Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara – 11

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Take the blue pill, Souta-kun!

Gao, gao! indeed.  In a series full of wild plot twists and whiplash mood swings, this episode more than any of the ones than came before it felt like it was straight out of left field.  I don’t know whether the anime is veering off the source material towards an original ending or simply cramming a whole lot of LN material into the final episodes, but this week sure felt disconnected to me – both the mostly light and comic first half and the expositionally supercharged second.

As if things weren’t crazy enough, there’s pretty much no series than can’t by made crazier with the addition of Aoi Yuuki as an idol (just ask the gang at the Iori Model Shop).  Ginyuuin Serica is a wildly over-the-top sendup of an idol character, which makes perfect sense given that everyone in the cast is pretty much the same as relates their trope.  I love Aoi-san as fans of this blog know, but Serican honestly didn’t do all that much for me comedically, and she felt very shoehorned into the plot – yes, I know we needed a “Bard” in order for Souta’s prophecy to be complete, but she ended up being way more important than any buy-in to her character justified.

Indeed, the best thing about Serican’s character was the impact it had on Nanami, who it turns out is a major Serican otaku (and I’m guessing an idol otaku generally).  It was pretty funny watching the fangirl do battle with the tsundere (and usually winning) as the gang prepared for Serica’s big concert (why this school in Hatagaya gets a concert from a famous idol at their culture festival I’m not sure) and the dance party afterwards – at which Souta is committed to dance with the tropes gallery in its entirety, all of whom have bought fancy gowns (including Meg, who just doesn’t get the whole concept of not wanting to be a trap).

During said concert, something very strange happens – a “light flag” appears on Serica’s head and connects to everyone in the audience, including him.  Everyone but him freezes, and Souta sees binary code in addition to flags everywhere he looks.  At this point Number Zero reappears, drops a few exposition bombs and then the big one – this entire world is nothing but a virtual one, created by the House of Seven Virtues, and it’s only one of thousands.  Souta’s power is needed to defeat “Angelus Gemini”, and if he stays in this world his growing power won’t cause it to freeze next time – it’ll simply crash (and I assume take down all the virtual people inside).

Again, I’m not sure how canon all this is, but it sure is a big leap at this point in the story.  There’s still stuff we don’t know, such as why Nanami is different from everyone else – it’s not just the lack of flags, but she remembers Souta when the others start to forget him.  Is she, like he, a “real” person?  Is there a difference?  But on balance all this feels like an attempt to have a real ending come hell or high water, rather than something that was properly foreshadowed and grew organically out of the story.  Gaworare has earned a good measure of trust from me by now and I have faith in Watanabe-sensei, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t going to need a lot of convincing in the next two episodes.

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  1. D

    "What the hell?" was basically my reaction as well. I mean, I suppose it's not as much of a stretch as it seemed at first – instead of based on magic or divine powers, his powers are all technology-based. A vast majority of the human race is trapped inside a giant computer (besides that Council, I suppose) and Souta can basically hack the world with his powers, which is why he's dangerous. So yeah, Matrix all the way. He's basically Neo. As for Nanami, I dunno. But considering she doesn't have any flags, I'd say she's actually less likely to be a 'real person'. For all we know, she's a special entity as well. Considering the preview, I guess that'll be cleared up next week.

    I really would've preferred some proper build-up for this though, and I think the constraints of the 13-episode format really hurt it here. I've heard from other people that the show in general is going through the source material at a breakneck speed (probably because the people involved knew it was unlikely they'd get a second season), and this is the part where it actually hurts the show. Especially with only two episodes left I hope the conclusion isn't too rushed, would be a shame it if was.

    Still, episode-wise it was still pretty entertaining. The idol girl wasn't anything too special, but watching Nanami flip her shit was hilarious. I also liked how both she and Souta were so quick on the uptake that this was the final girl in the party. Hell, I like the two of them interacting in general, making it one of those rare harems where I actually cheer for the main girl.

  2. N

    They did, they literally rearranged 2 volumes worth of materials and changed the order of events of a lot of things, before this matrix reveal which happens in Volume 8. They also excluded entirely a key character from this show, well I guess that's what we get for trying to adapt all 8-9 volumes into 13 episodes.

    So yeah we're heading down a slightly original path here, still loosely following the overall plot but a lot of details have been skipped and changed.

