Yuki Yuna is a Hero: Great Mankai Chapter – Ep. 11

Note: I am watching Yuki Yuna is a Hero: Great Mankai Chapter blind. Please refrain from posting spoilers in the comments.

Like with the last episode, this one provides an expanded take on The Hero Chapter‘s final battle. Just like before, Togo saves Yuna from the Shinkon ceremony with help of the other Heroes and Yuna gains her Great Mankai to defeat the gods. I again didn’t do a thorough check so my mind might be playing tricks on me but I think this episode banks even more on stock footage than the last one. There is indeed some new footage and with that, some new details, but there really isn’t anything substantial added to the story. It really is the last two-thirds of The Hero Chapter‘s finale again, just a couple minutes longer now.

“But what about the Sentinels?” you might ask. Go figure but they’re actually not in this episode! After the checking the last episode again, I know that the heavenly gods release a massive shockwave and that leaves the Sentinels’ fate up in the open but I was expecting a follow-up of some kind. We don’t see them recover or return to the normal world. We don’t see their spirits join Togo in freeing Yuna from the Shinju (or maybe we do and it’s not even acknowledged). We don’t see them react to Yuna’s Great Mankai or join the Hero Club in cheering her on as she punches the gods to oblivion. They’ve literally vanished from the narrative, tossed aside once again as though the show currently has no use for them. I know I’m not a fan of the Sentinels so I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth here but this really is frustrating. It’d be one thing if the show actually gave the Sentinels their due and I just don’t like them but apart from Mebuki and maybe Aya, these characters really never got the time to shine.

At the beginning of the episode, we are treated with a new scene set before the fighting begins, with the Taisha discussing their plans with the Shinju. Aki-sensei is among the members present at the meeting and she is about the only one who questions what the Taisha are all doing and expresses concern for the Heroes. I never really talked about Aki-sensei this season. Even though she’s made a number of appearances throughout the season, she mostly just act as a representative of the Taisha and the occasional mouthpiece for exposition. Honestly, I’ve found it odd how she’s been involved with so many of the Taisha’s operations though I guess she ranks higher in the ranks than I realized. The one time she talked in The Hero Chapter Episode 5, Aki-sensei sounded so resigned, as though she gave up being concerned for the Heroes because doing so during The Washio Sumi Chapter was so emotionally harmful for her. It’s nice then to see that Aki-sensei still feels the same way deep down, even if it’s for a brief moment.

Unrelated to Aki-sensei but something that cracks me up about this scene is the Taisha expressing concern that the Heroes are likely to oppose the Shinkon wedding. How nice of the show to confirm that the Taisha aware that they’re on thin ice with the Heroes and that the team are beyond their control at this point in the story. To be a little bit more serious, I do find it interesting that they accept the potential or inevitable interference as is. Aside from the Shinju and the heavenly gods, the Heroes are ultimately the ones who decide the fate of humanity. If they don’t want the ceremony to happen than so be it. Besides, it’s not like the Taisha can really stop the Heroes. Those girls are the ones with the magical powers and fancy weapons, not them.

Like with the last episode, you get some new footage detailing what everyone is up to during the final fight. I didn’t notice this in the last episode (and to be fair, it’s made more explicitly clear in this one) but when Sonoko and Karin combine their powers, they actually manifest one of Gin’s blades. I’m not entirely sure how that works. Maybe it’s some magical response to Sonoko fighting with Gin’s successor? I don’t know. Still, it’s a nice little sentiment that retroactively foreshadows Gin’s presence in the next couple of scenes. I also love the brief smile Sonoko gives when she sees it. Not going to lie, that got me a bit emotional. I wonder if Sonoko realizes at that point that Karin is Gin’s successor though I suppose she wouldn’t dwell on it, nor would she care. One thing I would’ve liked to have seen more of is Fu’s involvement in the fight. You really don’t see more of what she does than you did in The Hero Chapter. What we get though is a badass moment. Fu’s exhausted, both physically and emotional, and she still heads back into the fight with greatsword in hand, living up to her status as the Hero Club’s leader.

I don’t know if revisiting the scene where all the past Heroes(?) help Togo save Yuna is any stronger the second time around. I still don’t know how all these spirits show up in the first place and I still feel like Patrick Star asking who most of these people are, especially after Great Mankai Chapter said that the Hero System wasn’t used for 300 years. But you know what, I’m willing to look the other way. There’s been far bigger stretches pulled in this show. I noticed this time around that you can make out the silhouettes of the first gen team and the show cuts their graves, confirming their identity. I actually thought that was new but this is actually still recycled footage; those details were already in The Hero Chapter‘s version. While I now know who those specific silhouettes are, I can’t say I’m that much more moved. Like, Tamako and Anzu were complete afterthoughts in the NoWaYu arc. There may be more context but I’m not going to care that much about seeing them again in spirit.

