Surly Summaries: Rokka no Yuusha

Ok so Rokka no Yuusha finished airing last Saturday, and I have to say I was a little disappointed.  Not so much with the series as a whole as with the actual final episode, I thought the ending was handled badly but overall the show was alright.  From here on there will be spoilers, you have been warned.

Let’s start with the broad list of things I liked.  I like the setting, both in terms of its lore, with the fiends and Saints, and with it’s clearly Mesoamerican character.  It made the show really stand out when some of the first settings we see are colorful depictions of the massive step-pyramids commonly associated with the Aztecs.  It’s not a setting I think I’ve ever seen before, so hat’s off to the creators.  Likewise I liked how the fiends actually had the same kind of Mesoamerican look and feel to them, although I was not a fan of how all the fiends were CG because they looked so fake compared to the human characters.  I also liked most of the environments and the lush colors used to bring the world and characters to life.  And speaking of the characters…

For the most part I’d say they’re pretty good.  Adlet occasionally gets annoying when he calls himself the strongest man in the world over and over, but I was big fan of how he was basically a normal dude who trained hard and fought with exotic weapons even though all of the other Braves were either geniuses or Saints.  A good touch.  As for the rest, I think Hans, Flemy, Chamot and Maura all did a pretty good job.  Their characters were pretty basic for the most part but they played their roles well and I loved the voice-acting for those 4 in particular.  Nachetanya definitely got me when she turned out to be the seventh Brave, but aside from that great twist I felt like her character was a bit too disjointed and inconsistent.  There were times when she was extremely emotional and naive, but then she could also suddenly go cold and observant even though it didn’t really fit with her character.  Goldov was just too bland.  Like the strong and silent type is fine but in a series this colorful, both in its color palettes and character behavior, the somber dude in black just doesn’t fit in well.

Now I expect some of you want to see me bitch about how the series was too slow and there wasn’t enough action or something like that.  But honestly I don’t have much to complain about on that front.  Yes some of the episodes were pretty slow but this show was mostly one drawn out game of Clue, the key to the show was never action but character interaction.  And on that front I think they generally did a good job.  The characters were generally pretty compelling, I always wanted to know more about them but I always felt like I understood them well enough to grasp the logic of their actions.   Also the less ugly CG the better.

But with all of this mostly in its favor how come I thought the ending sucked?  Ok understand that the twist with Nachetanya was good.  My problem is that the twist is the climax and in storytelling, the story should slow down after a climax, even if the overall conflict is not resolved.  Instead Rokka no Yuusha introduces a new Seventh Brave in last few minutes of the final episode, rendering the previous climax all but meaningless.  Now we have a drastic new plot development in the final scenes of the story.  You don’t want that, instead it would have made much more sense to add Rolina, the new Brave, in during episode 1 or 2 of the next season of Rokka no Yuusha.  Ideally it would have gone like this: Nachetanya turns out to be the fake, Adlet recovers, the six Braves go out to fight with the King’s blessing.  Season one ends.  Season two begins.  The six Braves kill a bunch of fiends as they make their way to the Land of Howling Demons.  Just as they reach the border, they find Rolina who wonders what took the rest of Braves so long to get to the usual rendezvous point.  Then Rolina notices there are already six Braves and the cycle of mistrust begins anew.  Instead Rolina enters with a few minutes to spare, everyone gets confused and then they say “Fuck it, let’s go to the land of Howling Demons with the second fake Brave in our midst”.  Now instead of the series climaxing with Nachetanya’s betrayal and the Braves recollecting their resolve to fight the Demon King, the series feels like it has no climax at all, which makes for a thoroughly unsatisfying end to the first season.

And that’s all, hope you enjoyed it.

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