You know what? I’m surprised to say it, but that actually was a great ending. It’s strange, as I expected this series to fall into the pit of predictability, like so many other series did before it, but no. This actually is the second series, after The Third, that introduces a whole new arc in its semi-final episode, and actually pull off a great ending. Why did these shows avoid the thing that strikes almost every series?
I think a major point is the building up, as strange as it may seem. Usually, a show has one big climax, where the final bunch of episode work towards. Side-characters are sacrificed in order to focus to the main character, tension builds up, and things are starting to look really bad. And that’s where the problem lies. It’s so hard to make something new and fresh out of that, when these three things have already been decided. You really need a series of the calibre of Noein or Utena to really make something worthwhile out of it. Most shows, obviously, don’t have that calibre.
The thing that made Night Head Genesis so fresh was that this ending focused on some newly introduced characters, instead of the usual main characters. Naoto and Naoya are just there, doing their thing to save the world, nothing more. By making the stakes in this episode higher than ever, but focusing on something other than Naoto and Naoya, the creators did make sure that this was an appropriate ending for this anime.
The fact remains that usual endings are just way too limited. Most of them exist to show how much certain characters have grown (Good Witch of the West, for example, or Makai Senki Disgaea). Others show one major character, usually a protagonist, who has some serious issues and threatens to do something stupid (Ouran High School Host Club, NHK ni Youkoso, Magikano). The thing is that this character has to be brought back to senses, in one moment, when the climax is at its highest. That’s obviously not an example of good character development. These things take time. And there is of course the ending where the great evil has to be defeated. The problem here is obvious: the great evil has to be defeated, otherwise the ending won’t be conclusive. It becomes way too predictable. These endings have to rely on how well developed and emotional their characters work. Like I said. That’s difficult.
I loved how this episode didn’t make the worst possible scenario come true. Naoto did his thing, he made sure that the earthquake wouldn’t trigger other earthquakes, and he did this in advance. When the earthquake comes, okay, things rumble a bit, though the tension isn’t as high as when something unexpected happened which would trigger even more earthquakes, but it’s so much more realistic and enjoyable. And not to mention that the creators found another way to provide a nice twist in the ending. Not by having a main character fight for his life, but by actually killing off one of the newly introduced side-characters. Even though he’s been introduced on such short terms, his dying words were great.
And god damn, Shoko. Only now I realize that the creators really “killed off” one of my favourite characters. She really isn’t coming back. That is SO sad for her. While this ending doesn’t beat the endings of Noein, Utena or The Third, this one definitely goes into the file of “succeeded endings”. I’m glad to see that this anime avoided the pitfall that strikes almost every other anime. I’m glad to have seen this series, even though it doesn’t enjoy much popularity.