Because I lost count somewhere, or because anime don’t usually run on New Year’s Eve (eve), I watched this entire episode thinking it was Shingeki no Bahamut’s finale. That happens from time to time (at least to me) and it always makes those last few minutes a bit of a strange experience. I even remembered last week’s preview saying this would be the last episode (it didn’t) for some reason. Needless to say there were a couple of scary moments before I figured out what was going on.
In a sense (well, just generally too) I’m glad this wasn’t the last episode because of the type of ep it was. Bahamut does these epic free-for-all blockbusters better than any series this season, probably, and this one was one of the best. But I like my final episodes to save time for the characters, and there was just no space for a coda this week – the schedule was too jam-packed with everyone, everything and the kitchen sink.
I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a character who’s played any major role in the series who didn’t show up this week (including a hilarious Cerberus cameo), and quite a few who haven’t dropped by besides. First things first – should have trusted my instincts on Lavalley, as I was right about him all along (as I suspected last week). My current read is that he’s some kind of twisted idealist who thinks summoning Bahamut is the best thing for everyone, but even if that’s the case it doesn’t make him any less of a baddie.
It was a busy week for just about everybody, but I think Kaisar had the flashiest appearance. He fell off the world at least four times by my count – managing to get in a “Favaro!” on a couple of them – only to be saved by stray anchors, passing bicentenarian lolis and demon allies of convenience. He also put a crossbow bolt in Favaro’s chest after determining that he was in fact truly a demon (that was the best scene in the episode, IMHO) but clearly took no pleasure in the act. I think Rita’s reaction when saving Kaisar was as close as we’ve seen to an honest expression of emotion from her in the entire series, too.
Pretty much everyone got into the act here – even the Gods descending from Heaven when the shit really hit the fan. Bacchus engaged in far more physical activity than he did in the first ten eps combined, proving himself a fairly able fighter in the process. Jeanne rode in hellion-style and offed three archangels before the dying Michael managed to pop Rita’s anti-demon potion pill down her throat, French-style (very un-Angelic). Azazel chose in the end to save Kaisar (theoretically so he could settle the score later) and do battle with Martinet and Beelzebub. In short, it was a glorious clusterfuck – the kind of thing Shingeki no Bahamut does really well. Between the soundtrack and the almost balletic grace with which the seeming chaos is depicted, this show puts on a clinic that puts most Hollywood action flicks (live and animated) to shame.
That certainly leaves us with a lot to cover in next week’s finale – pretty much everything, in fact – but again, my hope is that there’ll be a bit more time to breathe than there was this week. I’m still half-expecting Kaisar to take Martinet out bounty hunter style, and more than half-expecting Favaro to turn out to be the night fated to take down Bahamut. As to what’s going to turn him back into a human, that’s still undetermined – if Kaisar had something tricky planned with that crossbow bolt he sure wasn’t letting it on at the time. But if I don’t get at least a soupçon of emotional closure between Favaro, Kaisar and Amira I’ll be sorely disappointed.