Dawn of the Final Day.
If you’d asked me, before the anime aired, exactly what sort of original scenes I wanted to see coming out of it, a brainwashed Akane talking to Midou would not have been one of them. I ended up enjoying that talk though, as strange as it was – I’ve found it really nice getting to explore all these possibilities beyond the character routes of the original game, as unfitting as the Kagari route label has turned out to be. I wonder if Romeo made it a point to include lots more Midou – he was kind of underused I guess. This Midou also feels far more affiliated to Gaia than the Midou of the Chihaya route, who was only ever loosely linked to Gaia and mostly did whatever he wanted. I’m a little uncertain about Akane deciding to give the Earth Dragon to Midou, however. Not least of all from a technical perspective, because from what I can recall the Earth Dragon needs a hell of a lot of Gaians to power it. It was made a particular point in the game. Whilst it was fighting Kotarou in both the Akane route and in Terra, I distinctly remember its summoners repeatedly dying and getting replaced so as to enable it to continue fighting. I know Midou isn’t an ordinary summoner (and neither are Tenjin and Tenma) but are the three of them really enough to run the Earth Dragon alone? As for his life span, it looked like Midou had already half-killed himself by reviving Fuego.
At any rate, it’s a terrible time to be an Akane worshipper. I really liked the holy woman flashback at the start of the episode, along with the memories of Kashima Sakura slowly taking over her – it was mentioned in her route, but it’s amazing how similar Kotarou was to Suzaki in terms of the role they played to the holy woman vessel they loved. Makes you feel for Suzaki a bit more, and perhaps explains why he spent so much of the Akane route being so antagonistic towards Kotarou. Given that Kashima Sakura looks pretty dead, I don’t think we’re going to get to see that scene in the OP where Akane faces off against her – and not least of all, it seems like she’s already been taken over anyway. As much as I want to see her breaking out of it (and it seems like she’s trying) is that even possible? I’d actually rather see her not break out of it than break out of it because of the power of friendship. There are just some canonically established things that friendship shouldn’t be able to rewrite. See what I did there?
I guess Lucia is also guilty of this to an extent. I certainly felt the irony in Kagari saving Lucia with her ribbons. My first reaction when Chihaya brought Lucia to Kotarou and Kotori was that it could be really unsafe for Kagari. Lucci (isn’t that the cutest nickname) isn’t a bad girl by any means, but I’ve always gotten the impression that she and Shizuru are far more loyal to their organisation than, say, Chihaya has been to Gaia. Even if Kagari had saved her life, I was worried that Lucia would turn around and attempt to kill her for the sake of humanity or something. Then again, she’s already melted before from Kotarou’s overwhelming display of friendship, so it’s not implausible. Maybe that episode had an effect on events after all! Interestingly, when Kagari offered Kotori her ribbons I also had the fleeting thought that Kotori would implant them into Lucia to heal her, and so Lucia would end up just like Kotarou. That moment of hesitation Kotori felt when the ribbons were put in front of her must have been picked up by anyone who’s read the VN. While we’re on that note, more references include Kotori talking about making familiars out of corpses while a shot of Chibimoth was on the screen.
As I mentioned last week, this is literally the first and only route where so many of the occult club members band together whilst the main conflict is still going on – it’s really weird, and all the slice-of-life scenes and occasional fanservice shots really makes me want a happy end. The unfortunate reality is that a happy end for humanity (and thus our characters) implies that either Kagari is killed, or that salvation is somehow stopped, averted or doesn’t affect too many people – and it’s got to be the latter this time, right? It’s the Kagari-chan route and all. She definitely won’t survive whatever the outcome, but killing her in cold blood is a little harsh for her own route. I’m also wondering whether salvation is mutually exclusive with a happy end. I’d hesitate to call something like Terra happy, you know? The way I’m thinking of it is that if Kotarou and whichever girl he’s with end up living together happily (and not too many people end up dying, not least of all the other girls) it’s a happy end. Chihaya’s route would be the best fit for those criteria, as would Kotori’s route and to a lesser extent Akane’s. I don’t know, maybe the contaminated power spot will have an effect in stopping Kagari from singing along to the song of destruction or something. Imagine the irony in that. Lucia’s poison actually saving the world.