Finales: Zankyou, Glasslip, Nozaki-kun

The ending of Zankyou no Terror seems a bit low-key, with no real surprises in it, but it did everything it needed to do.

Ooh, pretty atomic blast!
Ooh, pretty atomic blast!

First off, I was pleased to see Shibazaki realize that the kids didn’t intend to kill anyone with their bomb, then it was just a minute to talk with genius wife about what they DID want to do. Here I got a little disappointed. Nine wanted to create an EMP pulse, or whatever it’s called, which would fry Japan’s electronic infrastructure. Considering this is Japan we’re talking about, this seems like a sacrilige … Anyway, after that they find some drama in getting the planes out of the sky (Had Nine thought of that, or did he trust that they could be grounded in time? Well, they were, so it’s a moot point), except for some American fighters. And they point out that about the only people on the entire country who have EMP-proof devices are the Americans. Why?!?

Plot.
Plot.

The Americans show up later to help cover their own ass, and to provide us with the unnecessary climax at the end, when Shibazaki was about to arrest the boys. I suppose by the logic of fiction or something they had to be killed, and Twelve didn’t get shot, but collapsed from the same thing that Five died of, presumably, but, really, why Twelve? Let him carry on the mission of revealing the monstrous secrets to the world. Or maybe I’m pissed because those two old monsters lived on, in intense public scrutiny, but alive. In the end all the kids got was a minute or two of goofing off together at their alma mater. Nice to watch, I suppose, and they didn’t kill off Lisa. Small favors.

She does, however, get splashed.
She does, however, get splashed.

The most underwhelming thing about the finale was the boys’ ultimate motive: to bring attention to the project and the bomb. Doing a big blowup in order to shock the world isn’t terribly new. On the other hand, they were kids, and maybe a bit naive about how things work. On the other hand, it DID work, so who am I to say? Well, all in all, it was a very good series. It leaned toward SF but was set in a real world where girls run away from home (and where did Lisa go after all this?) and detectives pound the pavement looking for evidence. The bigger metaphors usually fell flat for me; I really don’t see Shibazaki as Oedipus, and that Vor business at the end felt tacked on, considering they used it so rarely. But they told the story extremely well. Scenes that could have been dismal, like the airport bomb chase, weren’t, because they were directed so well. And I’ve already praised Kanno’s music enough. Not the best series of the year, but right up there.

Glasslip decides to keep us bewildered right to the end.

Touko becomes a procrastinator.

This ending, where Touko has a vision on her way to school after summer break, turning around at the sound of Kakeru(?)’s voice, was deliberately misleading. All through the finale, with everyone more or less in happy couple land except for the main couple, the show refused to answer the big question: is Kakeru staying or going? His tent is gone from the backyard, his mom is apparently gone, but they didn’t say whether or not he went with her. Plus, their marble-tossing scene felt like a moment of closure for both of them. Instead of answering the question directly they have to just have his voice and Touko’s surprised face. It sort of summed up the series for me: why do anything directly when you can just make hints, suggestions, or have Touko have another misleading vision?

But she's not talking about the future ...
But she’s not talking about the future …

Speaking of visions and bewilderment, we had that odd conversation in the forest. Touko’s mother had just told her that she used to have visions too, but that they didn’t show the future. Huge clue! It’s hereditary! But that’s swept aside as Touko weighs the possibilities: the visions are the future, or they’re of things that are sure to happen, but what’s the difference? I don’t know either, but Kakeru helpfully confuses us more by asking her what answer she wants. Meanwhile, the three other Kakerus don’t show up at all, and he’s getting nothing from the music anymore, so perhaps his own problems have settled down. Not that we’ll ever know.

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As I said, the other two couples continue to progress, but only through little things, which is fine with them. They’re happy enough. Really, this has been a happy show. All the strangeness happens in the course of ordinary lives and while they they sometimes seem to lose their way, it’s not for long, and there’s someone there who can help them out. What it was all about I can’t tell you. Friendship, adolescence, certainly. Loneliness, finding a place for oneself. Also visions, glass, music and everyday life. Told rather indirectly at times, but pleasant to watch.

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Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun finishes up with the usual stories. In the first one, Sakura tries to give Nozaki the Valentines Day chocolates she couldn’t bear to give him before (it’s midsummer). It’s a chance for Sakura to show off both her determination and cuteness, and it works well enough. The story is notable in that we have all three of the main girls having a conversation together, something the series rarely gave us. Odd that Seo winds up being Yuu’s straight man, but I could see that switching if the scene needed it. In the second, it’s off to the festival, one more chance for everyone to interact, and to offer a hint of resolution to poor Sakura’s love woes … which doesn’t happen, but it’s a sweet little scene anyway, and I’m not convinced that Nozaki didn’t understand what Sakura meant.

nozakikun12-2

And that wraps up one of the better light comedy series I’ve watched recently. Not every bit worked, but the ones that did worked very well. We had a pack of fun characters who worked off each other nicely, and its two main characters were almost always fun to watch. While we figured out where the jokes were coming from with Nozaki pretty quickly (even Sakura talked this episode about “figuring him out”), his lunkhead appearance and deep, deadpan voice gave his punchlines a boost. Sakura was a terrific character. She managed to keep her crush on Nozaki fresh throughout, had solid straight-man skills, took everything thrown at her in stride, and could give us a big array of shocked and bemused facial expressions, plus, she was cute. Excellent voice work by Ari Ozawa one of her first roles. Hope to hear more of her. Hope to see more of the series, too.

One more of our happy couple.
One more of our happy couple.
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