    But I wonder if this is starting a new cramming trend here since Brynhildr is doing the same.

  3. m

    Damn that sucks. I don't know if they started following the main story and broke off when they realized they prob wouldn't get a 2nd season, or if they just planned to cover it all right from the start. I admit I'd rather them rush through it and actually get a legit ending instead of them doing a normal pace and never ending it due to lack of BD sales. People don't appreciate good shows enough. They need to get a sense of humor and accept the fact that the things this show makes fun of not only deserve to be made fun of, but they're being made fun of with love, not out of hatred.

  4. N

    Well it's a general rule of thumb that you can safely do 2-4 volumes per 12/13 episodes depending on book size & content if you wish to retain all the pacing and details, any more than that is when you starting having to make compromises.

    You have a point, I mean ending anywhere before the 8/9th volume would have been bad. But as opposed to a second season, it could have also been solved by making the series 2 cours.

    I mean as of Episode 10 we just finished Vol5, and now at the end of Episode 11 we're in Volume 8, we're missing 2 volumes worth of story and exposition here unfortunately.

    I don't know how well the BDs are selling but this show isn't doing very well for the novels either in turns of boosting where as No Game No Life gave the novels a 300% boost.

  5. You say "it could be solved by making the series two cours" as if that were up to the writer and director. Multi-cour upfront commitments are getting rarer and rarer in anime – the evidence is unassailable. I suspect that Watanabe knew he was unlikely to get more than one season (just as he did with MGX) and decided to do what he could in 13 episodes to tell a complete story.

    As for disc sales, V.1 is out this week but it seems likely to be between 1-2K, which certainly isn't sequel territory.

  6. m

    Haha of course NGNL got a massive boost. I think this series was prob slated for one season, and they had a set path they wanted to take with hopes of getting a second season based on LN sales or BD sales. Since that hasn't worked they prob realized they have no shot at a second season and decided they want to give it a true ending, even if that ment rushing things or straying from the original material.

    I could be wrong, and they just planned it out to fit all that material, and thus had to leave parts out and rush through other parts. But I don't think that's the kind of project Watanabe would sign up for. I feel like he would have had a better pacing plan from the beginning, or at least a chosen ending point.

    It could be that, like you said, there's no good place to stop before vol8-9 and at that point you might as well finish the thing since you can't fit it all anyway, and won't have enough for a similarly paced season 2. Since they weren't given 2 cours to start, it makes me think that the choice to rush to a "true" ending was made well into the show airing. My theory is based entirely around the belief that Watanabe wouldn't accept a project that was paced poorly and rushed because there's not a lot of ways to make that work out. It's only something to do when you want to give the show an actual ending instead of an open one when you know it'll never be picked up for a second season.

  7. N


    I was talking more along the lines that I would have preferred it to be 2 cours, than half and wait to see if a second season would come around.
    MGX had the benefit of being just a straight up romance series, it didn't have this over arching plot like Kanojo does, making MGX easier to tell and finish in 13 episodes. If KanojoFlag didn't have this serious over arching plot like Noucome it probably would have been easier to tell in just 13 episodes.

    I see, I thought it wasn't doing so well due to the lack of significant novel sales increase.

    Well i'm sure it was planned, I mean he would have gone about it differently if it was 2 cours and knew it was getting a second season. And if they wished to solve the mystery behind the flags in the anime then I guess they had to choice but to make cuts to reach volume 8&9 in just 13 episodes.

    I guess this is further supported by the removal of that character, without having to tell that side of the story would allow them to rush to this "true ending" as you said, because an open ending here wouldn't be ideal unless more was to come.

  8. Or he felt – and feels – that he can give it a decent ending in one cour. This isn't a power-selling LN – I truly believe the production committee knew it was likely from the beginning that it would get just one cour. The production cycle for anime is extremely long – I just don't think it's likely major changes to the story could be accommodated after a series starts, much less in the middle of the run.

  9. N

    @Guardian Enzo
    Well yeah that's what he done, which came at the expense of a lot of things cut, skipped a rushed which if for the sake of a decent ending I guess it's all well for a single cour.

    And naturally, I wasn't trying to say this sudden direction wasn't planned from the very start just that it was wishful thinking to say that I would have preferred it to be 2 cours so that the compromises could have been kept at a minimum.

    But after looking at his profile, this seems to be his first Light Novel works as the rest have been from Manga's.

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