Katt: I have both anticipated and dreaded this day… Yes, my dear bloggees: Kemono no Souja Erin has come to an end. I’ve spent a good part of the day checking to see if the sub had been posted yet and am sorely disappointed that I’ve only gotten to watch it now, at midnight! Because of the combination of tiredness and a lil’ bit of alcohol in my system, I can’t be sure that I’ve experienced this finale to its fullest. But I’ll just continue on and pretend that I have, so play along with me, okay?
Honestly, I expected more of this. That isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy it, because I definitely did! But…I guess I was expected more of an emotional impact? A little more struggle before the ‘happily ever after’ that I knew would come. Instead, things went a bit too smoothly in this series that has stood out for me as never taking the easy route.
The beginning…was not to my liking
The first half of the episode had such a foreign feeling to me. I’m sure it had something to do with the mix of a different style of graphics and new background music–there was an element of comfort in the consistent style and mood of this series that this spontaneous change threw me off in a bad way. I can understand wanting the final episode to stand out as being better than the rest, but I don’t think that it was approached in the right way.
Added to the more superficial level, the plot itself seemed a little weird to me. The approach of the cavalry was built up in the last episode, but I just found their decision to start shooting at Lilan completely, hm–how to put this?–moronic. There might have been a purpose in that (I mean, we obviously weren’t meant to understand where these goons were coming from), but really, they have a huuuge target to aim at and they still manage to hit Erin instead of Lilan. By no means am I saying that I wanted to see Lilan get hit; I am just saying that a little bit of logic behind the miss would have been nice. Even an, ‘oops, my finger slipped’ moment. Thanks to that ridiculousness, I didn’t have much of an emotional response to Erin getting hit. More of an, “Uh…what?” reaction at a moment where I should have been crying out, “Noooo!!”
Erin’s helpless action of removing the mute whistle was one that I should have loved, thanks to my fondness for symbolism in this series; instead, I was left a little confused by it. I couldn’t decide if Erin was doing it as a threat to Lilan, or as a message of freedom…or both? In retrospect I’m pretty sure that the ambiguity was the point. To Erin, it was probably a way of freeing herself from that shackle, but she intended for Lilan to perceive it as a threat so that she would fly away. And then when Lilan did fly away, it was…what? Two whole metres away? Here I was anticipating Lilan dropping Shunan off by Seimiya and then flying off into the wilderness, never to be seen again in the tragic parting of human and wild animal. Instead, it was rather anti-climactic. I was just not hugely keen on this beginning portion of the episode.
As it went on…it definitely got better
When the typical ‘something dramatic is about to happen’ BGM starting playing, I felt in my comfort zone again. The regular feel of this series was back and I was very, very pleased. The entire scene where the tohdas rise and swarm towards Erin, paralleled with Soyon’s demise, did its job in raising anxiety for both Erin’s literal impending death and her emotional instability when she finds herself in her mother’s execution situation.
Though unlike Soyon’s execution, Erin is saved before the tohdas reach her. Without even using the player’s technique as Soyon had resorted to doing to save Erin so many years ago, Lilan flies in rescues Erin of her own will. It took half of the episode to get there, but when Lilan flies down and gently picks Erin up in her mouth, I finally felt strongly moved. One of the most impacting moments for me was seeing how, even though Lilan was using her teeth to hold onto Erin, she was careful not to hold on too tightly or hurt Erin in any way. Remembering the two past events where Lilan has seriously bitten Erin, this scene is really touching. It wasn’t an easy road by any means, but at this instant the strength of Erin and Lilan’s bond has undoubtedly been proven, described by the characters as being like a mother and child.
As lovely as this pleasant moment is, I would have been annoyed if the happy ending had been reached already. After all, there is one more thing needed for this to be a typical Kemono no Souja Erin episode: Damiya ruining a good resolution! While his schemes are usually drawn out over a long period of time, there is hardly any time left here, which sadly makes this speedy scene not too dramatic. Damiya grabs knife, runs at Shunan and Seimiya, and Ial stabs him. And that’s the end of Damiya. After all of that manipulation, him suddenly being killed seemed too simple…though I’ll admited that I wanted to shout a, ”You go, Ial!!” when he actually stabbed Damiya. I was expecting him to just knock the knife out of his hands and seize him again–but no, he went in for the kill! A pleasant surprise, finally putting an end to everyone’s favourite creeper, Damiya.
The epilogue-ish ending…
Because just leaving it at Damiya being killed wouldn’t have been satisfying at all (and that isn’t sarcasm); this is the type of series that needs a ‘what happened to them?’ ending. As it turns out, everyone gets their ideal endings, pretty much. The only person who doesn’t really get any answers is Nugan, but I suppose we can just assume that he was scared straight when Lilan ate up his tohda.
There are a couple of hook-ups, namely the obvious Seimiya and Shunan marriage that we can all hope will be as ideal as it seems. And then it looks like Yuuyan got together with her Kazalm crush in the end, too! Kazalm itself can obviously return to its peaceful ways (and poor Tomura gets to spend his career stuck with a bunch of men), and even Erin’s hometown of Aka village will get the chance to improve with its new veteranarian, Kilik, who I’d expect would bring Erin’s ideals to the village. The spread of Erin’s ideals of freedom for the beasts can be seen in effect with the tohdas swimming freely and the beast-lords being kept by Erin and her family, instead of caged. On the note of Erin and her family…
We get to see Erin’s son, Jesse, who kind of made me giggle with his hilarious face, but…NO IAL?! Okay, this is not cool at all. WHY would they not show us who Erin’s husband/this kid’s father is? We KNOW Ial’s the daddy and YOU know it too–so show us a cute family scene! What’s wrong with you people?! Waaah, the fangirl in me is displeaaased!
…’kay now make the next two novels into a series too, okay? Because even if this final episode wasn’t as great as I expected, I did love it and I love this series as a whole. Undoubtedly one of my favourites, if not my new all-time favourite anime!
Katt’s rating for Kemono no Souja Erin episode 50: 8/10
Katt’s overall <3<3<3 for Kemono no Souja Erin: 10/10 (I WENT THERE!)