Celestial Method: The End and a New Beginning

Opinions are fairly divided on this show, but I personally enjoyed Celestial Method (a.k.a. Sora no Method) a lot. And since the show did get some regular coverage before TWWK could no longer cover the show, I thought I would go ahead and close up the show with a look at its final arc. As it turns out, that final arc actually has some connections to the Easter story, and Easter was not that long ago, so let us see just what the end of Celestial Method has for us…

This show was written by the writer of the Kanon 2006 anime, so it kind of goes with Key week, right?
…and if you’re watching along, you might want some tissues.

Warning: some… astronomical spoilers are coming. 

Episode 10-11: The Disappearance of Noel

Nonoka, Yuzuki, Koharu, and Souta learn in episode 10 what Shione learned a couple of episodes ago: that Noel is the saucer they summoned as kids, and once she fulfills their wishes, she must disappear to fulfill another wish. However, the group does not take this news well, since they had all grown attached to Noel and do not want her to leave. In the end, though, Nonoka convinces the others to give Noel a cheerful farewell by taking her to see the meteor shower, and the six of them spend one last night bonding and watching the shower until Noel finally disappears before their eyes.

These episodes remind me of the moments before Jesus Christ goes to the cross. Beforehand, Jesus tells some of his disciples how he must die in order to fulfill his messianic duties (although he does also add that he will be resurrected on the third day). However, his disciples protest and say that is not necessary, and in one well-known moment (Matthew 16:21-23), when Peter makes such a protest, Jesus rebukes him as though Satan was saying those words. While the disciples were pre-occupied with “the things of man” like keeping Jesus around as long as possible, Jesus knew he had a mission to do.

It was not like Jesus was looking forward to going to the cross, though, and the night he was betrayed, he first went to the garden of Gethsemane to express to God his anguish over what he would have to go through. For such a difficult moment, he especially wanted his friends and disciples to accompany him (Matthew 26:36-46). However, unlike Noel’s friends, Jesus’s disciples instead fell asleep during his final moments with them. This would not bode well for what would happen afterwards…

Meanwhile, in Celestial Method, after this powerful, emotional climax, the show decides to go in a somewhat controversial direction…

Episodes 12-13: Back to Normal?

Episode 12 begins just as episode 1 does: with Nonoka moving back to her hometown with her father. However, some things are different: there’s no longer a divide between Yuzuki and Souta, Shione has moved away, and Koharu’s shop no longer sells saucer-related goods, as there is no longer a saucer over the town. Oh, and Nonoka still remembers everything about Noel from before.

Whereas before he could only be patched up, now he is fully healed. Symbolic?
Also, Kaijuu-san is all better now.

When she tries to tell the others about Noel, the others are skeptical to various degrees, with Souta not believing it at all and Koharu willing to give her the benefit of the doubt; however, all three do feel like they are forgetting something important. Nonoka herself is worried she will forget Noel, but when she stops by the observatory one day, she meets Shione, who still remembers Noel just as much as she does. Together, they convince the others to wish once more for the saucer, and at the end of the show, because of that wish, they meet Noel again.

There are a number of things to note about this finale. The pseudo-Reset Button path this show took is a bit of a weird one, but I think it highlights the true nature of Noel’s wish fulfillment: restoring the world to how it should be. This is similar to what Jesus’s death on the cross accomplished in one important way. When Adam and Eve first sinned, their sin also separated them from God’s holy presence, which allowed human sin to run rampant in the world. God’s presence would still find a place, but only in an inner sanctuary in a temple, separated from the corrupt world by a veil. However, Jesus’s death tore that veil apart, symbolically representing how God’s presence could now go out into the world to heal people’s sinfulness and begin to restore the world to how God originally wanted it to be.

However, there was one important part of God’s plan to restore the world that was still missing: Jesus himself. While the disciples did not forget about Jesus, they might have wanted to, mainly out of fear of their own lives, like when Peter denied Jesus three times after he was arrested. Some of them held closer to Jesus’s memory than others, namely Mary Magadelene and Mary, “the mother of James”, among some other women, who went to visit the tomb to pay respects. Instead, they were greeted with an empty tomb and an angel telling them that Jesus had risen. In their excitement they went to tell the disciples (Luke 24:10-12), but they believed it to be an “idle tale”, though Peter did go check out the empty tomb himself. And then there was Thomas, who did not even believe Jesus had risen when he himself appeared in front of them. Nevertheless, Jesus did rise from the dead, and He appeared to them and convinced them all not only how he has risen, but how he would now be with them for all eternity.

Going back to Celestial Method, it does seem like Nonoka and Shione are the “Mary”s of the story, holding on to their memory of Noel to bring the others to believe they could bring her back. After all, as much as they appreciated how Noel restored their world, that was no substitute for having Noel back with them and continue watching over them. But while the five of them had to wish again to bring Noel back, God had already planned from the start to bring Jesus back from the dead to be with the people he loved so much. It was a necessary part of restoring the world back to His original intentions, which centered on people having a close relationship with God like Adam and Eve once had in the garden.

...have I mentioned how similar this show is to AnoHana?
Noel, we found you.

I wonder just how much the creators of Celestial Method wanted to parallel the Gospel story. Certainly, with a name like Noel (a.k.a. Christmas), such a connection would not be out of place, and Noel does in many ways end up like a Christ figure: she appears one day, changes the lives of several people, then “dies” and is brought back. The parallel is not perfect by any means, but the number of connections there are are almost too many for it to be merely incidental. That is why, as Easter comes and goes this year, I wanted to revisit this show one last time, as Noel’s own “resurrection” provides some good insight into Jesus’s resurrection. The main things I would like readers to take away from this show is to remember that Jesus’s death accomplished more than just covering all of our sins (though that is certainly important); it also allows us to have a relationship with Him and restore the broken parts of our lives and the lives of others. And all this was God’s own celestial method to reverse what happened when man first sinned and bring the world back to how He originally intended it to be.

stardf29

Frank is known as "stardf29" on various parts of the Internet; it stands for "Star Defender 29", which is something he came up with during his chuunibyou years. Now, when he's not doing things for the Navy or indefinitely delaying his writing projects, he likes engaging in anime, especially of the slice-of-life sort.

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