A message from Kate to everyone in the Jananda Arc:
It would be hard to overstate how much I came to hate this arc and almost everyone in it it by the end. I loathe it to an irrational degree – and that’s taking into account that I loathe it rationally too. It’s much more annoying when shows which have proved they can be great are mediocre, because we have a full sense of the potential not being realized. I know – rationally – that this arc was exactly the same length as the previous one. But it felt like it lasted a century.
Having Gugu play such a major role here was just salt in the wound, really. And you just knew that Tonari would walk away from this, while all the other main arc protagonists died. Not only that, but the writing was extremely clumsy in making Sander (be honest – would you even know his name without looking it up?) such a major player in the final episode. Where was any – any – characterisation for him in the previous five eps? It wasn’t like this in the first two arcs, which really calls out just how weirdly sloppy this one was.
When Tonari said “it was my fault”, that was the first moment in this episode where I was fully on-board. After that things got all cattywampus again, though. It’s hard to justify Fushi’s hesitation in putting the three zombie children to rest, first of all, after he’s just Gugu’d all the other zombies to yakitori. And then the physics of that moment when Tonari – being held out over a flaming abyss by Hayase – somehow manages to pull her off the ledge. Just how does that work, exactly? Let them fall, Man, for the love of God…
The larger issue of Fushi’s existence is explored in an interesting way, admittedly. From Hayase’s demented perspective I can see that what she’s offering him makes sense – let him stay pure and be his spear. It’s perhaps a little anti-climactic for her whole raison d’être to have been that she’s in love with him, but who’s to say it’s not possible? Even more insidious is her plea with Fushi to kill her and take her into his arsenal – she’s right, she’s a powerful potential weapon. But I can see where Fushi wouldn’t want Hayase inside him (even if that doesn’t cut both ways).
There is a fundamental contradiction to Fushi’s existence that this dreary arc does manage to call attention to in intriguing ways. What is his role in the world – not as his creator defines it, but he himself? He has his ideals and he’s entitled to them, but by sparing Hayase’s life in the past he’s already caused multiple deaths of people close to him (and having a Nokker seemingly bail him out here would be trying to have it both ways). He’s not a pacifist, clearly – he’ll fight and kill, as long as what he’s killing isn’t human. But what purpose does he want to serve? Maybe in the end it’s nothing more or less than learning to be the best human analog he can be, but he’s clearly not reached that decision yet.
Needless to say, these are questions the manga surely explores further. And while we’ve passed the point where I have knowledge of the source material, I can only guess that much of what to comes is more elegantly executed than this arc was. The question, with next week being the finale, is whether that exploration will happen in anime form (I would say the odds are against it). It’s not too hard to guess how things might end next week, and it seems as if that would be a fitting bookend to how they started. And it would certainly ease the sting of the past several weeks if Fumetsu went out with a reminder of just how much it’s capable of.