For a show i’ve been ranting about since the start, i’m happy to say that it ends with a bang.
I won’t claim that this improves on the major issues with this show, because it doesn’t really try too. All the comedy is completely dependent on obvious pandering or lazy references rather than clever dialogue or addicting chemistry. The twists and turns through all these games still have to rely on a contest of underhanded techniques rather than careful planning and skills. The world-building halts after the first few episodes and only progresses through forced exposition in character’s dialogue. Sora continues to hog the spotlight and leave every other character as barely useful, one-note personalities who take a backseat after their introduction. Furthermore it won’t stop acting like it’s smart and grand rather than admit that it’s just dumb fun.
But first the show plays around with its boldest idea ever: the possibility of Sora losing. Without spoiling too much, Shiro gets trapped in a world where no one knew Sora ever existed. From there it becomes a mystery on why Sora dissappeared, what proof there is of his existence, and what Shiro should do to return everything to normal. And i’ll tell you this: I freaking love this set-up! Without the help of the show’s god piece, there’s a genuine sense of tension involving the lack of guaranteed victory and trusting the outcome to sidelined characters. This is especially the case for Shiro, who hasn’t had a proper time to prove her status as the 2nd half of Blank until now. Not only does she solve this predicament without relying on sudden exposition, but several scenes scattered throughout the episode showcase how much Sora’s words of trust for Shiro hold dear to him.
And then to appease haters like me, the virtual game becomes the closest thing this show ever gets to the level of smartness it claims to be at. Sure the game is just a mishmash of video game genres and the solution still has to revolve around Blank’s godlike intelligence, but at the very least they fooled me into believing actual planning went into this one. They foreshadow key events BEFORE having to reveal them as the pathway to victory. Both parties stick to the rules of the game, and the only possible “cheats” are actions the users could do outside the game. More importantly, it’s the only game so far to utilize every participant in Blank’s team and tests the level of trust they have for each other to pull off a win. Heck, the final solution relies on Blank being the victims and trusting STEPH to be the scorer, a character who’s usefulness has been inconsistent to say the least.
Let me make this perfectly clear: I still think this is the most overrated show of this season and possibly this year. But even I have to admit it gradually improves by each game, and it at least has enough bullshit in its bag to make sure it doesn’t run out of dumb surprises. Couple this with the striking art style and generally fast pacing, and you’ve got a show that can definitely be enjoyed with low expectations.