Lagrange 23, Yuru Yuri II finale

In shows like Rinne no Lagrange, with all its intergalactic battling and cosmic light shows, I expect that some of it won’t make sense. And in the case of episode 23 I don’t care.

All the girls make their share of undignified faces this episode.

There seem to be two themes at work here. The obvious one is exemplified by the battle each girl has with the Uber-Dizel. Each of them furious and not thinking too hard about what they’re doing, throwing themselves at the damn thing and being blown back each time, no matter how many spare weapons this dark seaside world (reminiscent of both Kamogawa and that miserable world Muginami grew up in) gave them. We see that they’re each battling a different one, or they’re not aware of each other. And you know that any attempt to beat Dizel will be useless until they team up. We also see it in the flashback when Yurikano triggered the first Rinne and split into the three voxes. And in that vision Madoka has of a young Dizel and Villa agreeing to work together for the Polyhedron’s sake. But we sort of knew this already, and watching this episode’s first fight felt a bit tedious because we knew how it would work.

The second theme has to do with betrayal, or maybe desertion. It harkens back to the first time Lan and Muginami tried to fly a mission without telling Madoka, and now it returns with Dizel driven to madness over Villa’s long-gone attempt at rebellion. And we see it again with Moid’s own crazy speech to Asteria about how the Rinne rejected his offerings and it was HER fault. Utterly nuts, these grudges. That speech, by the way, presents us with the show’s best example of unexpected humor as the raging Moid opens his eyes and sees not Asteria, but Youko, and, boy is she pissed! This show’s ability to slip humor in at the darkest places is ingenious.

The super-powerful uber-Vox is taken down using a backflip.

As for the inexplicable, where do I start? The very fact that the girls were unaware of each other at the beginning, only to find themselves tangled up? What was the reason for that? Why did they find out then? We had just seen the Dizel/Villa flashback, so we know Madoka knew the answer and was ready to rejoin the girls, but who’s sending the messages in the first place, who lifted that fog the three were in? What mecha were those that the Uber-Dizel kept sucking up? And the Vox sending Madoka an email for chrissakes, not to mention their lunch bags dropping on their heads (another funny moment in the middle of despair)? The Voxes as a whole were a lot more “alive” this episode in general, what with Aura shielding Madoka from a Dizel-blast when she was outside of it, but I figure in that crazy alternate universe anything goes, which explains away all the other weird things, too. And the lunch bag bit was not only a good gag, but a suggestion to Madoka to sit back a moment, have something to eat with her friends. Regroup.

One more episode to go, but it looks like they used the fighting in this one. They more or less did that last season, too, and so the final episode was a bit of a letdown. We’ll probably get a lot of infodumps, tears and hugging. Oh, well.

Yuru Yuri 2 puts it all together and produces a fun finale. I’ve never been a big fan of this series, but I didn’t drop it. There was just a little too much I liked about it. I’ve mentioned it before, but the show works best when it gets utterly strange, like Chinatsu’s ball-eating hair, or her bizarre interpretation of cute drawings, or the Nana/Rise combo (which always cracks me up). The more mundane slapstick rarely worked for me, though as I grew used to the characters I began to enjoy them a little more. In the first half Kyouko brings a bunch of old toys to the tea club room, and various people are scared by a stuffed snake. It’s all right. The characters work better as a team, and the core group is assembled here.

Er, girls, the robot is starting to smoke …

It’s part two that actually shines. The group enact Snow White for the school festival, and EVERYONE’s either in it or in the audience. To say it gets surreal would be an understatement. My favorite bits include Chizuru (the hunter) trying to kill Snow White (Kyouko) with automatic weapons. The seven dwarves introduction was pretty good, and the Wicked Queen (Nana) along with the talking mirror (perfect role for Rise!) bringing out a giant robot to finish off the heroine. Yes, it’s all gags, but they come fast and play up everyone’s eccentricities. In the episode’s best touch, the play gets a huge ovation, allowing them to do a bow, and poor Akari gets the final one, which is sort of fitting, not because she was the star of the series, but because she put up with so much I felt sorry for her. It was a great way to say goodbye to the characters. Now, if the rest of the series had been as good as the last couple of episodes I might have liked it a lot better.

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