The new show is about to start later today, so this will be the last opportunity to look at the episodes we received this past week, the final offerings of the Winter 2015 anime season. The episode write-ups linked usually have an overview of the season in its entirety as well, so take a look!
The shows covered will be Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Death Parade, Durarara!!x2, Junketsu no Maria (Maria the Virgin Witch), Log Horizon S2, Parasyte: the Maxim (Kiseiju), and Shirobako.
1) Death Parade episode 12:
Episode 11, with its skating sequence alongside Chiyuki’s memory montage was truly special, perhaps the best episode of the season for me. While this episode did not top it, it stood just as tall, which is already an achievement.
This episode mirrored the show, and rather than just deliver to us the show’s messages over the head or try to act normally until halfway while tying everything up in the second half, it slowly led us through a situation, toying with our thoughts, toying with our emotions.
Yes, in the end it did say what it wanted to, which it’s been telling us for a while now, that you may or may not be able to understand others, and that judging has faults, but we cannot avoid doing so. But what it’s done is delivered a tale of two people, a tale of understanding, empathy, and appreciation.
Seeing Decim unable to speak, seeing his sorrowful mien over the pain from understanding what he made Chiyuki go through, and seeing the Chiyuki doll in the end… so many precious moments. Yes, there’s a lot that’s left unanswered, but so is life.
2) Durarara!!x2 Shou episode 12:
It’s hard to watch Durarara!! and not be a fan of the one and only Heiwajima Shizuo, isn’t it? I mean, I’ve watched episode 7 of the first season (“I am not a violent man”) countless times last year. As a fan of Shizuo, this episode certainly was fun.
In my write-up that bit felt shoe-horned, but the moment where Shizuo makes sure to tell someone he’s not a member of the Dollars before striding in, and it’s not just a statement on not wanting to be part of a group that’d allow everyone in, without rules, but he’s making sure his actions don’t lead to the same mess all over again, he’s keeping his actions as his actions, rather than those of “a member of the Dollars”.
This episode had done two things, which the entire cour had been doing. The first was discuss the theme of power, responsibility, and Mikado’s decision. The second was set things up for the future. While Mikado “snapping” in the form of reaching a decision was important, what really matters is what will result from said decision.
This episode had a lot of interesting things, a lot of threads that collected together, only to tangle farther, and spread ahead of us, as is the way of the future.
3) Shirobako episode 24:
Another good episode of Shirobako. This one didn’t really have loose ends to tie up. This episode didn’t really have anything to say that wasn’t already said.
This episode wasn’t even there for all the “YES!” moments, which was last episode.
This episode was just spending some more time with the characters, smiling at moments of awesome hinted at in the past (Ogitsu’s driving), or that reflect our inner thoughts (Miyamori being appreciated).
It was essentially doing everything that an OVA does, which was give us some more time with a cast we grew fond of, a final time to state some of the messages. Because why not? It wasn’t new, it wasn’t special, but it was Shirobako, which is plenty good.
4) Junketsu no Maria (Maria the Virgin Witch) episode 12:
This episode was sort of messy. It was messy in a way that exemplified the messiness of the show. Michael’s chuckle, Heaven forgiving Maria, those are the moments I’m speaking of. How do you reconcile them with what we know of Heaven and Michael up to now? How do all these small thematic threads come together?
The short answer is that they don’t really, but that it doesn’t matter, because they feed into the great thematic current that is “individualism”, humanity is about standing up for what you believe in. No, not everyone in the show who follows these ideals is rewarded (Galfa and Bernard), and those who oppose it don’t suffer either (Le Comte, Gilbert).
It was still an eventful and interesting episode, that was enjoyable to watch, and while messy, and somewhat distracting, overall helped the show’s overall theme.
5) Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu) episode 11:
Hunter x Hunter’s Killua arrives! Koro-sensei fends off another assault on him, then tries to rehabilitate his attacker, to make sure they get a good upbringing and life!
Business as usual, in other words. Nothing changes.
6) Log Horizon S2 episode 25:
Well, this sure was Log Horizon. From making support appear cool and not just chumps’ work in anime, to finishing an episode, and a season, with food. As an episode, the way the fight ended mid-episode was quite anticlimactic and even “meh”-inducing, and just like last season, this episode and season ended on a cliffhanger, of sorts.
It does make sense though, until they get back to our Earth, and even after, one of the points of the show is that it’s a lived-in experience, that we always have something more to strive for. Kanami’s reintroduction also made sense on two levels, first, showing that everyone has human connections, and second, to keep the flame of the future Shiroe versus Plant Hwyaden flames going.
And yet, this episode just felt relatively weak. We spent time with characters, we had some “We’ll keep trying!” messages, but as most episodes, it didn’t actually do enough on its own, let alone as season finale.
7) Parasyte: The Maxim (Kiseiju) episode 24:
“Unfortunate” is the way I’d describe this episode. The last two were decent, felt mostly “closed”, and even ended on what could be considered a thematic ending note. Why was there need for another episode?
Ah, yes, of course, to remind us that the action in the first half of the episode was quite good and exciting, and to remind us of how little was actually done with Shinichi’s dreams, and his meetings with Migi within them.
We belabour “The real monsters” again, we have an interesting but obtuse goodbye scene with Migi, we get to see life continues, and all of this was either forgettable, reminded us of what this show used to be, and what it promised to be, or was just bad.
The show ended on a really flat note, as a result. Though I did go “Damn!” when Murano supposedly fell, thinking this show really must have it in for Shinichi, thinking that’d be its ending theme, one of sacrifice, but it was just another cheap emotional ploy. The show couldn’t stick its landing, when it’s already done so to a large degree.
The good shows ended on a strong note. It wasn’t always clean, it wasn’t always “new”, but it was good. The shows that kept buckling under their weight continued to do so, and Parasyte returned to its weakest bits, for no good reason.
Well, the finales were pretty good, overall. I’ve had fun this past week, and while I wasn’t as wowed as by the penultimate episodes, this ends the season on a good note, just as the new season is about to start.
Finales, do you give them more weight when considering the show, or do you treat them as any other episode? How much a great finale can do for a mediocre show, for you?