Endings are important, so it’s no surprise that I watched the last two episodes of MekakuCity Actors with a little more trepidation than usual. I was hopeful, though: I had thoroughly enjoyed the non-linear storytelling of previous episodes, and there were many helpful explanations. Although it wasn’t perfect, MekakuCity Actors has done nothing but strengthen my love for the Kagerou Project, which seems to have formerly been rather weak in retrospect.
[Spoilers ahead, obviously. But If you want a non-spoilerific opinion on the anime as a whole, scroll down to the final paragraph]
Episode 11: Moon-Viewing Recital
It’s night, and a red moon in the shape of an eye shines. Shintaro wakes up in his room, finding that he suddenly remembers everything. Through Shintarou’s conversation with one of Azami’s snakes, we learn that seeing Ayano’s photo triggered his own eye-power, Retaining Eyes, which causes him to remember everything, including tragic memories from alternate timelines. If you remember, in Kagerou Days (Ep. 4), every time Hiyori dies, the scenario is reset. This has actually been happening for a long time, except with the entire plotline. (The exact start time is unknown, but it’s hinted that it’s before the characters were born). The snake asks him what he intends to do, and in response, Shintaro repeats the scene from an alternate timeline called Route XX in which he stabbed himself with a pair of scissors.
Kido and Momo manage to stop Hibiya, and try to convince him that they only want to help. Before he’s properly persuaded, they are set upon by dozens of lazily animated attackers.
Kano walks alone, pondering the events that led up to Ayano’s death. Ayano told him she had figured out that their father’s snake (It’s not mentioned in-anime, but this is the Snake of Clearing Eyes, who also was the one who convinced Azami to make the Heat Haze Daze.) was trying to grant Kenjirou’s desire to bring Ayaka Tateyama back to life, but in doing so, all of the other people possessing snakes/eye-powers would die.
Ayano knew Kenjirou’s snake was trying to make Haruka and Takane possessed by snakes also, to bring more snakes into the world. Despite Kano’s protests, she decided that the best course of action would be to talk to him.
On Aug. 15th, Kano overheard Ayano talking to Kenjirou–currently possessed by his snake– on the school roof. Ayano pleads with him to stop, but while Clearing Eyes admits that Kenjirou quite obviously didn’t want his kids to die, he wants to grant Kenjirou’s wish anyways.
Ayano declares her intent to stop him, and said that if someone were to gain an eye power but remain in the Daze, the snake’s plan would fail, as he needed to bring all the snakes into the world. She begins to walk towards the edge of the school roof.
Kano realised what she was implying, and tried to dissuade her. Even Clearing Eyes was a little taken aback. As Ayano leaned over the edge of the roof, the Daze appeared. Kano begged her not to go, but she went anyways, entering the Daze.
Although his plans were utterly foiled, Clearing Eyes had no intention of letting that stop him, and decided not only to go through with his plans, but to make them work, and use the fact that he’s the only one keeping Kenjirou alive to manipulate Kano into helping him. Unfortunately, he knew something Ayano didn’t: the currently unfavourable situation could be reset.
After Ayano died, Kido, Kano, and Seto moved away from home and formed the Mekakushi-Dan. The flashback ends, and Seto finds Kano at Ayano’s grave. Seto notices that something’s up, and Kano, being in a bad mood already, lashes out angrily, saying that if Seto wanted to, he could just use his powers to find out what was bothering him. Instead of taking offence at Kano’s hurtful words, Seto tries to make him feel better instead.
Meanwhile, Momo, Kido, and Hibiya have been kidnapped, and are without any means of contacting the others. Momo, however, comes up with the idea of using her ability to attract the attention of some help, while Kido could use her ability to conceal Momo’s ability from their captors.
Otsukumi Recital plays, and not only does Momo’s strategy succeed, but it draws Kano, Seto, Marry, Konoha, and…Ene/Takane, who has apparently gotten back into her body(!?), to the place they’ve been trapped. In the Daze, a reunion between Ayano and Shintaro takes place.
Otsukimi Recital was darker and more emotional than any of the episodes proceeding it, which is rather ironic, as the song is probably the most cheerful and hopeful of them all. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and the only thing I didn’t particularly like was the opening scene, because it seems to have mostly been used for shock value, and I have a nagging feeling the novels probably handled it better.
Episode 12: Summertime Record
In a rather sweet opening scene, Azami uses an eye-power she had never used before to telepathically express her love to Shion when she was just a small baby. This is Foreshadowing.
