It’s strange. This episode was far from perfect. Like expected after the previous episode, a lot of things indeed had to be crammed in one episode. We still don’t know where Masayuki’s mother went (either that, or it was mentioned somewhere in a previous episode and I didn’t pick it up), and just happily reappeared again at the end of this episode. Makoto’s mother also didn’t show up at all, and this episode yet introduced all kinds of new concepts. Compared to the extremely solid series, this episode wasn’t careful in its building up at all. So why did I like this episode so much?
I think that there are a couple of different endings a series can choose. Endings often used in comedies and light-hearted series are the “life goes on”-ending, the “there is no ending”. There’s also the “aftermath ending”, where nothing exciting happens and instead the series closes off with a quiet episode. Then there are the series who want to end with a bang, and they can usually be divided into three categories.
In the least exciting of the three, the final episode just takes the end of the semi-final episode and wraps up all the threads that were still left hanging from it. Most of the series from the past fall and winter-season belong in this category, and while it’s nice and all, I don’t really see such an ending as anything special. Shion no Ou is one of the few series who actually made such an ending really work, but that series was awesome to begin with.
In the second category, the creators basically solve all of the problems in the semi-final episode, apart from one major thing. Think of it as, the evil emperor’s plans have all been destroyed, and now all that’s left is to defeat the evil emperor himself. These endings are usually very solid ones, take Clannad’s ending, or one of my favourites: Bokura no. These endings, however, also have a tendency to get quite boring if you’re not into the series.
And then the third, which is my personal favourite but also an incredibly double-edged sword: introduce new things in the final episode. And this is exactly where Ghost Hound’s ending belongs. There were only four series for the past season who did this, I think: Mokke, Ghost Hound, Hakaba Kitarou and Wellber no Monogatari. While Wellber’s ending was a string of bad ideas, the other three contained some of my favourite endings of the past season, simply because you really won’t know what to expect. A lot of my favourite endings are also of this type (Ooedo Rocket, The Third, Night Head Genesis, Noein), and now I finally see the resemblances.
But yeah, endings like these can also go horribly wrong, simply because there’s so much that happens in just one episode. Ghost Hound barely avoided this, and thankfully it more than made up for this by resolving more than I thought it would. Hirata gets a very nice closure, and in the end, it didn’t leave a bad taste behind.
Strangely enough, my favourite character in this episode ended up Michio. He was really fun to watch as he tried to use the ghosts of the deceased bioids to get rid of the strange typhoon. The old guy in the woods got a very interesting role as observer, along with a bunch of psychics who were alarmed by Noriko’s actions. And of course Tarou looked awesome in his priestess-outfit.
And really, what was up with that sudden landslide that destroyed the Oogami house? I guess that the spirits must have been pretty angry at Noriko. ^_^;;
The thing about this episode was also that it lets the viewer figure out what happened, and gets away with it pretty well. Either that or I didn’t pay attention during the previous episode in which everything about that typhoon got explained. Makoto suddenly summoned his ghost hound in front of a bunch of goons, at first sight this may have come from nowhere, but I guess that with the typhoon, certain spirits that would have been invisible otherwise appeared for everyone to see.
The same goes for that green-haired guy. I’m still surprised that he featured such little screen time. He was just there, never said anything, stole the completed bioid and threw it in the lake. After that, he’s gone! With no traces left behind. Did that guy work for Noriko as well, or did he have his own plans in the end?
And in the end, Tarou has managed to figure out what happened to his sister’s spirit. Miyako wasn’t the reincarnation of her at all, it indeed seems that the two just looked alike. Instead, she has been inside Tarou all this time. This episode also ended on an interesting note, with a picture being taken, just like what happened with Makoto’s parents.