Please, let this be over…
Episode 11 starts off where we left off: with Rina being kidnapped by Darkers shortly after awakening to her Photon Arts. It’s up to Itsuki and Aika to save her. One montage later, they find Rina in a cocoon, and she awakens possessed by Dark Falz, becoming its newest host to wreak havoc upon the world. It’s… an insanely rushed scene despite being the most important scene of the series so far. It really should be the most dramatic scene too, but it ends with Rina silently wrecking her friends. One wonders where the fuck the anime’s priorities were.
In a reversal of the previous episode, I find myself bored to death by the school scenes since we know all the action is in the PSO2 half. However, shortly after Dark Falz’s possession of Rina, Zeno steps in to take over the fight, forcing Aika and Itsuki to retreat. He gets beaten offscreen, and we head back to the real world with Itsuki trying his best to save face with the student council. Oh, and with Kota, who witnessed the fact that Darkers are real and invading.
Meanwhile, Rina attacks the ARKS base since that’s where the body of Dark Falz is sealed away. It seems the only way to protect the universe is to fight back and kill Rina. Naturally, our heroes aren’t going to take that. They’re going to find a way to save Rina somehow. It helps that, apparently, Matoi was once possessed by darkness but got better. I’m starting to hate that this anime is set after my personal story progression (dem difficulty spikes, yo!)
Oh, and we see Kuna again. The boss gives her an order to do something only she can do.
On our heroes’ way to encounter the final boss, Kota logs in and joins the battle. He’s not going to let Itsuki go alone… and naturally, he brings along ALL of Itsuki’s friends for the final battle.
And so, the final raid begi-OH SHIT, CONCERT TIME!
As Kuna’s song plays in the background, our heroes march forward, only to be stopped by a Dark Ragne. Which, y’know, Natsume can easily solo. Itsuki gets saved by Konoe, who uses a Wire Lance Lilipa character… which kinda makes her my favorite character right now.
In an absurd act of contrivance, the final team-up against the Dark Ragne results in Itsuki and Aika being completely cut off from the rest of their team, so they once again head to the final battle by themselves.
We start off with the unleashing of the final form of Dark Falz…
Dark… archangel moth? I swear, he looks more threatening on the Sega Master System:
Seriously, it barely looks more threatening than a Breehada. What about that screams “final boss” to you?
ARKS sends their ultimate weapons to destroy all the Darker mobs. Then Dark Falz wastes them. So ARKS fires a super cannon at Dark Falz, and Dark Falz wastes that too, but gets grazed and falls to the ground. Is this the opening our heroes need? We’ll find out after we see more of the classmates working hard to keep the school festival a success! Oh… gawd I can’t wait for them to be done with the festival.
So, Aika says the only way to beat Dark Falz is to use a Photon Art to send Itsuki inside the beast itself.
There’s literally no chance this ends with Itsuki awakening Rina’s true self with an ocarina solo, right? Yeah, I thought not.
So, inside of Dark Falz is Rina’s mindscape. Itsuki remembers Aika telling him not to allow the darkness to swallow him. Naturally, he falls into a trap that almost allows the darkness to swallow him. But then light and shit. Finally, we have the all-important flashback to when Itsuki and Rina were kids. I don’t remember how long ago this scene was alluded to, but the payoff is predictably weak: Rina hated hide-and-seek, but Itsuki was there to find her. Why should we give a fuck? That was the dumbes-
So, how does Itsuki free Rina from Dark Falz? Care to take a guess?
He screams her name REALLY loud.
It’s the most cliche fucking thing I’ve seen in a long while.
Itsuki and Rina make it out of Dark Falz, join up with Aika, and the three literally form blazing sword and finish Dark Falz off.
However, this is where Itsuki and Rina part ways with Aika, who must stay in the PSO2 world now that her mission is over, and the two remaining have no way to explain her sudden disappearance.
They would never see Aika again… except when she shows up at the very end after graduation to let her friends know that they can see her any time as long as they’re ARKS… In other words, play PSO2 if you want to see your friends again!
…Y’know, unless they find out you’re accessing from North America and block your IP.
So, that’s the end of the PSO2 anime. It’s… rather forgettable and unfocused. I feel like it never quite reached its potential, but that potential wasn’t particularly high in the first place. Considering the storylines they casually spoiled in the course of the series, I would have preferred if they just did a straight up adaptation of the game’s first two chapters to hype up the newest chapter. Yeah, it would’ve been even more of a blatant commercial, but it would’ve had actual value then.