And lo, Kuma Miko was finally put out of its misery, and there were no winners.
Just for kicks, here’s a graph showing where each of the series I’m watching ranked throughout the season:
As you can see, the most consistently high-ranked is, surprisingly, Ushio to Tora. Boku no Hero Academia got the top rank the most times, but was significantly outperformed in the late midseason. Sailor Moon Crystal also ranked consistently high, only dipping low due to the week Sousei no Onmyouji had its best episode of the season. Weeks 8 and 9, when Sousei no Onmyouji threatened to be REALLY good, really screwed up the trends for the entire chart there. Ace Attorney scored the most consistently low, and it and Kuma Miko are tied for most amount of times ranked last. Keep in mind, this is just a comparison of how good each series was in comparison to the others during the same week; a graph showing how I rated each individual episode would look VERY different.
1. Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity
Wow, I was about ready to give the top spot to Boku no Hero Academia, but then PERFECTION AROSE FROM THE ABYSS.
Seriously, I rewatched my favorite parts of this episode more than a dozen times immediately after I finished it. It’s fucking perfect. Well, the animation was a bit off at parts, but that was relatively minor.
First off: we start the episode off with “The Final Battle.” When you waste that amazing track on Mistress 9 when Pharaoh 90 is still coming, you know you’re in for something mindblowing. And damn, I didn’t think it was possible, but they delivered. The music from Sailor Saturn’s awakening through to the Death Reborn Revolution was chilling and epic and oh so very fitting.
It had EVERYTHING I could have wanted from an adaptation of this chapter and MORE. Rainbow Moon Double Heart Ache looked great, we got an actual stock footage Tuxedo La Smoking Bomber attack, we got a faux Saturn henshin, we got animated Death Reborn Revolution… we got everything.
The entire second half of the episode bordered on downright terrifying at times and it really did justice to Sailor Saturn. I know there are some fans of the 90’s anime that refuse to give Crystal credit where it’s due, but I dare them to watch this episode and still try to utter that the 90’s version of Saturn is better. Just try. Even if you say it, you know damn well it’s a fucking lie. Seriously, the outers hype Saturn up as the bringer of destruction for most of the season, and then what happens when Saturn does show up? She flies into another dimension with the intention of sacrificing herself to blow it up, and Sailor Moon has to fly after her to rescue her sorry ass. What happens when Saturn shows up in Crystal? YOU LEGITIMATELY FEEL LIKE SHE’S GOING TO END THE FUCKING WORLD.
Really nothing more I can say. I am in tears over how good this episode is.
2. Boku no Hero Academia
This episode was hype incarnate. All Might shows up to save the day from the bioengineered Noumu, and when it seems like he might actually lose, he gets saved by Todoroki and Bakugou.
But then All Might turns things up past 100% and shows the students how the pros get shit done. Plus. Fucking. Ultra. He punches Noumu over 300 times to overload its shock absorption and Team Rockets his ass.
The only flaw of this episode is all the unnecessary screen darkening. It’s a practice that started somewhere around the turn of the century to prevent seizures. It isn’t anywhere close to necessary given what’s actually on screen, so all it does is piss me the fuck off. Hopefully the western release can get rid of this effect.
3. Ushio to Tora
As great as it is, this was pretty much more of the same thing we got from the last two episodes. More and more allies showing up and contributing to the final battle in their own ways, and Ushio and Tora taking it to Hakumen no Mono. But THIS time, the fight is much more personal. Hakumen releases a poison mist that forces the coalition to retreat from the barrier, leaving only Hakumen in the barrier to fight Ushio and Tora, who stayed behind.
Of course, even like this, the fight against Hakumen isn’t just up to Ushio & Tora. Hakumen’s minions try to wreak havoc outside of the barrier, and practically everyone Ushio & Tora made an ally of steps in to wipe them out. The theme of the day is very friendship and unity. It’s like if the only way to beat the final boss is to max out all of your Social Links.
The episode ends shortly after a wicked burn from Tora, who points out that Hakumen never looks down upon the creatures he terrorizes, but rather looks up in jealousy, showing that all along, they have had the upper hand.
4. Sousei no Onmyouji
I just have to point out that this series likes to waste two minutes of our time recapping the previous episode, even if that episode is completely irrelevant bullshit. Anyway, the point is, the last episode ended with us seeing a mysterious wild-looking boy. Then we cut to Rokuro training to control his more powerful talisman arm.
We shift to Benio and Rokuro arguing over dinner. Surprise surprise, Benio sucks at cooking. Rokuro… not all that much better.
This surprisingly leads to some flashbacks to Benio’s childhood with her awesome parents, and we learn that they died to a Kegare that gave Benio the opportunity to save one of them. In the end, she couldn’t choose, and they both died. Since then, she became obsessed with killing that Kegare, Kamui.
And it turns out that wild-looking boy is Kamui. And naturally, they come face to face. Kamui completely wrecks Benio with ease, and Rokuro has to save her by punching Kamui in the face. But that isn’t enough to take him out, and we’re faced with the realization that this is going to be a two-parter.
As far as Sousei no Onmyouji episodes go, this is rather above average. As much as I wanted to dismiss Kamui, he ended up being an effective villain in the short amount of time we’ve seen him.
5. Ace Attorney
I… strangely enjoyed this episode. They changed a lot of things about the case, like Von Karma hiding the evidence in his office and tazing Maya there, and the above Larry dressing up as Edgey to buy time. It made for an interesting experience, and I was rather entertained.
The only problem? The same problem Ace Attorney has had all season: a complete lack of tension. I can look over the fact that the plot cases have to move quickly and we don’t need to fuck around with little distractions, but at least take your time when you need to to set the mood. The big offender this episode was how quickly the metal detector scene went by. instead of being the huge “gotcha!” moment it was in the game it felt like something that just had to be addressed like it was part of a checklist. It’s almost insulting.
6. Kuma Miko
I have no idea what the fuck the writers for this show were thinking brought people to watch it, but I think they’ve successfully alienated anyone who isn’t a hopeless masochist.
So, Hibiki and Yoshio run around looking for Machi. Yoshio calls Natsu and lets him know, and immediately he goes running off to get someone to drive him to Sendai.
Yeah… we missed out on what could have been the perfect opportunity for a “Bear is driving” moment.
Strangely, what brings Machi back to the idol event is a little girl that meets her on the roof of a department store and encourages her. So she goes back starts to perform, gets stage fright, then seemingly goes into a trance and blocks out everything around her. She performs her miko dance perfectly and everyone is cheering for Machi… then she snaps out of her trance and FOR SOME REASON is deluded into thinking everyone has turned on her and hates her for being a country girl.
So, when Machi returns home she talks about her delusions and proclaims she’s giving up on her dream to go to school in the city. Despite everyone knowing that not only did everyone love her but she also won a special award from the judges, they DON’T tell her the truth, and Natsu basically tells Machi it’s okay: she can stay in the village as much as she wants and doesn’t have to think about scary things ever again.
And that’s the end of the season.
Bad End Get.
I fucking swear, if you find yourself empathizing with Machi early on, watching the rest of the anime is some form of masochism. And I understand that it’s a staple to have a “back to status quo” ending for ongoing adaptations, but this one just comes across as unnecessarily cruel.