Finales: Zvezda, Nobunagun, Dandy

The final episode of Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda made absolutely no sense, and I couldn’t care less.

And don't forget weirdness!
And don’t forget weirdness!

The good guys who weren’t there while Kate was beginning her obviously suicidal confrontation with Kyoshiro showed up one by one, and just in the nick of time to rescue someone. And while they did we had a giant robot, flying vending machines which are eaten by stuffed dolls, the dead come to life (twice), thrilling motorcycle driving by Kate, oh, and a high bar routine, deadly cigar smoke, and tons of other stuff that was all completely ridiculous and fun as hell to watch. Also, enemies are reunited and betrayers forgiven, though I’d be a lot slower to forgive Yasu then they did. To get to this nutty battle the series had to go through a couple of dark episodes, but they more than made up for it.

Just a stuffed animal devouring a vending machine.
Just a stuffed animal devouring a vending machine.

One thing they didn’t do that well, and I suspect that it’s because they didn’t care, is add any depth to the Jimon family relationship. They didn’t even try to reconcile father and son, or even get them talking beyond the level of insults. That’s because the father was an evil alien jerk. No wonder Asuta ran away. The whole Goro screwup situation takes an odd turn, but is otherwise done with quickly. More interesting was the talk between Kyoshiro and Kate, with an interesting take on the latter’s plans for world conquest. She will meet everyone in the world before she conquers them, because how can you conquer them otherwise? In other words (I think), trying to inflict change on a society from a place where you can’t even see the people betrays any idealistic beliefs you have. I think. Who knows with this show?

Kate's that little dot on the far left.
Kate’s that little dot on the far left.

If you went into the episode looking for more background on just what the hell Kate is, you’ll be disappointed. All I know is that she had more stars around her head than before. I didn’t mind. I like it when a show doesn’t try to explain all the mysteries, and it gives little girl Kate an aura of authority and hidden power, the contrast which remained funny until the end. In fact, I found every one of these misfits funny. I thought the show was funny. It was also nuts, and beneath it all, kind and humane. The sequel they hint at, where they’d battle American stereotypes, doesn’t look as good, but maybe they’ll conquer America quickly and move on to other people. If there’s a sequel. That’s it: Zvezda’s next conquest should be season two!

Season one --  Conquered!
Season one — Conquered!

I doubt that there will be a second season of Nobunagun, and I’m a little disappointed. Whenever those critters begin their next invasion, it will be a letdown. And the show wasn’t that great to begin with. On the other hand, it was fun, silly, and they blew things up.

Jack and Florence.
Jack and Florence.

The final weird thing was the revelation that Florence Nightingale and Jack the Ripper were actually the same person, and that she had gone around slicing those prostitutes up in order to remove highly contagious organs before they caused a pandemic. What kind of strange mind thinks these concepts up, anyway?

An appropriate facial expression when you're about to blow up the bad boss.
An appropriate facial expression when you’re about to blow up the bad boss.

Like many anime shows before it, Nobunagun took a bizarre concept and ladled just enough humanity on top to make it palatable, like the BFF to protect, possible romance, and the main character discovering her potential. Oh, and fanservice. Nothing wrong with that. What set it above many such series, for me anyway, was that I found Sio appealing from the start. She was a military nerd, thus an outsider at school, but she was fine with that, or at least resigned. Then her E-gene kicked in, she got that grin on her face, and I liked her even more. In fact, I liked how every character in the show enjoyed the damage they could do, whether it be shooting, slicing, stomping, barrier-making … well, some of the talents got a little strange. The fun they had made the weaker parts of the show more palatable. So I hope there is a second season, even if Sio’s channeling of Oda becomes too familiar and not the surprise and delight it was at first. I had too much fun watching Sio grin and shoot to worry about that.

One more of Nobunaga.
One more of Nobunaga.

If the structure of Space Dandy was to give creative talent a template of characters in a situation for them to create standalone works showcasing their abilities and eccentricities, then it’s only fitting that the final episode of season 1 was just that, another episode, without even a hit of finality. That’s fine. The episode falls in the middle of the pack for me. I think QT is put-upon and kind of cute (with that voice), so I liked how the episode gave him an opportunity to fall in love, even if everyone watching knew it would have a tragic or bittersweet end. There was nothing new in the story.

spacedandy13-1

The ideas weren’t exactly fresh, either. Robots that gain sentience is about as old as SF, though they did a nice job combining that with the love story. Having the abandoned ones rebel as they did struck me as too easy. They’re machines. Surely they would have other ways to rebel. On the other hand, I loved the giant mecha they made, completely unexpected, and it looked great. So, a mixed bag, like most of the episodes. That’s what you’re going to get when you have a series full of standalones. They had three episodes in a row that were terrific, most of the rest weren’t bad but not great, and a couple were forgettable. Still, their batting average was high enough that I don’t mind they’re doing another season.

One more of Meow.
One more of Meow.
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