So… How are the anime-only’s doing? XD
Even though I read the manga and knew full well it was most likely end like that, I was still floored that they ended it like that. It’s like they chucked a bomb and then ran. It felt so abrupt, but it was very fitting. After episodes of wondering about what was going on with Kureno, we finally get an answer. And I admit, it was a lot of fun watching anime-only’s react to the double reveal to not only Kureno being freed from the curse but also Akito is actually a woman.
After Kureno watched the DVD, he became so conflicted in what he should do and decided to confront Tohru and shed some light on the situation. Which is probably one of the biggest upset in the series. I’m sure a lot of anime only’s were shook by this revelation since the foreshadowing was very subtle. Even in the last time they showed the first opening to this season, unlike the other members that had their animals in their immediate reflections, Kureno showed his animal form as a picture on his phone (the past). There have been several hints prior to this with some of the other Zodiac members mentioning how they never really viewed Kureno as a part of them. Shigure even brings it up again in the episode for the audience to have the thought in their head. Though I’m sure it drove everyone crazy by the way he never finished his sentences when he was about to address it and yes, it was a bit annoying, but I can see that they were trying to ramp up to the reveal. But man, the build up to Kureno hugging Tohru and not transforming was so well executed and must have been such a shock to so many people who had not read the manga.
Kureno was probably one of the most mysterious characters (aside from Akito) in this series since we knew little to nothing about him besides how he randomly met Arisa twice and fell in love with her. Not only did this episode finally shed light onto why he’s different from the other Zodiac member, but also on a few other instances shown in flashbacks. Such as when Yuki talked about how Akito randomly just snapped one day. Judging how Akito looks in the instance where she snapped in Yuki’s flashback and when Kureno’s curse broke, one can assume that these two instances happened at the same time and why Akito snapped.
On one hand, I can hardly blame Kureno for deciding to stay by Akito’s side. However, because of this, he enabled that sort of behavior, becoming a big reason as to why Akito is the way that she is now. And as I said before, I feel sorry for Kureno, but he honestly brought it upon himself. He’s just too kind to turn his back on a crying child (I mean, who could blame him). The irony of it all is that despite being the only one freed from the curse, Kureno seems to be more caged than anyone else. The guy is basically a caged bird without being a bird. Not to mention that he did it out of pity rather than what he personally wanted to do. To Kureno, Arisa and Akito seem to contrast one another. Arisa seems to represent free will as she was the person that Kureno chose to love while Akito represents obligation as Kureno chose to stay by her side out of pity. And staying with someone because you pity them is not a good way to uphold a relationship. And yes, it was very much insinuated that Kureno legit slept (or is still) with Akito as messed up as that is.
Also, not gonna lie, even though it was Akito, I still got emotional seeing her cry and desperately plead to Kureno not to leave her. I know this doesn’t negate anything she’s done, but in that moment, we see a different side to Akito. We see a vulnerable Akito that is desperate not to be left behind and this was very different from her typical tantrums. She’s not commanding Kureno to stay, she’s PLEADING. Something we haven’t seen Akito ever do until this point. We’ve only ever see Akito act domineering and acts like she’s above everyone. However, here, she just seems like a scared, desperate, crying child that cannot deal with the pain of being left behind. And like Kureno said, to Akito, their bond is everything and if that’s gone, what does Akito have? We can only assume nothing considering how she reacted when Kureno was freed. Which is probably why she switched to being so obsessed with having the Zodiac be with her until they all die and why she lashed out at Yuki when he shared a similar far off expression that Kureno had when he was freed. And man, the voice actress did a phenomenal job during the scene where she broke down in front of Kureno. Her performance is probably the biggest thing that made me nearly tear up at that moment. Kudos to Maaya Sakamoto.
Definitely a MUCH better performance than what happened with Anzu in Ensemble Stars.
With the reveal of Akito being a woman, it definitely gives certain interactions a whole new perspective. Such as why she’s so clingy with all the men of the Zodiac and hates the women (Though there is more to that point that is later revealed). There’s also Shigure to consider. I can’t go too deeply into him though and what he’s plotting without spoiling anything, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind for future developments. Though unfortunately, I feel like a lot of people were already spoiled on Akito being a female due to it being an old series and the voice actress being female.