Perhaps the most vexing detail is the green silhouette next to Tamako, Anzu, and Yuna Takashima. This apparently belongs to a girl named Utano Shiratori. If that name doesn’t ring a bell to anime-only viewers, that’s because Utano was never mentioned in the past 35 episodes of Yuki Yuna is a Hero. The only way I infer that this is Utano is by checking the names on the gravestones and performing process of elimination. Who the hell is this girl? If she important? If she is, then why did the show give her the shortest, most microscopic end of the stick? I’m assuming she’s in supplementary material but I thought a big point of this season was to cover the supplementary material! How is the show requiring me to do homework after all that? It’s downright baffling to have this mention. This Utano girl isn’t the only one, there’s some other silhouettes that are colored differently to stand out. Who are these Heroes? Apart from the spin-off readers, who knows! I guess I need to some homework after this season.

As for the rest of the first gen team, Wakaba is the last spirit who shows up to help Togo. And yeah, she is in fact the blue bird that we’ve been seeing from time to time. Like with the others, Wakaba’s silhouette was already in The Hero Chapter so if you have read the NoWaYu novels, you can figure out this detail before getting to Great Mankai Chapter. For an anime-only viewer such as myself, it now makes sense. The show doesn’t provide any explanation as to how Wakaba obtained this form. My best guess is that Hinata helped her in some way. It probably doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I think understand what Wakaba is doing, though. She’s more or less acting as a sort of a spiritual guide for Heroes, which is an interesting direction to take with her character. Maybe as the last survivor of the first generation, Wakaba wanted to help the future Heroes, even after she dies. It also makes her helping Yuna during The Hero Chapter more interesting. Even though Yuna Yuki is technically a different person, maybe Wakaba helped her return to the real world so that Takashima’s spirit continues to live on.

Unfortunately, Chikage is nowhere to be found among the different spirits. This is the case in both The Hero Chapter and Great Mankai Chapter. Utano and bunch of other extras get an invite but not Chikage. I know that Chikage loses her powers before dying but I think she should’ve been included in this scene. Given how much Chikage suffered during her time as a Hero and her connection to Takashima, it would be thematically appropriate if she somehow managed to show up to help change Yuna’s fate and end the current generation’s ordeal. But no, I guess someone on the creative team can’t help but screw the poor girl over some more.

Before Yuna gains her Great Mankai, there’s a new scene where she briefly meets Takashima again. Considering that Takashima is part of the Shinju, it makes sense that she would appear before Yuna to personally give the power to her. Also, there is something meta about a past version of Yuna handing a new power up to the present-day one after the latter finally decided to be honest about herself and do what she actually wants to do. She is more or less treading herself. After the fight, there’s a slight “change” where Yuna asks Gyuki about its identity. I say “change” with quotation marks because after checking The Hero Chapter, the line sounds the same. It’s just the subtitles that are different. I don’t speak Japanese so I don’t know what to make of that discrepancy. That aside, is this line implying that Gyuki is Takashima? It’d be weird if Takashima was this floating cow thing this whole time and it’d make you wonder about the identities of all the other faeries but if this is true, I do like the implication that Takashima has been with Yuna throughout her whole journey and that she is literally a part of her.

Super minor but I really like the addition of the other main characters’ fearies briefly appearing alongside Gyuki during the Great Mankai transformation. That wasn’t originally in the same shot during The Hero Chapter finale (trust me, I checked). Again, it’s minor but it adds to the idea that Yuna’s strength comes from her friends.

Oddly enough, Great Mankai Chapter changes the music for the repeated scenes. Instead of the vocal song used in The Hero Chapter, “Hana Kanmuri, Great Mankai Chapter incorporates a fully orchestrated piece (I’m assuming it’s just one track). It’s a good piece; I don’t know if I’ve said it before but YuYuYu has always had great music. I think I much prefer “Hana Kanmuri”, though. That song is partly a combination of two vocal songs: “Shoujo no Negai” (which plays in The Washio Sumi Chapter when Sonoko bids Togo farewell in the final battle) and “Usyukisou” (which plays a couple of times in Season 1, most notably when Togo reads a script to a vegetative Yuna in the finale). Hearing songs that played during some of the most emotional moments in what is arguably the most triumphant moment in the entire series hits hard so I must prefer the original music. But again, I don’t think the new piece is bad by any means. I particularly like how it has parts of the OPs, including Great Mankai Chapter‘s, “Ashita no Hanatachi” (which might be my favorite OP in the whole series).

Even though it’s reused footage and I’ve already seen it before, watching Yuna’s final fight against the heavenly gods still makes me very emotional. It’s the culmination of Yuna’s arc (that we technically don’t see in this season but whatever) and the animation here is some of the best this show has offered. What a way to go this was (and still is).

Watch Yuki Yuna is a Hero: Great Mankai Chapter on HIDIVE

Read my Yuki Yuna is a Hero reviews

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