Note: I’m watching Yuki Yuna is a Hero blind. Please do not post spoilers in the comments.
Series finale already? That was fast.
Okay, I know there’s seven more episodes left and another whole second season afterwards but come on. If I somehow didn’t know any better, this episode could’ve fooled me as a series finale.
It goes all out with the action. For starters, the heroes have to fight all remaining seven Vertexes all at once and the numbers aren’t the only issue. They send in a decoy, combine into one giant Vertex, and they even secretly send in a scout to the magic tree while everyone isn’t looking. That one combined Vertex even screams “Final Boss” with its brutish power and its soul being so huge, it floats in goddamn space! Conversely, the heroes counter by unlocking their Mankais. I would’ve been fine with just Fuu’s but as it turns out, everyone but Karen (poor girl) unlocks theirs for the battle.
Now, I must concede that I do find this all very entertaining. With set pieces like these, how can I not? I mean, what other anime have a magical girl punch a giant pyramid with oversized gauntlets in space? I personally can’t think of too many. It also helps that it really does feel like a battle to the death. There are some serious close calls throughout this episode. Everyone gets knocked down by the combined Vertex’s lasers. Fuu almost drowns in a orb of water and then almost get burned to a crisp. Yuna and Mimori are forced to fall through the atmosphere and risk burning up after fighting defeating the final soul in space. Itsuki exhausts just trying save those two. Everyone lives in the end, which actually surprises me, but for a good half-hour, I really did get the impression that one of them might not make it.
Design-wise, the Mankais do look great. I really like the slight miko inspiration to the outfits, denoting the power they’re drawing from the Shinjuu as well as their determination to serve and protect it. Also great is how everyone gets powered up versions of their weapons and meanwhile, Mimori gets a stinking ship with laser cannons (this is how Yuna got to the final soul in space by the way). That’s so ridiculous that I have to love it but I can’t be the only one who thinks this girl keeps getting all the cool stuff.
Considering Fuu’s and Karin’s place in the team, how Mankai informs us of their character is pretty interesting. Fuu being the first one to unlock Mankai is fitting. She is the leader of the group and she’s the most desperate to defeat the Vertexes and keep her friends alive. That Karin is the only one who doesn’t unlock Mankai is also pretty telling. For all her doubting of the others’ abilities, it is ultimately the others who do the heavy lifting and win the battle for the team. I don’t expect Karin to go dere dere just yet but I think she does recognize their strengths. When she informs the Taisha of the outcome, she sounds really proud that her team has won and even calling the Hero Club by its full name.
The ones that resonates most in this episode however are Yuna and Mimori. There are some really heartwarming moments involving these two in this episode. As they fly off to space, they stand side by side, something they can’t do in their civilian forms. Despite using up her Mankai, Mimori still stays behind long enough to catch Yuna after she defeats the Vertex. As they fall back to Earth, they hold hands, practically accepting that they may die together. All this does bring a very intimate angle to their relationship. I don’t want to hold my breath on any actual romance. I’ve seen enough magical girl anime to know that there’s a good chance that the yuri subtext will remains as subtext. Even so, this episode does a superb job showing how much these two mean to each other.
My biggest concern with this episode is where will the show go from here. The fighting can’t surely be over at Episode 5. No way, the next seven episodes is just the club doing more puppet shows and retrieving more stray kittens. But are the heroes just going to have to fight more Vertexes or is there an even bigger threat that they’re unaware of? And while Karin’s Mankai remains to be seen, the fact remains that we’ve seen four of the five in just one episode. What else is there for them to obtain? Another level of Mankai? I can only imagine what an upgrade to Mimori’s ship would look like.
Mind you, I do look forward to what’s going to happen next. YuYuYu has been a fun ride so far and if the next seven episodes are as good as the past five, I’m all for it.
OP: “Hoshi to Hana” by Sanshuu Chuugaku Yuusha-bu
Thanks for reading!