Ahhhhh they really pulled out all the stops for this episode. I’m genuinely impressed with how much they were able to accomplish in just this one episode while still providing a satisfying ending. I’m almost at a loss for words because this episode has practically changed my overall thoughts on the anime as a whole. So, props to them for that!
I’m actually kind of bummed that this is the final episode because I want to know more about Ayu and Mari! Just who are they and why are they so cool? But at the same time, they weren’t really the focus and adding more info about them probably would have bogged down the whole anime in the long run. But still, they would consistently drop hints about that these two aren’t quite what they seem, especially in the rescue Rei episode. But in this episode alone Mari has a turbo boost button in the car and generally has a good enough handling that she could be a competitive street racer. Heck! She even identified the unidentified police car as they were heading to the airport. And of course, there is Ayu and I personally feel that we were robbed of her fight scene! I wanted to see her kick some butt. But in all fairness, it probably was more important to give that screen time to Leo and Rei for their reunion.
Speaking of their reunion in the airport, it all felt very theatrical, like something you would have seen on the big screen. It was so dramatic, all the way from their run in the airport to Big Bird swooping in to save the day. And of course, the cherry on top was Rei calling out the lines from the Ninja movie they were both fond of. All around it was a very cute moment, heck even the other airport passengers thought so as they applauded with absolutely no clue as to what was going on. And with that, the Leo retrieval mission was a success!
Meanwhile, back at the competition, Minamino seems to be on his game once more after his faults from the prior day. And honestly, he’s brought the best version of himself to this competition and is doing incredibly well. But you know who is doing really well? Our boy Jotaro. Of course, he seemed to be a little preoccupied in the morning as they were unsure if Leo was going to come at all. But thanks to Britany’s loud voice they were able to let the Rei’s classmate deliver the news (and another special message for Takizawa). And with all of that, we’re able to get a pretty happy ending. With the help of everyone, Leo is able to make it to the tournament area to see Jotaro’s final event in which Jotaro is able to exude that Samurai aura once more. And he did it! He pulled off a very difficult and impressive routine, stuck the quadruple landing, and got all the points he needed to win! Congrats Jo, the Aragaki II is a success.
Honestly, I think my biggest complaint about the ending is the fact that after Minamino loses it’s acknowledged that Jotaro is the only gymnast he looks up to? Part of me could kind of see it but it just didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of his character. Honestly Minamino really hasn’t acted nicely to Jotaro (or anyone else for that matter), so it’s hard to recognize that Jotaro is more of an idol rather than just another piece of the competition. And overall, I think that’s my biggest frustration with his character is that he could have played so many roles? But he just kind of played the broody teenager who was kind of a threat, but not really. Any time they had the opportunity to flesh him out ore or at least let him give acknowledgements was used to further develop another character. I don’t know, it really feels like he was there to add drama in competition, but I really do think that if he weren’t there this ending would have likely played out the same because Jotaro’s victory came in the form of Leo seeing his gymnastics, not him taking first place.
Still! I’m satisfied with this ending and even appreciate the ending where they get to go see Leo perform in Swan Lake! It’s nice to see that they’re all doing well and still supporting each other! Overall, a good ending and a pretty satisfying wrap up to the anime as a whole. Thanks for the ride Taiso Samurai!
I have some mixed feelings about this final impression because overall this story was charming, and this ending was really satisfying but the overall impact is pretty low. I don’t know if this is one that will stick with me in a few months, but it was decently enjoyable to watch. Of course, some episodes were better than others, but the story as a whole was very solid.
There have been countless sport series that turn out to be less about the sport and more about the characters and the relationship they have with each other and the sport. Originally, I thought this series was going to fall in that camp once I put two and two together that Gymnastics wasn’t going to be the sole focus of the series. But ultimately, gymnastics could have been swapped out for anything, they could have been competitive swimmers, dancers, or archers and the messages in the series would have been the same. There wasn’t any particular love for gymnastics just that everyone was astounded and captivated by Jotaro’s gymnastics. We spent more time off the floor just in everyone’s daily lives than if we were in competition and overall, that’s not terribly upsetting, but if you’re looking for a high energy sports show (or heck, even just moderate energy) you might want to look somewhere else. The concept of gymnastics is more like a gathering place for everyone. It’s Jotaro’s wish to continue the sport, Leo is captivated by him, Rei is his daughter, Minamino looks up to him, and Takizawa is one of his club mates. They all love or appreciate his form of Gymnastics, but the amount of time spent actually watching Jotaro’s gymnastics is relatively low.
So, despite not being in the traditional sport’s anime camp, they did do a pretty good job at the life elements. Now personally, I don’t believe that all the characters got the time and spotlight they deserved. But the relationships they held between them were pretty engaging to watch. I loved watching Leo bring the Rei and Jotaro closer overall because that was one thing the two of them really didn’t feel was needed. Prior to Leo’s arrival, they were still a relatively happy family, there were some bumps in the road, but they were happy nonetheless. However, when Leo arrives, he’s able to uncover more stuff and frustrations about the two of them that eventually bubble up, but they are able to reach a happy result in the end. They did a fantastic job with Rei and Jotaro’s relationship, it never felt like they were in a broken family and they hated each other, and I really appreciate that. For Leo’s relationship with the both of them, I personally think that they could have fleshed out more. For a majority of the series Leo was just kind of a character who showed up at a convenient place and time and said what was needed. We didn’t start getting to know him until the latter half of the series and I wish he would have had more personal moments with the other characters. Instead, it all felt like other characters telling his story. Which works in some instances, but I feel that it fell flat for him. As for the rest of the characters, I’m happy that we had a fun and diverse group of characters that we got to meet. I loved their short interactions that gave us a glimpse into their lives, but they were also more than just background characters. Each one of them was able to make an impact despite their actual screen time being short. Though, it did seem like Takizawa faded into the background somewhere in the middle, but he had a decent comeback.
One thing that I was really surprised about was just how much Jotaro didn’t feel like a main character. In fact, no one really felt like a main character for me. In the latter half of the series, it definitely felt more like Rei and Leo, but overall I don’t really feel like this was anyone’s particular story. So, it was refreshing to think that Jotaro was a main character but also have him not fall into a typical protagonist rut of trying to be the best out of everyone in the room. It wasn’t always about the competition for him, just his love of gymnastics. Other people around him tried to make it about the competition but all Jo wanted to do was improve himself for the future. To be able to do gymnastics his way and I think that is nice.
If I were to give this series a rating, it would probably be a 6.5/10 there were some really good elements and the interactions were incredibly charming, but at the same time I didn’t feel much of an impact for the things that were happening. I was never sure where we were going and while individual episodes were wonderful, I don’t know if this one is as memorable as I hoped it would be. And in some ways, it led to a lack of closure or was left to the watcher’s imagination. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, because this series definitely left things open in such a way that we know this family is still growing and facing challenges. They still have a lot more time together to support and help each other grow. But for now, this family is happy and supporting each other and their story has been told. This is really harsh, but I think my final impressions of Taiso Samurai is that it did not leave a lasting impression on me.
Did I enjoy the series, yes! It was charming and fun. There were stellar moments, but in a few months’ time I don’t think I will remember very much of the story or the characters. So, it was good while it lasted, but if you are looking for a nice anime revolved around family with a sprinkle of sports mixed in you should give Taiso Samurai a try.