though, IIRC the sales haven’t been great for SnS in Japan either, and we all know that’s a big tell when it comes to sequel chances (at least those not already scheduled beforehand).

      • September 22, 2018 at 2:22 pmLyfe

        Fair point, the show isn’t a hit, but few things have been lately. It’s also not out yet to buy, though from the looks of things the pre orders are kinda weak.

  • September 21, 2018 at 11:47 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

  • September 22, 2018 at 9:31 amPurpleBomber

    I’ll call it a small mercy that we don’t have to watch Haruto make Satsuki miserable any further than he already has.

  • September 22, 2018 at 10:34 amtheirs

    https://randomc.net/image/Shichisei%20no%20Subaru/Shichisei%20no%20Subaru%20-%2012%20-%2026.jpg
    She’s clearly the best part of this show. Every time I think of dropping this, she somehow saves it. Either by whipping the bad guys, setting the boys straight and finally empathising with Nozomi. It’s like little bread crumbs leading to the end. Especially since they never really resolved the main mystery.

    https://randomc.net/image/Shichisei%20no%20Subaru/Shichisei%20no%20Subaru%20-%2012%20-%2035.jpg
    What a strange photo of the group. Looks like there are two pairings and Clive having a harem.

    Just checked out the logos on Imprezas and it too only has six stars. So what’s up with the seventh star? Seems significant and it looks like six is the normally excepted number for Subaru. Considered invisible doesn’t really explain the why.

  • September 22, 2018 at 6:39 pmRenaSayers

    This episode make me really, really unhappy. I really liked this title but When it comes to the process of ending a story the writers didn’t even do a half ass job or create a cop out; instead what they did was nothing at all. The writer’s left the story on a cliff hanger What the H*. We haven’t been given any explanation as to what Asahi is if she is alive or dead. if the critics wanted to criticize about Anime this will be perfect ammunition along with Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu.

    https://randomc.net/image/Shichisei%20no%20Subaru/Shichisei%20no%20Subaru%20-%2012%20-%2027.jpg

  • September 23, 2018 at 5:51 pmPhrunicus

    It was a good mix of many ubiquitous (read: cliché) components, and yet, ever so gradually, SnS just never went anywhere, revealing a show not so much disastrous as simply boring. Downright boring.

    SnS is a prime example showing what happens when you neglect that aspect [world building] too much overall.

    Thank you. You hit the nail on the head with my feelings for the show. I mean, at least if we’d gotten a little deeper down the path of the central mystery, the skipped world building might’ve felt a little more worth it. But we got 12 episodes of cliche’d drama that led us… nowhere.

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