No question about it, Gaworare has been as full of surprising twists and turns as any series this season. Most of the big ones have been of the tonal variety, as the series has shifted between extremely zany comedy and strikingly dark and foreboding drama, but the last couple of episodes have been all about plot and exposition. As with Gokukoku no Brynhildr we’re seeing a transition into “save the world” mode for the last couple of episodes, and as with that show there’s something of the series’ charm that’s lost in the transition. But both shows are handling it about as well as they could under the circumstances.
It’s for moments like these that you get directors like Watanabe Ayumu, I suppose. Trying to adapt too much story into too little space is hard enough, then factoring in the sheer amount of exposition the last two eps have required makes disaster a real risk. It’s avoided because Watanabe is able to present all this infodump in a coherent matter without completely taking us out of the moment – we still care about the characters and what happens to them. Not even Watanabe is able to prevent the story from feeling less personal and connected, but I don’t think anyone could – that’s just the toll that has to be paid with this approach to adaptation.
Gaworare is clearly going for the full-on sci-fi route here, with the fantasy element being merely the trappings. There was a massive amount of new information this week, but what’s essential is that Nanami is in fact Souta’s sister – and his older sister at that. Her consciousness was split into two – half of it imprisoned in the digital world for trying to spare Souta from the fate Seven Virtues had in-mind for him, the other half sent with him to the virtual world as a “pawn” to stand by his side. And Ruri was the “original” Nanami’s attempt to connect with her other self.
There’s some other stuff that’s less clear-cut. It does seem as if Seven Virtues is trying to combat a genuine threat to humanity in the form of “Tenshi Takusei” – a threat of their own creation – but obviously Souta is merely a tool to be used until its destroyed in the process. It’s the Bladefield origin story, all right, but Souta by now seems resigned to his fate. It’s only because Nanami (given the name of the enemy I find this image of her especially interesting) stubbornly refuses to accept the disappearance of the boy only she remembers that a connection with the original Nanami is made, and the various elements of Souta’s harem are gathered together to mount a rescue mission to the digital world.
As you’d expect there isn’t time for much humor here – the last couple of episodes have been deadly serious, which while understandable is a little sad. It’s a pretty well-executed plot twist but I hope at least some time is set aside in the finale for post-crisis bonding and a little comedy. If you’re of the shipping mindset (which sort of fits this series in more ways than one) the revelations this week seem to clear the decks for Akane to cement her status as the unofficial romantic lead, as I don’t see Gaworare as the sort of series to follow the incest route – but I’ll be very surprised if that angle get much play in the finale either way.