I hope this director never works in anime again.
What a fucking joke.
This is ridiculous. See, Kana is just as unsatisfied as I am. I knew nothing good could possibly come out of an anime-original ending, but this ended up being far worse than I expected. My main problem is that half the content in this finale was wrong. Objectively, that is. I don’t mean Shirou-wrong, I mean ‘it was not correct’. It directly contradicts the setting established both in previous episodes and in the novels – it’s like this director was a fucking speed reader of the source he was being paid to animate. What’s that, you say? It’s an original ending, so Silver Link can do what they want? Well, no. Not if they completely ruin the consistency within the story. And some of the problems were so glaringly obvious, you’d have to be cutting your nails while watching the episode to miss the fact that they didn’t make sense. Let me give you some examples.
Haunted fought Ouka this episode. Vlad shoots stakes, and it has the capability to unravel magic sequences – any and all creations of magic, basically. Haunted even says that himself. So how the fuck was he deflecting the stakes with Belladone Garden? He also claims that Valhalla is a harbinger of chaos, when that’s not what they want at all. Their goal as an organization is to oppose Inquisition and Ootori Sougetsu. No other consensus exists between the factions in Valhalla – despair is what Haunted wants himself. The worst offender of the Haunted vs Ouka fight was probably how they showed practically none of the actual fighting. All that happens is that the scene cuts to a large shot of the moon, and all we can hear are sound effects of the fighting going on while we stare at a still frame. Fucking faggots.
Next, we have the scene with Takeru and Lapis. I liked this scene up until the eye-catch, and by that I mean it was faithful to the source material up until the eye-catch. ‘Wake up. It’s time for the god-hunt’ was the best thing in the whole episode. What I absolutely hated was how they make various references to the God Hunter fusion being a dangerous process with an ill-advised outcome, then pretend that none of that ever existed because they ran out of airing time. Lapis was not lying, okay? She asks Takeru to give her ‘everything he has’, and to ‘abandon his own humanity’. She meant that. She then ‘seizes the soul of the puppet, Kusanagi Takeru’, and starts fusing it with her own soul. Takeru himself says goodbye to his friends while he can – ‘while he’s still himself’, he says. Haunted laughs at him for having his soul eaten by his own Relic Eater. All of this implies that Takeru and Lapis are now one fused entity, a God Hunter.
But then the last scene completely fucking ignores this! Takeru saves Kiseki, then for some reason he’s perfectly fine again! You can’t go back from fusion! His hair and skin even starts turning azure to match Lapis – what about all that? He looked totally normal at the end there! How can he just cancel God Hunter with no side-effects? It’s been reduced to a convenient power-up! And can his helmet even break? Isn’t his armour supposed to be fused with his skin at this point? In the novels, he does manage to leave God Hunter form but only because he realizes he doesn’t want to kill Kiseki in the end, and rejects Lapis completely. Lapis is completely heartbroken by this, by the way, and Takeru spends most of the next volume trying to win her back.
This brings me to my next point: Kiseki and Hyakki Yakou. What the fuck was that supposed to be? Why did Hyakki disappear all of a sudden? What happened to it being in a frenzy and needing all its overflowing parts to be killed? Kiseki wants to die. She isn’t supposed to argue with Hyakki at all, because she is Hyakki at this point. She doesn’t have the mental strength to go against it any more, and her true desire is still to die. The really heretical part was when Takeru just casually walked right inside the mass of flesh. He can’t do that! Wasn’t it the case that anything it touches becomes a part of Kiseki? They’ve said that so many times, he can’t just dive inside and pull her out! Did this director skim read the novels then make up his own shitty fanfiction?
