So, I guess that this is where the string of awesome endings ends then. This episode on its own was already pretty lukewarm, but I have to be harsh after having seen such a string of fantastic endings: this episode could have been much better.
First of all, the technical terms. This series had consistently the best animation of the entire season, so you’d expect the animators to really go all out this season. And instead they come with a finale where people mostly stand and talk about cheesy morals and values. Oh sure, there was eye candy, but everything suddenly happens in still frames. It still looks better than many other series this season, but it just didn’t live up to the standards this series set.
The production values weren’t necessarily the problem, but the dialogue was: it was dull. not well built up and wasn’t what this series had been building up to in the first place. Characters just stand helplessly after attacking… once, and they just talk about trying to convince Takeo not to emo. That’s just cheesy.
In the end, my biggest fear for this show turned out to be true: Hisako is a freaking Mary Sue. None of the regular characters did anything in this episode, just so that Hisako could take the spotlight. This series refuses its cast to shine just because of Hisako. Cyclops only got a few lines to get over Jean’s death while this episode just kept repeating Takeo over and over.
In the end, I’m unfortunately going to have to rate this as high as Wolverine. I still think that it’s better than Wolverine: its action and animation are just too superior for that, but the plot of the X-Men just turned out to be a disappointment. The only thing that I can really praise is the way in which Sasaki Yui was actually the villain, but even that was just glossed over in this episode thanks to Hisako’s “Sasaki is a good person!”-thing. The thing is that I really like a good action series, but this series ignored just too many chances to shine thanks to Hisako. Storm and Cyclops got reduced to mere side characters who never got to do anything. The direction of the series in the small scale is really good. In terms of the bigger picture though, it left a lot to be desired. Compare that to Wolverine: it knew what it was, it delivered on that and it made sure it was really entertaining in the process. The token female also knew who she was and what her part was, and it nicely made all its subplots come together and give all of them a nice conclusion in the end.
It’s a shame, because I saw the two big flaws of this series coming from very early on in the series. The way in which the series kept juggling around villains was bound to backfire: Sasaki Yui was the big exception because she tied the U-Men together, but when the focus suddenly turned to Takeo the show fell apart: we know just too little of him, and the cheesy messages to get him back in this episode had no meaning behind them whatsoever. It’s just the same cheesy morals that you see everywhere. We never really saw anything from Takeo to warrant this.
It’s the thing about enjoyment again: I really enjoyed the X-Men, but the flaws are big enough to leave a bad taste; especially this episode. Wolverine in comparison was consistently entertaining and left no bad taste whatsoever. The big problem with this series in the end was that it didn’t know what it wanted to be: on one hand it wanted to be an action series. That’s fine, but then don’t throw in Takeo or Hisako. On the other hand they wanted to focus on child mutants and their issues. If that’s the case, then drop the action or at the very least make it a much less significant part of the series, get a good voice actress for Hisako and focus more on their characters. This series tried to do both and got tied up.
And I now just realize that I typed up half of the review of the actual series. Um yeah. Expect a lot of repeats in the actual review…
Rating: – (Disappointing)