Shock! Gasp! Surprise! A major character actually put on weight!? In anime where characters always need to look perfect!?
I mean, once in a while we get overweight side characters here and there, like Nishida in this series. But the main antagonist? It’s really been a while since we had one of those, let alone characters whose physique changes so drastically. Of course it’s a bit exaggerated here, but this was nevertheless a really interesting twist.
Heck, I’m really baffled here. Ever since the show was announced, I’ve been dreading this moment: the ending, knowing that there was no way for this show to end well. And here, this show actually pulls off a stunning penultimate episode.
I don’t care about wrapping things up, but for me an ending needs to take the series, its themes, characters and push them even further. So yeah, the actual king and queen match are a great way for this show to close off. This really goes against all conventions. I really was expecting this show ending with Chihaya playing some random match, as is the norm with all other sports shows. And instead, this episode was completely different, yet completely in line with the rest of the series. It shows the level that Chihaya has yet to reach: a match between two players of actual Queen material. She played them both, but actually watching the two of them play taught her how much she still needs to grow. Shinobu blew her away in the first match, but in this episode she really became human. And again we’ve got another top player who becomes a bit weaker (yet much more intriguing) due to some imperfection or laziness.
I really admire the guts of the creators to not have this episode revolve around Chihaya (like the entire rest of the series), but instead put two side-characters into the spotlights. These kinds of creative twists are some that I can really appreciate, especially when the characters in question are so damn good. Chihaya herself also had a great place in this episode so she still is the main character here.
Now, I have a message to the next episode: end with an ACTUAL ending. I don’t want to see a sequel hook, or the feeling that there still is going to be some sort of next episode or something. It’s obvious that this show isn’t going to get a sequel, now make use of that! What I want is “here is an awesome and creative climax that pushes the characters to new levels!” not “thanks for watching and let’s hope that someday we can tell the rest of this story…” This show deserves it!
Rating: *** (Awesome)