“TO BE CONTINUED”
I have to be honest, the animation in this final episode really went off, character models were on point for most if not all of the episode, the CGi was still present of course, but the episode moved so fast there was little time to think about how bad it might look. There were other standout moments that registered in my mind as being technically challenging, so I’ll give it praise for that. However, the story leaves way too much to be desired. And at the same time, I did feel something from this final episode, I’m just not sure what it was. There was little to no time for us to actually dwell on said emotions.
Memenpuu all but abandons the idea that Gagumber will come for her since she now has learned the truth, so she despairs. But Gagumber does show up and gives her an important speech, I think she was unsure of what the future held now, for the first time she couldn’t see the end goal, the situation was out of her hands. They’re family through and through, it doesn’t matter if they’re not blood-related, they’re still going to be together no matter what happens. I really like that a lot. Found family is still family after all. Gagumber might be a deadbeat dad, but he’s not heartless. So of course he was going to go and save Memenpuu, he had to.
On the other hand, a lot of character growth was chucked into this one episode, there’s a testament to Sakugan here, as I’ve said many times before. Why did it take two whole acts for characters to grow, or at least push back against that growth? As Gagumber did by escaping into booze. The call of adventure rings and characters must either embrace it or push back against it. This usually happens at the end of Act 1. So I’m confused as to why the production team decided to leave it as is. Nevertheless, I have written in-depth about this topic, and at this point, I’m just a broken record, so I’ll stop there for now, or will I?
As an exercise it was fun writing and dissecting these characters, Sakugan is a clear-cut example as to how exactly not to adapt a book into a tv series. Sometimes changes have to be done to move the story around so that beats happen when they are supposed to. I don’t know… We’ve reached the end, so asking what could have been is feeling rather meaningless at this point. Take the feedback and move on to the next project, try to do better next time, at least that’s what I would have done.
Sakugan is different, its story is unique and interesting, it has a compelling world, and the characters are enjoyable, but there’s this push back against exploring their flaws and desires. Everyone in Sakugan has their own agenda and needs to do what they want to do, it’s not until a terror group comes along and stirs up their lives that they are now pressed to do something about it. Why does it take an evil organization for Gagumber to man up and go save Memenpuu? It just gives an overall sense of laziness and characters being underdeveloped.
For now, let’s try and shine a positive light on the things that make Sakugan an enjoyable watch. First of all watching this casually is a great time, not thinking too much about why this character did that and why this character did this. Is a great time, but start thinking too hard about the inner workings and logic behind the show, especially when it comes to characterization and it starts breaking apart. The relationship between Gagumber and Memenpuu is kinda great, even if now we finally know they’re not related by blood and thus their disparaging differences are made clear. The father-daughter thing they have going on is a warm change and definitely, a welcomed breath of fresh air, even if its execution on their relationship is lacking. So many things could have been avoided if this character just listened to what the other character had to say without any prejudice or inflated egos getting involved. It’s just that – the drama this two create feels cheap. And that’s what I think the show boils down to. The drama created by the characters, the conflict, and their inevitable resolution is superficial at best in Sakugan. Most of the time internal conflict gets glossed over and when Gagumber has his feelings hurt he runs off and hides in the alcohol. He doesn’t have the emotional maturity to deal with Memenpuu in a way that will be beneficial for both.
And now I feel like I’m talking out of my ass, but that’s most of the case when trying to reflect and point out why a specific show has so much potential, yet it doesn’t manage to reach it. Sakugan could have been a show about a father-daughter exploring a labyrinth, instead, it tries to fit way too many things into the plot and stuff itself with conflicts and overarching plotlines, it doesn’t really ever manage to close any of them with a satisfying conclusion. And when it tries, it feels rushed without any proper resolution to the problem it has created. When I say rushed I mean the pacing, and not the product itself.
And well those are my final thoughts on this show, many repeated feelings from before, except this time it had shiny animation. But just because you tried your hardest at the end, doesn’t mean you can save a show without any proper buildup in both its story and its characters.
Oh and one more thing, I believe the not at the end was meant as a This is not the END type of thing, rather than This will not continue type of deal. At least that’s how I’m interpreting it.