Despite the shocking developments and abrupt end to the season, we still have a little levity before the storm hit at the beginning where it highlights so many of Tohru’s relationships. Such as her awkward yet growing relationship with Rin and her tight bond with Momiji. And while I still ship them, I did have to admit that Tohru and Yuki’s familial, platonic bond was such a touching moment. Yuki asking Tohru if he did a good job for standing up to Akito was both hilarious and touching. Because on one hand, it’s basically a kid wanting their parent’s praise and then on the other, it shows how much growth Yuki has gone through this season.
But poor Tohru. The girl basically was crying for more than half the episode. But I honestly can’t blame her since this puts SO MUCH on her already full shoulders. Not only is she searching for ways to break the curse, but she’s also concerned about Arisa’s happiness and with all this new information, it makes all of those things 2000% more complicated. And then the season just ends, leaving everyone (the characters and the audience) emotional.
This season was AMAZING and I absolutely loved it. I really did. I’m actually really surprised by how much I loved and enjoyed this season. Revisiting the series in this reboot allowed me to realize just how deep and intricate it really is that I totally missed when I first read it in high school. There were so many topics and themes that definitely went over my head when I was younger so being able to see the series with a different perspective and understanding really helped me appreciate the series. It also allowed me to have much more appreciation for certain characters that I didn’t really feel very strongly towards initially.
But man did I underestimate the amount of Yuki I thought I’d get this season. It was like a Yuki overdose, but I ain’t complaining because we got so much wonderful Yuki character development. I feel like I appreciate his character a lot more now than I did when I first read the series. Same goes for the Student Council. I did not like any of them at first, but now I’m actually enjoying their dynamic quite a bit. I think it flew over my head just how much interacting with normal people meant to Yuki and his growth, especially with Kakeru. Also just seeing how far Yuki has come compared to how he was in the first season is just… UGH it’s so good! He’s become someone who can stand up on his own and interact with people much more freely. Even going as far as to stand up to Akito. WHAT A WAYS MY BOY HAS COME.
A lot of characters have had development as well. Kyo specifically has had really good development, but there are times where it just feels like he regresses and his attitude frustrates me. But I guess that’s because his type of character never appealed to me in the beginning so I’ll leave it at that. Tohru is also currently going through development as well but we won’t see the fruition of it until this next season. But man this girl has to go through a lot, especially this season…
This was such a well executed anime where I can’t even put down all the feelings I have. And I absolutely love all of the symbolism and foreshadowing presented through out the episodes in what specific scenes mean and what the underlying message is. Such as the daisies shown when Yuki asked Tohru if he did well, which means purity, showcasing their platonic bond. I love seeing all the hints showcased, especially the subtle spoilers they put into the openings and endings.
The pacing to this season was so much better than the first season since I felt like they were trying to speedrun through the episodes that were already covered in the 2001 anime. So after they made it to the content that wasn’t covered, they were able to find a better pace to lay out the darker and heavier story at hand while executing fantastic development for almost all of the characters.
And while there were times where some characters looked strangely off model, it’s only a nitpick because it didn’t take away from my viewing experience. I also noticed that the
I did notice they left out some scenes here and there and are The animation wasn’t spectacular, but I don’t think you need THE BEST OF THE BEST animation for these kinds of stories. As long as they do decently and not distract the viewer from the story, I think it’s fine. However, what this series excelled at were the lighting and background art. They went above and beyond to make the series LOOK beautiful. There were some shots where I just couldn’t help but be taken with how amazing the scenery looked. Dusk shots definitely were the most captivating. The cinematography was also fantastic where they just conveyed the emotion and meaning of the scene perfectly. Accompanied by the voice acting and music… UGH IT WAS ALL JUST SO GOOD. It was overall so beautifully and purposefully crafted.
Though I will admit that the lack of attention to the growing heights of some of the characters is mildly annoying… but again, that’s just a nitpick.
I’m so glad I decided to stick with covering this series because this had to be one of the most enjoyable series I’ve blogged about. To think I was about to pass up on covering this at the beginning… We’ve come so far with these characters and just seeing them all grow is such a pleasure to watch unfold. Not to mention I feel like a lot of the themes presented in this series can still be applied today (if not more so). The final series has been such an emotional roller coaster and I’m sad to see it end. Though thankfully we got confirmation that the third and final season will be coming next year! And heck yeah I hope to be able to cover it when it comes out!
I’m giving this a solid 9/10 for all the wonderfully done emotions and storytelling this season conveyed so well~