She was only half awake, but hurray!
In retrospect, this finale was severely lacking. Yet somehow, it managed to be completely satisfying during the watch.
Hishamaru At Last
Kon all grown up is no pushover.
So there we have it. The foxgirl is out of the bag and Hishamaru is revealed to be Kon all along. Not sure how to feel about that but she’s cute so that’s OK. More seriously though, it is kind of romantic to think that she waited all this time and even had her powers sealed just so she could meet her master reincarnated. Her boost in power is also a welcome addition, as she’s shown to be capable of overwhelming Reiji in a head-on confrontation. I do wish she could have used a bit more of her apparently considerable powers before now though, since she’s always come across as a bit of a joke. Remember that time when she tried and failed miserably (twice) to take on that chimera in episode 9? But understandably dropping too many hints early on would have ruined the whole thing for us viewers, so all things considered I guess Tokyo Ravens handled her in the best way possible. In fact, I thought that twist was a pretty good one. I totally didn’t see it coming, yet it didn’t feel like an ass-pull at all and actually made sense now that we know the whole story.
Untied Loose Ends
I don’t know why Harutora would want to meet with Takiko ever again.
Moving on, I can more or less breeze through this episode in terms of content because honestly not that much happens. Harutora overcomes the obstacles in his way and successfully revives Natsume with the help of his friends, his new (or is it old?) familiars Hishamaru and Kakugyouki, and Suzu. And they all lived happily ever after. Or something like that. Obviously I’m glossing over a lot of the finer details, but the point is that this finale actually left a lot of questions unanswered and a lot of issues unresolved. For one, it left matters with the “bad guys” completely up in the air. Harutora encounters Takiko on his way to Natsume and she just lets him on by after a brief, tense moment. I get the feeling this was meant to be an apology for what happened to Natsume, but as she herself says, just letting him by without incident in no way makes up for it. I was expecting a bit more closure than a “let us meet again,” like maybe a more extended conversation about her actions. But seeing as Harutora’s immediate objective was Natsume I suppose there wasn’t any time for talk.
Chief Amami, still alive and kickin’.
Next there’s the issue of the Onmyoji Bureau still being technically controlled by Yakou fanatics. With the revelation of Amami’s survival and his subsequent rescue by Douman, I figured he would spread the word to other Onmyoji and organize some sort of coup against Genji to finally flush the fanatics out of their ranks once and for all. Remember when he was all big on that? Well, it turns out that others aren’t likely to take up arms even knowing the truth, and are instead content with preserving the current status quo. I don’t disagree with Zenjirou’s statement that the Bureau has done so much to preserve order and both regulate and nurture the Onmyoji arts, but I can’t agree with his unstated opinion that it is “too big to fail.” Sure, the Bureau’s reputation will take a significant hit once the fact comes out that it is being lead by the very troublemakers it seeks to apprehend, and that information is sure to get out if a coup were to take place. But the Bureau that he is trying to protect is the one that protects innocent bystanders from disasters and other spiritual misdeed, not the one that is exploited by its leaders for their own selfish goals. At this rate, the organization will only end up as a tool for Genji and his sympathizers. Better to take it down and rebuild from square one before it comes to that.
Why is Harutora leaving these great friends behind? And what about those ears?!
Finally we have the biggest issue: that of Harutora, Natsume, and their friends. Harutora successfully bringing Natsume back from the dead is good and all (though Suzu hints there might still be a few strings attached). But what about what happens next? I know that the show has been working towards this resurrection of Natsume for the past few episodes, but just having her alive again isn’t quite a good stopping point. Why is Harutora leaving her when he should by all rights be staying by her side until she fully recovers? Does it perhaps have something to do with the potential catches that Suzu alludes to? And if he’s on part two of the quest to save Natsume, why is he keeping his friends out of the loop? They have been with him for all this time, not to mention their help has been invaluable for him to reach the current point. So why ditch them now? That’s kind of cold, so the least the show can do is give us a bit of an explanation. Especially if they’re inevitably going to catch up with him anyway since that’s what’s going to happen. And, returning to the root of the issue, what exactly is Natsume’s status? Clearly she’s alive again, but it doesn’t exactly look like she’s back up to perfect working condition.
Basically the biggest problem with this episode was that it felt like just another stepping stone towards the ultimate end. If you think about it, the only thing that was really addressed was the immediate matter of Natsume’s life. Now, there is a common saying that most anime is intended to serve only as promotional material for the source material. In which case, I would agree that Tokyo Ravens is a picture perfect example of a teaser for the LN. But I personally don’t believe that this excuses leaving things way too open-ended. There are some cases in which an open-ended conclusion is acceptable, depending on the story and on whether there is an intended sequel in the works. And neither of those apply here (for now). In spite of everything from a marketing stand-point, I maintain that an anime should always stand alone as its own work. And in that way, the finale for Tokyo Ravens was pretty disappointing. That said, I have to immediately take back my statement because somehow the episode actually felt sufficient while I was watching it. Maybe it was the ever spectacular action, the final big reveal of Hishamaru, or the touching reunion between Harutora and Natsume, but I was so caught up in the moment that it was only way after the experience that I realized how little was actually resolved. So good on you, 8bit. You managed to make what should have been a mediocre at best ending seem great.
So what’s next? Read the LN?