Everything takes a long time in this series, so it only makes sense that even the ending takes up an entire episode.
— Thanks to Kotoko’s efforts, Kuro can finally defeat Steel Lady Nanase for good. The ghost simply dissipates into thin air. She came from nothing, and now she has returned to nothing. Gotta conserve matter, folks!
— Rikka sends a conciliatory email to Kotoko, who then bristles at seeing her first name. She prefers to be called Iwanaga even by her own boyfriend. Y’know, the author also likes to refer to her as simply Iwanaga. He envisions her along the same lines as a hard-boiled detective, and since those folks are primarily known by their surname, he prioritizes Iwanaga over Kotoko. He even adds that she’s not cute enough in his own eyes to be called Kotoko-chan. I find that odd considering how our heroine is this baby-faced girl who probably isn’t even 5 foot tall. For someone who is legally an adult, her character design is bursting at the seams with neoteny. Her looks serve to deliberately contrast the rest of the women in Kuro’s life — women who are tall and slender. You can even argue that Kotoko’s lewd humor resembles a child’s precociousness. But sure, she’s not cute. Whatever you say, bro. Anyways, I call her Kotoko, because I’m just not used to referring to people by their last name.
— She and Saki talk a bit about Rikka’s motives. More specifically, our villain might be trying to create a god. That actually reminds me of something, but I’ll get to it in a bit.
— Kotoko finally leaves the car to greet her victorious boyfriend. You know they can finally relax, because she even offers up a lewd joke. This is the side of Kotoko that I enjoy, personally. It’s the side that we haven’t seen since they’ve had to take Steel Lady Nanase seriously. I mean, it’s not great, but when she isn’t trying to be humorous, it means she’s drowning you in a mountain of exposition.
— The various spirits and yokai then show up to shower their goddess with praise. After all, these are her “people.” She fights for them. It makes you wonder what Kotoko would do if she had to choose between humans and yokai. She’s smitten with Kuro, but he’s not exactly human either. And with her intelligence, she could do a lot to solve the world’s problems… but she only lifts a finger if the “natural order” is threatened. The author can take Kotoko in many directions, but unfortunately, this series hasn’t really bothered to develop her character all that much. For now, anyways, The light novels are still on-going.
— Afterwards, we get an exposition dump from Saki. People no longer believe in Steel Lady Nanase. Instead, they actually believe that Nanase might still be alive. If the power of the masses can bring about a ghost, I wonder if it can bring someone back from the dead. I mean, if Rikka wants to create a god, surely you can just revive someone…
— Saki then meets up with Kuro to wrap up a few loose ends. He talks about Rikka for a bit. He has no problems living a normal life even though he’s anything but a normal human being. Unfortunately, Rikka is the opposite. She wants to be normal again, but she’s doing everything she can to act abnormal. It’s kinda weird, isn’t it? If she and Kuro have the same powers, then why not just ignore them? No one has to know that you can’t die. And if you never put yourself in life-threatening situations, then your prediction powers will never come into play either. Why not just be like Kuro and live a normal life? Well, we don’t really know. We mainly know of Rikka through other people. We’ve never gotten a chance to hear Rikka’s thoughts from her own mouth. As a result, hard to say what she’s actually thinking and why she has come to the conclusion that she needs to put people’s lives in danger in order to achieve her own dreams of normalcy. Kuro thinks that his cousin might simply have a monstrous heart. Hm, I dunno…
— Still, that god thing is somewhat interesting. It actually reminds me a lot of the latest Final Fantasy XIV expansion. When an ancient race was threatened by a world-ending threat, they decided that they needed to create a god strong enough to protect them. But what if your god enslaves you? People who opposed this plan decided to create their own god… to defeat the first god. It sounds silly when I put it like that — and I swear that Shadowbringers does a better job of telling the story — but it really makes me wonder… would Kotoko have to fight fire with fire one day to stop Rikka? Technically, our heroine is already considered a goddess. But meh, she doesn’t really have god-like powers.
