For the majority of this episode, I kept thinking whether this really was the right content when the series is going to end in two weeks. I mean, it was a good episode and that punch that Takuto gave to his father definitely was awesome, but right now a lot of pressure has been put on the finale: it’s all going to have to happen within two episodes. It’ll either be short but really, really sweet, or a rushed mess that leaves a bad taste.
I can see what this episode was trying to do: build up. They used the remaining Vanishing Age as quite an effective build-up for the finale, along with building Sugata up to e the king of the Crux brigade (continuing to build-up from where the first half left off, though that didn’t make his entrance any less weird). It was very focused, but perhaps a bit too focused at this stage. I’m not going to judge whether it was a wise move or not until I’ve seen that ending, though. Short finales can be just as awesome as long climaxes, if not even more, though they tend to be a very double-edged sword.
I do have another criticism, though: I’m not really interested in the fight scenes anymore. I tried to defend this early on, but in the end the big problem with the battles in this series is that they just all look like each other. They don’t stand apart, and the way that they always take place in the same setting with the same recycled frames, the creators really needed to make every battle stand out with some creative ideas, and in the end they didn’t. Utena faced the same problems, but there the creators managed to overcome this wonderfully.
Rating: * (Good)