I don’t need to be a light novel reader to realize that the events of this final episode were totally inconsistent with everything. Let’s face it, Silver Link didn’t even try. I bet the employees who did Rakudai were all away from the office drinking to celebrate their success, and the remaining key animators took their spite out on this episode. What about Kanaria and Orochi? Why even introduce those two characters if Haunted was supposed to be the final boss? In fact, why did they retreat? They fucking want Kiseki! They planned to take her while she was sleeping! Surely swooping in to take her after Hyakki Yakou calmed down would be the best time to do so? Let me tell you, as succinctly as I can, what should have happened.
Kiseki does go berserk, except because of Kyouya severely injuring Takeru and not Haunted. And the 35th Platoon do engage with Hyakki Yakou. Takeru then enters God Hunter form, and decides to end it all by killing Kiseki with his own hands. That scene where he abandons the platoon was supposed to be a lot more emotional, because he does actually leave them at the end of the volume. He’s not supposed to just join them again at the end. Once he reaches Hyakki Yakou, which is afraid of the otherworldly power that God Hunter form has, he fights Kana, who has come to snap him out of God Hunter form by force. Kana is also a user of Soumatou and Double-Edged style, but she easily loses to Takeru. Takeru embraces Kiseki and prepares to kill her, before realizing that he actually doesn’t want to. Even if that’s what Kiseki wants (and she wants that very much) he won’t kill her because he himself doesn’t want her to die. So he breaks the promise, rejects Lapis, and doesn’t fatally harm Kiseki. Orochi arrives, and Takeru is shocked to see that his former master is now one of the Valhalla leaders. Mari, Hayato and Sougetsu also turn up, and Orochi decides to strike a deal with Inquisition: he’ll take Takeru and Mari, and Sougetsu gets to keep Kiseki for now. After a time-skip, Kana wakes Takeru up in Valhalla, and reveals that Valhalla have constructed a massive hidden city full of witches where they can all live without fearing for their lives. The volume ends with the words ‘Welcome to Magic Academy’.
And so, Silver Link ruins Christmas. I had so much hope for this, and I genuinely think the source novels are exciting. Yet, all that remains now is just despair. You win, Haunted.
What a waste of a great setting. And what a waste of great VAs, too. For a simple school battle harem, its VA line-up is honestly incredible – and it benefits from having many great male voices too, which is really rare in these series. Hosoya Yoshimasa was already amazing for Takeru. Yusa Koji (Haunted) and Tsuda Kenjirou (Kurogane Hayato) are both very well-established. Then you have the really big guns, like Koyama Rikiya (Orochi), Miki Shinichiro (Sougetsu) and Nakata Jouji (Vlad). All three are top-tier, having voiced many, many roles – even if you don’t recognize their names, you’ve definitely seen something they’ve been in, for sure. The female voices aren’t any worse, too: Itou Kanae (Mari), Nomizu Iori (Lapis) and Shiraishi Ryoko (Ikaruga) are all well-known. They even brought in freaking Ohara Sayaka just to voice Mephisto for two episodes! And Anzai Chika (Kiseki) is a serious up-and-comer who’ll do very well in the future, as is Ueda Reina (Ouka). It’s an all-star cast… yet the anime itself jobbed so fucking hard.
As for the novels, if you’re in the process of reading them you may have noticed that the fan translator has taken them all off his site. A DCMA has apparently been issued to the French translation of the series, and so he’s pre-empted any potential red tape on his site by taking down his English translations. I’m not going to talk about his decision in length, as ultimately it’s his choice – but you can find PDF and EPUB downloads of all the novels floating around the internet (if you hadn’t saved them already). If you can’t, I may be able to help you out, but do try first as I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be linking people to things that shouldn’t exist.
I’m so glad this is over, honestly. I hope your Christmas was not too badly dampened by this waste of an episode. It won’t get a second season because it’s been one of the worst sellers this season, and I’m happy it won’t. Now nothing else can be ruined. It was basically a repeat of the Prisma Illya nightmare last season, and I’m a hopeful fool for thinking Silver Link got any better in its decision-making right after producing that embarrassment. I hope Silver Link go into administration, and I hope this director never works in anime again.