Anime roundup 10/7/2021: Safe Landing

In this week’s viewing: Finishing up the last couple series of the summer before the tsunami of fall.

Sonny Boy finale – Nagara and Mizuho find their way to the place where they can dash through the sea of possible timelines and undo the principal’s choice by selecting a different one to come true. They can’t make the truly impossible happen, but they are able to imagine a modestly better future, and that suffices for now.

So they can’t bring their magic powers with them, but Nozomi can be alive, and the cats can live out their natural lives in comfort, and Nagara can be freed from whatever the situation with his mother was. Life is still hard work, and they can’t get back the relationships they developed with their classmates in exile, but they can say they made an affirmative choice to participate in life and work toward the day that they do have a chance to really change the world.

As a conclusion to Nagara and Mizuho’s story, this is great. It doesn’t wind up on a note of triumph, but one of acceptance and determination that perfectly suits the themes of its second half. From that angle, Sonny Boy is a brilliant example of what happens when a single creative mind is given free rein to build an wholly original story.

Look back, though, and there are loose ends spilling out everywhere. Such as: the business with the fake Ms. Aki, Asakaze as a supposed chosen one, Hoshi and his scheming, and Asakaze’s accomplices from episode 1 who got partially filled in along the way and then dumped out of the plot after a few episodes. There’s the problem of setting someone free to create without any editorial check.

On balance, I can call this worth watching, for anyone willing to go in understanding that it’s more about the feelings and themes and not about tight plotting.

(FunimationWakanimBahamut Anime CrazybilibiliLaftel)

Higurashi: When They Cry – SOTSU finale – After some more fighting and screaming about how much they like each other but also how incompatible their desires are, Rika and Satoko are able to listen to reason and decide to go their separate ways. In the space between timelines, Eua and Hanyū also settle their differences, though in a more final-looking way.

This is actually a pretty good conclusion to the story. It goes where it needs to go, says the things that need to be said, and wraps things up neatly. It would have been a much, much better conclusion had it come a season ago, though. There was absolutely no reason to spend 12 of 14 episodes this season plus the last few of the previous one on a tedious, bloody recap of absolutely everything that had already happened with an extra fillip here and there. A couple episodes of recap from Satoko’s point of view, then the big fight and this conclusion, would have worked fine.

Fan theories abound as to how this arc fits into the overall When They Cry franchise, what it means for revisiting the other shows in the franchise, and particularly what on earth the author was thinking spending an entire season treading water like this. (One popular rumor, for instance, is that he didn’t know what the promised episode counts were for the two seasons.) For this new viewer, though, SOTSU has been enough for this lifetime. People not yet spoiled by it might want to check out the very first When They Cry series, but that road still inevitably leads here.

(FunimationWakanimBahamut Anime CrazyLaftel)

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