Note: I am watching Yuki Yuna is a Hero: Great Mankai Chapter blind. Please refrain from posting spoilers in the comments.
Great Mankai Chapter is so darn close to catching up with The Hero Chapter. For a second, I thought it’d be all caught up by the end of this episode though there is still a little bit of continuity left for this season to revisit. Maybe after the next episode, the third season of YuYuYu will finally get to be a sequel. With what little is left in this season however, I’m only expecting an epilogue at best.
This episode offers an expanded take on The Hero Chapter‘s final battle. In line with the continuity, you have the Heroes splitting off with Karin, Sonoko, and Itsuki fending off the combined final form of the heavenly gods and Togo and Fu heading off to retrieve Yuna from her Shinkon wedding with the Shinju. Parallel to that, we now also have the Sentinels fighting the Vertex while Aya and other members of the Taisha charge the cannon with their payers. The Sentinels are initially unaware of the exact nature of the ceremony. Oddly enough, this fight is the first and presumably only time the Sentinels fight in the Jukai. It is pretty funny seeing them mystified with the realm. When you think about it, they’ve been exposed to the different realms in reverse order and they’re actually way more used to the hellscape that lies beyond the barrier.
There’s stock footage scattered throughout this episode. I didn’t do a thorough check but I do believe that this episode reuses all the fight animation from The Hero Chapter. Obviously, to fill the gaps and to justify the half hour runtime, there’s new animation. I expected it to entirely from the Sentinels’ point of view but there is actually some new footage involving the Heroes’. In particular, you see more of Karin, Sonoko, and Itsuki’s fight with the gods. That mostly took place off screen so even on a superficial level, it is nice to see it animated. It’s also neat in the sense that you get to see more of Sonoko fighting with the Hero Club which has been pretty rare even though she’s practically a mainstay in the cast at this point. Aside from the Heroes and the Sentinels, this episode also has new footage of the gods’ final form. While its size and power was always evident in The Hero Chapter, the new footage does give you more clarity with the different attacks it executes during the battle.
Frankly, watching the Sentinels and the Heroes back to back feels awkward. For one, it really hammers in how differently I feel about the two groups. I know I sound like a broken record at this point but I just don’t care all that much about the Sentinels. I can care even less when the show is switching to the team that I’ve actually grown attached to, even when it’s scenes that I’ve already seen! Second, there’s no interaction between these groups throughout this entire episode. That admittedly can’t be helped. The Heroes’ side of the story was already self-contained so there’s little leeway in connecting the two points of view. Still, it just feels so disconnected. I figured the show would at least doing with Karin in this regard. She has technically met the Sentinels at this point. You don’t necessarily need to have her talk about them, just have her notice them fighting in the background for a bit before focusing back on the fight at hand. That would be something, anything, to tie these two narratives together.
To give credit where it’s due, this episode does at least tie the Sentinels’ story with the Heroes’ thematically. Mebuki eventually finds out that the Taisha’s true agenda is to have everyone become one with the Shinju. Having always set out carve her own path, Mebuki naturally comes to the same conclusion as the Hero Club, that she would rather live her own life than hand it over to some deity. Aya meanwhile is ready to resign her fate to the Shinju, as her devotion to her faith is really all she’s ever known throughout her life. This soon changes however when Mebuki talks to her and Aya remembers her time with the Sentinels and realizes that she still wants to live her life with them. I don’t exactly buy into this development as this show devoted the minimum amount of time developing the chemistry between these two characters. However, I do get what the show is trying to do. Although in a retroactive sense, this does foreshadow Togo convincing Yuna to not throw her life away during the Shinkon ceremony. Aya choosing to live could be seen as validation for the decision Yuna ultimately makes. If even a devotee of the Shinju decides to reject its agenda, then surely Yuna also deserves to do the same.
Watch Yuki Yuna is a Hero: Great Mankai Chapter on HIDIVE