Hundreds of years later, the Mekakushi-Dan catches up to speed with our plot so far, and they are now trying to find Kenjirou so they can confront his snake. Hibiya asks about Hiyori, and when Kano fails to answer him, Konoha promises that they will save her. Takane tells Momo that Konoha seems like a different person than Haruka. She is absolutely right.
More zombie look-alikes appear, and have to work together using their powers to make their escape. It’s a cool scene, and we discover that Ene/Takane can actually slip out of her body at will and possess electronic devices, answering the question of how she got back into her body.
During the chaos, Kano loses track of where they are. He correctly guesses that Hibiya could possibly have the eye-power that would allow him to locate Kenjirou, and eventually, Hibiya succeeds in using his eyepower, discovering that Kenjirou is below them. Konoha breaks through the floor.
Ayano and Shintaro meet up with Haruka in the daze. Meanwhile, the Mekakushi-Dan encounters Clearing Eyes/ Kenjirou’s snake. He explains that the current world is just one of many time loops in a cycle he coerced to Marry start by killing her friends. The snake now cares less about granting Kenjirou’s wish and more about perpetuating the time-loops again and again so he can continue to exist forever, because although the snakes need wishes to continue existing, once a wish is granted they will die and their host will continue living.
Clearing eyes then shoots Konoha, who was actually just the snake possessing the soulless body Haruka rejected, and then takes that snake’s place, becoming the person the Kagerou Project fandom calls Kuroha.
Kuroha uses Konoha’s immense strength to defeate the Mekakushi-Dan, and threatens to kill them if Marry doesn’t start to create a new world. Despairing, Marry take their snakes, intending to repeat the cycle. The Mekakushi-Dan try to reason with her, and she hesitates.
Ayano and Shintaro to show up. The truth is, Ayano’s snake was keeping her alive, so she had the power to leave the daze whenever she wanted, but she hadn’t because she had thought that she was the only one stopping Clearing Eyes from killing everyone. It is revealed that her eye-power is the one we saw Azami using at the beginning of the episode. Using it, she can convey her thoughts and feelings to others. Thus, she is able to reach Marry in her panicked state and calm her, preventing her from resetting the world.
With all the snakes present, Marry becomes the true Queen of the Daze, and has complete control over it. She orders the Daze to swallow up the entire world, and Kenjirou is united with Ayaka, fulfilling the wish that was keeping Clearing Eyes alive. He now needs another wish to continue existing.
Because they are now in the daze, Haruka is with them (When he rejected his new body, his soul was trapped in the Daze). Haruka makes a wish, as Kuroha so desperately wanted, but unfortunately, that wish (to keep Konoha’s promise to save Hiyori) is one that the snake can grant immediately. He is forced to substitute his life for Hiyori’s, and ceases to exist.
Marry is briefly reunited with her mother, and she wonders if she did the right thing. It’s implied that she wanted to keep repeating the time-loops not just to keep her friends alive but so she could relive all her happy memories. Making peace with her decision, she brings the world out of the Daze. The story ends with Shintaro meeting Ayano, and all the characters are now able to move on with their lives.
Even though this episode confused me to death and I had to get a friend to explain everything to me, I absolutely loved it. The interaction between the Mekakushi-Dan was very fun, the climax was great, and although it’s hard to understand, pretty much everything tied together. Ayano came back, which surprised everyone, as anyone in the KagePro fandom would have told you that Ayano’s death was definitely permanent. I’m glad that, if nothing else, she was able to live in this continuity. Some were unhappy because they felt this destroyed the Kagerou Project’s strong themes about moving on and overcoming grief. But I believe the same themes were conveyed, they just became less about Shintaro moving on from Ayano’s death and more about Marry overcoming her fear of the future.
[Spoilers end here]
Now that it’s over, I can’t say anime as a whole was terrible or even mediocre. It could have been a masterpiece had it been a 24-episode series, but unfortunately, as evident from the atrocious animation, the powers that be (SHAFT, etc.) decided not to give it the effort that, ironically, the anime has now convinced me this story deserved. But though it’s saddening to think about what it might have been, and it appears to have driven away as much interest in the KagePro as it garnered, it was an enjoyable and worthy addition to the Kagerou Project despite it’s flaws, and we are lucky to have it. I highly recommend it to all current KagePro fans. If you were new to the story but stuck through and still liked it, I hear that the light novels and manga are going to be officially released next year, which excites me to no end. If nothing else, I suspect we can thank the anime for that.