Well there you have it. The good end, and it was EXACTLY how I wanted it… well almost. Anyone not familiar with the Visual Novel will probably have a hard time understanding this and there in part, consider this a Dues Ex Machina ending (google the term if you don’t know what it means). And of course the real critics will argue that the adaptation fails because it doesn’t provide a good explanation for the ending that accessable to everyone. After watching the episode, I would’ve accepted that argument….
Until I rewatched the entire series with my friends recently. From the very begininng, there have been hints dropped of the After Story. Most critically, any discusion about parallel worlds is VERY important. Taking all the hints into account, the imaginary world and the good ending aren’t given a poor explanation in 10 minutes, but rather have a very in depth explanation that spans over 45 episodes.
So how do I interpret the end? First of all, the tragedies of Tomoya’s life, that we saw from episodes 16 to 21, weren’t taken for granted. They actually happened. And the knowledge and the mistakes of that world are passed on the Tomoya of the good ending, where they undeniably take a part in him raising Ushio.
Okay, well, maybe the ending isn’t THAT solid. But any issues at this point can easily be blamed on a common issue that unavoidable for visual novel adaptations: adapting a non-linear storyline into a linear one. But taking that into consideration, if anything, it HELPS prove that Kyoto Animation did an amazing job adapting the story. I mean, give it to any other studio, odds are that they would’ve given up, and probably do a half-assed job on an anime-original ending.
Argument aside, I do have to say though, that this episode was far from perfect. I know it sounds hypocritical after I spent 4 paragraphs defending the ending; but note my word choice. I was defending the ending, not the episode, in particular, the last third. If anything, that Fuuko moment was a) drawn out and b) detracted from the impact of the episode. It should’ve ended at the second cut and the episode should’ve spent more time leading up the the climax. I mean, when the insert song ended, I REALLY wished that the episode ended there as well, it would’ve been PERFECT.
First 2/3rds: 10/10 Last 1/3rd: 7/10
(So I used 11 photos… so sue me…) For your enjoyment, some “where are they now” pics =D