Katt: That’s right! I’ve totally still been watching Tears to Tiara even though I haven’t been blogging! …Okay, so I’d skip a few episodes and be like, “Oh hey, I should watch this” and then catch up. But that’s still watching. And I’m even here to blog the finale! I’m not sure that anyone will be reading, but at least I’ll feel some sense of accomplishment, and that’s what counts.
For all of the flak that I gave this series when I was semi-consistently blogging it, it really did end up being an enjoyable watch. It was overflowing with clichés and discontinuity, but as it went along I found myself watching it less grudgingly than I did at first. I even came to like most of the characters who initially made me cringe because of their weakness and/or obvious archetypal roles. Even Riannon (gasp?!). With that said, I’m going to share my thoughts on some of the things that I liked by the end, some things I was disappointed in, and then those that left me with mixed feelings.
Taliesin, the sacrifice who didn’t die…among others
Oh boy, it’s Soul Eater all over again–deaths are built up, mourning happens, and then boom! He’s been alive all along! It’s such a rip-off. He gets this awesome sacrifice and then reappears to save the day at random, and they’re all like, “Okay, cool.” Sighhhh. But this one isn’t a straight-up complaint from me because, well, Taliesin is alive after all! I love this guy. I didn’t want him to die. Thus, I’m pleased to see that he escaped his fate as the ~cursed chief of the Brigantes~. And I also have to give some points to his return solely due to the fact that it somehow reminded me of Lord of the Rings when Gandalf sends the eagles to save Frodo and Sam when they’re about to meet their doom, except in this case Taliesin comes along with some dragons. Badass.
There are a couple of other ‘sacrifices’ that were built up and built up and then just never came to be, which were kind of letdowns. There is that one scene where Ogam transforms into his dragon form and uses his flame breath to break the obilisk, all the while Arawn telling him to stop because he’ll die if he uses that power for too long. And then he doesn’t die, or even seem particularly worn out because of it. On top of that, there is the greatest build up of them all: Arawn never dies. Maybe I was expecting too much of a break from clichés in this series when I came to believe that Arawn would die, but I wasn’t the only one, was I? It just seemed like history would repeat itself and Arawn would sacrifice himself for the greater good, and when he was being bombarded by electrum I was just that that would come to be…but nope. He miraculously lives and gets to see the rise of the new world. Cheap.
Riannon gets some moments to shine
Way back in the first episode of this series, Riannon was presented as having some kind of strength of character. She showed stubbornness, physical (er, magical?) power, and seemed decent enough of a lead female–nothing special, but not all that annoying. And then she reached the “Arawn you are my husband and I will cook for you!” phase. Good lord this girl came to drive me crazy.
As of late, though, she got better again. Her relationships (used loosely) with Arawn came to be placed on equal ground with the sibling bond she has with Arthur. This was really made clear when Riannon chose to stay with Arthur to face Dwrc–yeah, no name should be solely made up of consenants–as Arawn continued upwards in the tower; and quite frankly, a good sibling bond does more for a character than a half-assed romance. Another thing that did a lot for Riannon’s character: she was the one to save Arthur in the battle with Dwrc. She showed the Gael fighting spirit and thought fast when she needed to, so props to Riannon! Her importance in quelling the ‘final boss’, so to speak, should probably also be noted…but it was so much more typical than her saving Arthur earlier. I mean, really, a magical chant during the final boss just makes me think of Tear singing the Fonic Hymn in Tales of the Abyss; sure, it was nice to see Riannon be useful, but…it was just kind of bland.
On a random note while I’m talking about this female lead, I’ll also give a teensy bit of credit to Morgan for when she saves Riannon from a blast from the monster. The obvious thing would have been for Arawn to knock her out of danger’s way, but nope, Morgan did it! For some reason that stood out.
In-your-face King Arthur references
Yes, one of the protagonists has been named Arthur all along.
Yes, he had that moment where he magically had the power to pull a sword from the ground.
But wow, way to end the series on a complete Arthurian legend note by not only announcing Arthur as king, but announcing him as King. Arthur. Pendragon. Any ounce of subtlty in the connection was just thrown out the window with that one. Is this a way of telling us that Arthur really was the most important character from the get-go? Or is it just a way to let us know that, even though Arthur becomes king, Lancelot Arawn is still the guy to get all the ladies in the end.
Oh hey, it’s probably also worth noting that they have been on Avalon all along…
And they all lived happily ever after… (bromantically)
Of course, the most significant thing of all–above the battle, the deceptive not-really-deaths, the girls–is the denoument. The scenes where everything settles down and we have a satisfying, everything-is-wrapped-up ending standard for any RPG (unless you’re Tales of the Abyss). And the quote to almost-close it all…
“Right now, the scarf you gave me is warmer than Edrum ever was.”
AHAHAHA! I can’t hate this series. I just can’t. Cheese of this level is…a delicacy, no? Sometimes when things get really corny, you just have to appreciate it for laugh value. Add to the quote the fact that Arthur’s also present in the final Arawn/Riannon scene as a third wheel. Or is he? Maybe I had it wrong all along! It was never about Arawn and Riannon getting together, nor was I supposed to be looking at Arawn and Arthur as good ol’ bromance. The ultimate end of this series is just so obvious: Arawn/Riannon/Arthur! Yep, I think I have reached a higher level of understanding with that observation.
Jokes aside (as much as I can place them aside when talking about this series), the ending wasn’t all about people pairing off. While we did get a sense of Taliesin and Epona getting together–something I would have liked to have seen more development in, by the way–the rest of the party really just found solid friendships throughout their whole ordeal. Oh, and Ermin got a new book idea that I’d totally buy into. She’ll sell millions.
Man, I’m just realizing that it’s been a while since I’ve done a finale blog entry… I’m a little reluctant to say goodbye, but it must be done. Instead of rambling on awkwardly for even longer than I already have, I’ll just end with this: why was it never revealed that Rathty is a girl?!?! I Wikipedia’d it and she’s totally a girl! Way to introduce a plot point and not follow through! Ugh!
Katt’s Rating for Tears to Tiara Episode 26: 9/10
Katt’s Overall Rating for Tears to Tiara: 7/10…clichés and cheesiness abound, but I got more attached than expect.
Bye bye, Tears to Tiara! I’ll kinda-sorta miss you!