Listeners Ep. 12 (Final): Resonance

Welp, time for the final performance of the night.

— The finale starts out exactly as you might expect it to. Echo is calling out to Mu, but she denies that existence of herself.

— Meanwhile, everyone is worried. After all, they got their butts collectively kicked, so there’s no way a single boy and his self-made Equipment can get the job done, right? Well, Roz disagrees. The Equipment itself is just an extension of the Player. Your true strength lies within your song and how strongly you believe in it. Echo loves and accepts Mu whereas everyone else just wanted to stop her rampage. It’s corny, but have you ever paid attention to the lyrics of most love songs? They’re corny as hell.

— But Echo, that’s a tautology.

— For Mu and the Earless, they are going wild because they’re tired of being persecuted. Boy, that sounds familiar. Obviously, destroying the world isn’t right. Obviously, nobody wants to resort to violence that ends up hurting innocent people. But when you push a group of people into a corner, you shouldn’t be surprised if they suddenly lash out. And if their violence is the only reason you’re now paying attention, that says a lot more about you than it does about them.

— Mu bids the world goodbye and starts destroying it. The Players nearby can protect refugees within their vicinity, but I wonder how many people ended up dying in these big cities. But let’s be optimistic, since this isn’t a depressing anime with downer message. Let’s pretend that everyone safely evacuated.

— Eventually, Echo finds it within himself to push back against Mu’s destructive song. But this isn’t like a beam war in your typical shounen. Instead, his song combines with hers and creates a resonance. The end result pacifies all of the rampaging Earless and halts the violence.

— Somehow, Tommy shows up long enough to talk about how humans and the Earless are really no different. I guess being absorbed into the King of the Earless has given him a change of heart. Kinda amusing, but ultimately meaningless. He never really had much of a presence in the story. He simply served to put Mu in this terrible position.

— To finish the job, Echo gathers even more speakers so that his song can penetrate Mu’s walls and reach her heart. In doing so, he gets to have a one-on-one conversation with her — the same conversation they should have had back in Londinium. Maybe if he had never put it off, Mu wouldn’t have fallen under Tommy’s influence. Ah well, we’ll never know.

— In any case, Mu’s back to her old self, but she ends up falling into that very same pit that Echo had fallen into back in the first episode. This time, it’s his turn to dive in recklessly and save her. I can’t help but think of something George Lucas once said. It’s like poetry! It rhymes! But to be fair, most songs are structured so that a melody or phrase is repeated…

My, my, my, what a declaration.

— Afterwards, a warm light bathes the world. I guess this is what love looks like, because even Nir is happy now. She no longer wants to get her revenge.

— Suddenly, we see Jimi say a few lines. I’m still not exactly clear on what happened to him that day or where he’s been since then. Maybe he’s actually been long dead. Maybe humanity’s true folly is sitting on their butts and doing nothing, because they’re content to wait for their savior to pluck them out of their misery.

— Obviously, we shouldn’t fear others just because they’re different than us. Jimi also reiterates, however, that we shouldn’t deny that those differences exist either. For example, lots of people think that the solution to racism is to simply be colorblind. This approach empirically doesn’t work. Discrimination still exists, and by teaching people to ignore the differences between us, we’re just making it harder for people to recognize bigotry whenever it shows up. Rather, we should embrace the differences. Jimi’s message isn’t anything new, but obviously, this sentiment hasn’t exactly sunk in for humanity in general. Sure, it’ll work in this anime, because it’s a made-up fantasy world where everything works out for the best. Reality, however, is not so understanding.

— Jimi also says that the first Player-Earless cycle has ended. So this conflict is doomed to repeat itself?

— In the aftermath, the Earless have taken on a much more human-looking form, and they’re now coexisting peacefully with humans.

— Kevin is back in charge of Londinium, but he has enough spare time to further his relationship with Bilin. I was never, however, exactly clear about their relationship. They have the same last name, so I’ve always assumed that they were a married couple. This is the first time, however, that they’ve been overtly romantic with each other.

— As for Denka, his floating Equipment has been repaired, so I guess he’s gonna go on tour again?

— Roz’s city is now teeming with life, which is neat… I guess. I’m not sure what to make of the Dada sisters, though. They’re now even more Dada than ever. Yeah, you’re seeing it right; the sisters have somehow turned into talking monoliths.

— If you thought the Dada sisters were weird, Lyde and Ritchie have somehow been brought back to life. No, I don’t get it either. I mean, it’s not like Tommy’s back, so not everyone gets a second chance at life.

— Echo is now a legend, so naturally, he has his own entry within the Players’ Almanac. People also come from all over the world to visit Liverchester. It’s like a pilgrimage, I suppose. The mayor hasn’t bothered to clear out all of the trash, either. The dump is now part of the city’s sacred aesthetic. In fact, I wonder if the world still sends all of their trash to the city…

— Kids also visit Swell’s bar to learn more and share stories about her brother. I believe the girl with the platinum hair is the one who actually met Jimi when he briefly showed up. I’m not sure what significance this has, though.

— Last but not least, Echo and Mu are still on an adventure to see the world, and the boy is still as clueless as ever. The boy is no longer a Player, though. After all, he only became one because he had a mission to save Mu. Now that he’s accomplished that, he no longer needs to be a Player. What’s lame, however, is that he has no memories of what happened that day. Oh well, I guess it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the two kids are together again.

— Overall, Listeners has a certain level of charm, but I really wish it could’ve been twice as long. I feel as though Echo and Mu’s relationship could’ve used more development. Not only that, I would’ve liked to have seen more of the world and learn more about the supporting cast. The story felt kind of rushed, so I never really formed an emotional attachment to anyone. Oh well, the soundtrack was decent at least.

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