— After all the Rikka stuff, Kuro and Saki mutually agree that their romantic relationship is over. Hell, they won’t even entertain a platonic relationship. Is this really the last time that we’ll ever see Saki in this series?
— I just find it weird that Saki is straight up afraid to even touch Kuro. After all, he still looks and acts like a normal person… for the most part. Fine, he isn’t scared of a kappa… so what? Oh well. That’s just who she is, I guess. She lost a good relationship and she’s okay with it.
— Plus, all of Kuro’s talk about Kotoko being fearless feels like a slight (most likely unintentional) dig at Saki. When they saw a kappa together, Saki just bailed. And even though she had known Kuro for years, she still ended up being scared of him. But other than the fact that he can’t die, how is he any less human than anyone else in her life? On the other hand, Kuro seems really impressed that Kotoko is brave. He thinks she’s got more courage than him! In other words, he needs someone who isn’t scared to love a monster, and our heroine can do what Saki couldn’t.
— Well, even if Saki wanted to, it’s too late for her to change her mind. Kuro obviously cares more about Kotoko then he lets on. He openly states that she deserves to be happy. Doesn’t everyone deserve to be happy? So it’s obvious that Kuro isn’t trying to express some empty platitude. He actually does have some sort of feelings for her, and this is the only way he can express it in front of others like Saki. Besides, his ex-girlfriend should know him pretty well, and her reaction is also pretty telling.
— Back at the hotel, Kotoko finally wakes up from her ridiculous 28-hour slumber, and she’s naturally frustrated that she allowed herself to take her eyes off of Kuro. Again, he’s not the sort to cheat, but whatever.
— Weird, her dress comes in plastic wrap.
— I’m also slightly surprised that she even bothered to put a towel on.
— So what’s next? Well, what do you think? It’s a 24-min denouement, so we still have more stuff to dryly discuss. Y’know, like how their plan is to try and locate Rikka. Let’s just talk it out! Technically, Rikka’s actions led to a man’s death, so she’s a murderer. It might not be considered first-degree murder, but you can at least nail her for manslaughter. I just don’t know how talking it out makes sense if we are concerned with preserving the natural order. Well, maybe I’m mistaken. For me, restoring justice is important. Restoring justice not only keeps things in balance, but it respects a person’s autonomous will. If you choose to do bad things, then it’s only fitting that you are punished accordingly. We must respect the actions that others have willingly taken. But who knows? Maybe justice isn’t as important in Kotoko’s natural order.
— Alright, you guys lasted this long, so the author’s gonna throw you a bone. The author’s gonna give you some lovey-dovey stuff… as much as Kuro can manage, anyways. We are told a myth about how Iwa-Naga-hime was rejected by a human, and as a result, we are “cursed” with short, fleeting lives. Kuro uses this story as a roundabout way to say that he needs his Iwanaga. He needs someone who can be with him not just because he’s immortal, but because he isn’t entirely human. It’s pretty romantic… but again, in a roundabout sort of way.
— You’d think our heroine would be thrilled with this, but she instead harps on the fact that Iwa-Naga-hime was rejected for being ugly. You just can’t win…
— …and yet Kuro still takes another shot. Fine, roundabout doesn’t work? Let’s be direct.
— And for his efforts, Kuro is rewarded with a playing-hard-to-get princess instead. Hoo boy. For someone who constantly jokes about having sex with her boyfriend, Kotoko sure has no idea what to do when she is loved in return. Sigh.
— But whatever. Actions speak louder than words, anyways. Too bad it looks like he’s holding his daughter’s hand. But hey, that’s a wrap!
— I accidentally summed up my thoughts on the series in last week’s post, so I’ll just give an even quicker version here. I’ve read the manga, and I actually enjoy it. When I can read at my own pace — which is really, really fast — all the exposition goes by in a blur. As a result, they’re not so painful. I almost forget that these characters are being developed at a snail’s pace. But when you force me to sit down and watch this series as an anime adaptation, all of the story’s warts come to the surface. It’s just too boring to sit there and listen to Kotoko drone on and on about stuff. I do think that her character can be very interesting, but I just don’t know when — if ever — we’ll get there.