So, the finale for AKB0048. I’m going to combine these final four episodes in one entry.
Episode 23… did not start out well. I have no idea what happened here, but this episode felt really weird in which the characters suddenly detoured in this weird mushroom world for no reason other than to stall time. And I can understand building up for the finale, but when the characters randomly started singing with these weird creatures I can only imagine Shoji Kawamori poking his nose into the script here demanding some Macross references or something.
Things got much better in episode 24 which surprisingly focused on the fathers of Nagisa and Chieri. That had a surprising amount of depth to it, especially from Nagisa’s father, and I really liked that. The creators also with this dropped the whole Chieri’s father being evil-subplot, so I’m glad that the creators did not intend that as the eventual climax.
What they did intend as the climax became clear with episode 25, as people started diving into the other world: the AKB48 Theater. It really does symbolize well how this series has changed. The first season of AKB was all about criticizing the idol business. The second season however, is about celebrating it and all of its weirdness. The way in which it showed where AKB started was a really big hint to that for me. Personally I like the first season over the second because of that. But this was not bad either. There is plenty to like in the second season, just not as much. I mean I quite liked how the people from Akibastar changed as well with Des getting more on the foreground again.
Episode 26 had something to live up to, because my favorite episode so far was the final episode of the first season. So did the second season live up to that? Well, it spelled out its message a bit too literally. “Please don’t hate entertainment.” That message alone would have been incredibly cheesy out of context, unfortunately. Within context, I can see what they’re getting from, but I do feel that it lacks substance compared to the first season.
I also feel that Nagisa becoming a successor…. came a bit from out of nowhere. Suddenly they’re like “oh, here she is now!” It’s too sudden and forced for someone who used to be unable to do anything for a very long time. The ending was cheesy, though I did enjoy the part where Chieri just dived into that spaceship as if it was nothing, to tell everyone to stop fighting.
I think that this was a case of Mari Okada taking up too many series this season. AKB, Sakurasou and Zetsuen no Tempest all had endings that could have been more and lacked a bit of creativity. If she had more time then she could have done something interesting with them. With this though, she was oveworked. Ideally, she needs to work on two series at the same time, and no more. She has shown that she’s able to handle those and deliver some really great things. Three is too much though…
Rating: 4/8 (Enjoyable)