What They Say:
In the season finale, all the players have finally come together, and it’s time to see how the tale ends.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Here we are; we stand before Count Almeida to learn the truth behind his obsession with Fujiko. It has been a surreal road to meet the wizard, one where his experimental drugs can have you questioning your own reality. Will the final reveal be as compelling as the series leading up to it? Well, yes and no.
The final reveal is a muddled bit involving memory implantation designed to see if someone could overcome the horrifying past inflicted upon someone by the Count. This someone was Aisha, the daughter of the scientist from the ghost town Lupin visited. She experimented on Fujiko and kept tabs on her due to Fujiko being the only test subject to survive. The owl henchman turns out to be Aisha’s mother, and the whole things ends with Fujiko realizing that her penchant for thievery and promiscuity is her real personality. Memory implants did not change who she was.
It just did not feel like a smooth ending to an otherwise well written series; the pieces fit but in a manner too contrived and convoluted for my tastes. However, Fujiko realizing that her own personality can never be subdued was the right flourish to place at the end of this story. She is unabashedly proud to be who she is, and no amount of mucking about in her brain can ever change that.
Overall, this ending makes the series feel it was more about the journey than the destination. It showed the series could take the ribald and violent elements of the manga, the comedy and action from the past incarnations of the animated franchise and blend them with a more modern and mature approach to storytelling. Case in point was this episode blending in a fight between Jigen and Goemon; it was a tense battle but was also amusing as Goemon was dressed as Fujiko and both men saw each other wearing owl heads. It was another brilliant flourish to end the series with.
I love how Funimation teases “In the season finale”; while the ending leaves me feeling that the series was more about the journey rather than the destination, I certainly hope it is a season rather than a series finale. I would love to seem another season produced, especially if they can pull off a storyline as compelling and creepy as this one. Taking the mature tone of Monkey Punch’s manga and putting a more modern spin on it produced a reboot of the franchise that far exceeded my expectations. The story may have been dark and disturbing, but they still managed to find ways to inject some of the more familiar humor from the franchise into the series without it feeling forced. Just some great storytelling that took the best elements of the characters and refined them into a cast that feels fresh and modern.
Streamed By: FUNimation
24” iMac booted into Windows XP Home, using FF11.