The second last update. With all three shows approaching the end, things should be getting more exciting, right?
The final battle has started, and everyone gets to participate.
Some parts here and there are almost engaging, but the action isn’t great, and it’s constantly interrupted by villain monologues. It doesn’t help that the villains (at least, Jail and Quattro) are annoying and uninteresting, so their scenes serve little purpose except aggravating the viewer and making you wish they’d get beamed in the face.
There are also so many different fights going on that it ends up bogging things down instead of being epic like it’s supposed to. Subaru is fighting her sister, Tiana is trapped by three of the Numbers, Caro and Erio are facing off against Lutecia, Fate is searching for Scaglietti, Nanoha for Vivio, Vita is heading for the ship’s engine room, Signum is chasing Zest, and Hayate is just sort of flying around directing the assault. Is this the right time to address a minor character’s hangups about his past? No, it’s not, but we’re going to do it anyway.
Is it unfair to complain that StrikerS has too many things going on while also saying it doesn’t have enough material? Maybe, but this is just a consequence of refusing to resolve anything and saving everything for the end instead. Not a single enemy was permanently defeated or befriended in the first 20 episodes of the show, so now we have to deal with these 15+ different characters.
Seirei no Moribito
Not a lot to talk about here. The immediate threat is gone, as Balsa’s group and the emperor’s men have come to an agreement. They have the same ultimate goal of protecting the prince, and each will do what they can.
While they’re hiding away waiting for spring, we get a long flashback where Balsa explains her past. When she was a child and her life was in danger, a friend of her father named Jiguro helped her escape their home country and raised her as his daughter. Most of this backstory was already explained in an earlier episode (we just weren’t shown it), so parts of this feel a little redundant. These episodes were still fine, and there was another excellently animated fight. There’s not a lot of fight scenes, but they’ve made them count.
Since Clannad is shorter than the other two series, there’s only one episode left. I don’t know what happens in it, since 22 wraps up basically everything.
Nagisa’s arc suffers from the usual Key problems. Which is to say, it’s really, really melodramatic. The basic premise is that when Nagisa was a child, her parents quit their jobs and opened a bakery so they could spend more time with her instead of being away all the time. This happened because Nagisa got sick and they had to leave her alone for 2 hours, which was enough time for her to walk out into the snow and almost die. Never leave your Key girls alone in snowy weather.
Although her father was once an aspiring actor, everyone seems perfectly happy with their present-day situation. Maybe it’s the cynic in me thinking he probably wouldn’t have made it as an actor anyway, so he’s better off this way. But they kept all this hidden from Nagisa in fear that she’d blame herself for ruining her parents’ lives. Not sure how that worked, since she was definitely old enough to have known what her parents’ jobs were. But either way, they decided to just hide their past from their daughter to avoid hurting her feelings. I sure hope she doesn’t find out about this at the most inconvenient time. Like, say, the night before her big performance.
Oh shit she did.
Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with the core concept. If you found out that your parents abandoned their dreams because of you, it’s going to make you feel a little guilty, even if it’s not directly your fault. But Clannad has to conjure up all sorts of contrivances to hammer this home, to such a degree that the buildup was starting to get on my nerves. Was it really necessary to have Nagisa watch a tape of her father performing a school play where he literally shouts that he loves theater and wants to be doing it forever?
But anyway, after some words of encouragement from her parents, she gets her act together and the play is a big success. Or maybe they just applauded out of politeness. After all, she didn’t know how the play ended so she just sang the dango song instead.