I still can’t quite complete the mental connection confirming that Arata Kangatari is down to the final episode. It seems so utterly absurd on the face of it when watching the anime, and the most incredible thing is that I still don’t really have any idea of what Satelight is going to do to wrap this up. If I hope anything about the anime, I suppose, it’s that it gave viewers at least some notion of why the manga is as good as it is. There’s a very well-conceived, complex and interesting premise at work here, with some amazing world-building and superb art.
As to whether that’s been accomplished I’m the wrong person to answer, but from my perspective I think Yasuda-sensei has managed to put together a pretty entertaining series. The visuals are probably as big a disappointment to me as the curtailed story – the character designs are fine but there’s little of the lush beauty of Yuu Watase’s art here and the animation is pretty low-rent. Even now, this close to the end, the anime is still hewing more closely to the story than I would ever have imagined – the Yorunami battle was actually quite faithful (most of the changes came in the buil-up last week).
In truth I don’t think Yorunami’s arc is one of the more compelling in the manga, and I wouldn’t have minded seeing it skipped in favor of greater focus on Arata in Tokyo and on Akechi and Kannagi. Yorunami’s Mommy-obsessed storyline is pretty standard even in the original, and it didn’t even have Kadowaki’s presence as a wild-card to spice it up a little. I think you can see even in this episode that Kannagi is a much more intriguing character, and we’ve just barely begun to scratch the surface with Akechi – I quite liked his scene with Kadowaki this week, because it shows us that Kadowaki is a truly dedicated psycho if nothing else, and that Akechi is someone who can really respect a good grudge.
It’s frustrating to think just how many interesting elements of this story are never going to see the screen. I’m not sure now why Satelight even bothered to tease Arata’s story as much as they did, because he hasn’t even appeared in two episodes – despite the fact that we now have a very dangerous Harunawa running around in Tokyo – and it’s hard to see him getting more than a minute or two in the final episode. I would imagine that will focus mostly on Hinohara battling with Kadowaki, though whether they’ll give us a definitive result of any flavor I wouldn’t even hazard a guess. I expect we will see some sort of “ending”, but I find myself hoping it’s very open-ended because I don’t see any way to do otherwise without completely losing credibility.