We’ve made it guys! We’ve made it to the end of LISTENERS. And boy was it a fitting end for this series – truly only an ending that Echo and Mu could pull off, and overall I’m pretty satisfied with it. I’ll just be talking about the final episode in the first part of this entry, so if you’re looking to see my overall thoughts please check that out in the second half!
LISTENERS has been one heck of a ride since our duo arrived in Londinium. With the revival of Project Freedom, things were looking really grim for Echo and Mu whose initial search for Jimi has instead turned into a quest for liberating the Earless. But you know? In the end, they may not have found Jimi, but they were able to realize his goals and bring them to life, and that alone makes me smile. And it really was only something that could have been accomplished by Echo and Mu – without the relationship that they’ve cultivated throughout this entire series, there’s no doubt that the battle would have ended in absolute tragedy. Without Mu and her experiences with Echo conflicting with her goals as Listeners likely any action that would have been taken to stop her would have been easily stopped with her sheer power. But because Echo is the kind-hearted person that she’s traveled with since her awakening he’s able to break through to her and the Earless and hear what they want to say. Without the two being able to connect, the rest of the Players (and Earless) would have been able to express their feelings and desires to each other and the battle would have no doubt continued for more generations.
My absolute favorite part about this ending was the connections it made to the first episode. It started out with the same scene from episode one where Echo is looking at Jimi, but this time Echo is taking that role and taking on the final battle ready to amplify the feelings of those around him. And when he finally breaks through to Mu and she falls down the hole he’s the one who rescues her by calling out her name and that she’s his Mu. I adored that moment of rescue because when they first met it took Mu saving Echo from his death for him to realize that he didn’t want to stay in Liverchester and that he wanted to experience what the world has and now Echo is able to save her from her death by saving the world together. And seeing the Earless and Humans live together after their grand battle together was really charming! Echo made his way into the Players Encyclopedia and even gathered some fans himself! I loved seeing the Earless boy and the other girl interact in Oasis because it was very reminiscent of Echo and Mu when they first set out on their journey. It’s nice to see others inspired by their actions!
However, I must admit that there were some things in the ending that I wish weren’t included. One of which was the return of Ritchie and Lyde. I know they were going for the happy ending, but I feel like it was out of the blue. I don’t see how the newly found friendship between Earless and Humans would have brought back the dead. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for them and Nir, but it just felt out of place and an odd instance in which to bring them back. Second, I was actually kind of frustrated to see Echo and Mu at the very end of the episode. The moments following the final battle definitely made it seem like the two had saved the world and were no longer around and I would have been perfectly fine if that ended up being the case… But to see them making a return where Echo can’t even remember the events of what had happened was disappointing for me. Perhaps they were going for a “They’re continuing their adventure like they’ve always had (: ” type ending, but I honestly think that could have been implemented a little better.
But! Despite those frustrations, I think this was a fine conclusion for the anime. Peace is back, Liverchester will soon be restored to its former glory and Players and Earless can coexist happily from now on.
Coming into this series I had very high expectations with very little to go off of – the initial synopsis was vague, and I’ll tell you right now that watching the whole series doesn’t make it any clearer. Going into it I expected the series to be about a duo going on an adventure trying to restore music to the world, but I can guarantee you if that is what you’re expecting that’s definitely not what you will get.
Creating an original anime is a difficult thing to do since you have to start from the ground up, but at the same time you can make it anything you want it to be! In that regard, I think LISTENERS wanted to be a lot of things and personally, I think that might have been its greatest downfall. It wanted to be a lot of things, I don’t think they had the opportunity to fully express everything that they wanted because that had to rush through it in order to keep the story condensed into 12 episodes. It’s the sort of series where there’s a new adventure every week, which is fun because it keeps the series fresh each week. I personally would describe the whole series as a great big puzzle. Each episode you’re given knew information that can be pieced together to find answers, and, for me, I found that aspect of the show to be really enjoyable.
We start off believing that the Earless are horrendous evil creatures whereas Players are the Earth’s saviors who will protect everyone… but not everything is as it seems. Slowly we start travelling to different places and meet new people who are able to provide us with their understanding and stories and we’re able to slowly piece things together. But then we get to meet others with a completely different perspective and the narrative that we’ve put together has become scrambled – what’s really good and what’s really bad? Who knows? Perhaps that’s for us to decide. But what I will say is that even though we’re able to piece things together and some information is kept from us until later episodes, be prepared to have some of your questions go unanswered. Or heck! Be prepared for some of your answered questions to be taken away.
I think what drew a lot of people to this series is the connection it has to classic rock. Within every episode there’s countless references to classic songs, bands, and individual musicians. It can be fun to pick them all out and see how they are interwoven into the narrative or just hanging out for fun. Even for me, I would check out some of the things that were referenced once the episode aired to see what aspects were included in the episode even if some of the references were a bit tasteless. Another incredibly enjoyable aspect of this series was the music. The opening was an absolute banger and all of the endings were fantastic as well, so I definitely encourage you all to check them out if you decide not to watch the series.
At the end of the day, I would probably rate this anime a 5/10. It was ambitious and it had a lot of good things going for it. The elements and concepts it was looking to incorporate and explore were really cool and the soundtrack was very good. But I think this anime suffered a bit from that ambition in all of its implementation. As I mentioned earlier there are a lot of unanswered questions and just not enough time to explore everything that I think the anime wanted to include. All in all, I’m not sure how much of this anime will stick with me in a couple years, but I always found something to enjoy in each episode. So, if this series does spark your interest, I do encourage you to check it out! Just be warned that the pacing may be a bit hard to deal with at times!