And so it ends. It ends without some questions being answered and some plots being resolved. But we knew this wouldn’t be like Naruto or Bleach and go on way past its expiration date. Yet, there is material left to cover so maybe there just maybe a bit of a time gap between seasons 1 and 2? We could wish for that, right?
Main Plot (with Commentary)
Topic 1: When The Witch Doesn’t Love You (Subaru, Julius, and Betelgeuse)
The battle between Julius and Betelgeuse didn’t end in the last episode, but it does in this one. Betelgeuse uses a massive amount of fingers, and at times grips Julius and injures him, however, he never takes advantage of the fact Subaru is Julius’ strength. There was a moment it seemed he would realize this, but remember Betelgeuse is the Archbishop of Sloth and is going against Julius whose powers are unchallenged. Leading to, once again, Betelgeuse’s body dying but him trying to transfer into Subaru. However, with Subaru calling upon Satella, who rejects Betelgeuse. It seems he is finally slain.
This episode gave Betelgeuse a proper and deserving death. He was the sole, consistent, antagonist of the season and was such a memorable character. His past deaths weren’t befitting of his power and didn’t give him a fair fight. Much less, with Subaru using Satella to deal one of the final blows, we got to see the witch’s image. Maybe not her face, and but just an outline, but this is the most we have seen, and heard, her speak. A treat made only bitter by the fact we won’t get to learn and see her more.
Topic 2: One Last Chance (Subaru)
As eccentric as Archbishop Betelgeuse was, he was the leader of the Witch’s Cult for a reason. Not to forget, there were many other archbishops who surely had plans to kill Emilia. So, naturally, there were backup plans in case they were needed. Whether it was guarding the roads, hiding in the woods, or the forgotten plan of using magic fire stones to create a bomb. A plan Subaru forgot so he rushes to save the caravan which so happens to have Emilia and the village children.
Of which, of course, he gets to in time and gets to be the hero. Not to forget, he also gets to single-handedly defeat Betelgeuse’s corpse. Leading to him getting the best reward.
You know, at best this just felt like a setup so that when Emilia and Subaru saw each other once more, it could be as cute as it was before he got to know Rem so well. At worse, this was all about making Subaru seem cool and capable of being a hero on his own without direct assistance from anyone. While still setting up a cute moment between him and Emilia. Either way, let me admit it worked… to a point.
Topic 3: In Her Lap Again (Subaru & Emilia)
With defeating the corpse of Betelgeuse, pre the explosion, and now surviving it thanks to Patrasche sacrificing his own skin, Subaru finds himself in one of his favorite places: Emilia’s lap. A place where he once again opens up to her, without seemingly attacking her, and tries to explain why he does all this. Of which the answer is love. Which, being that Emilia didn’t have the access to love most people had, she finds it all overwhelming. To the point she can’t say it back yet for the words, while she understands the meaning, can feel it coming from Subaru, she herself needs to figure out what that means before she gives them back to Subaru. But, just being able to open up to Emilia and say how he feels, apologize for the past, and make her smile, that is all Subaru wants. That and being by her side again.
Because the Rem and Subaru saga built up their relationship so strongly, I must admit I felt Subaru’s speech was inspired by Rem’s. However, I don’t say that and mean it in a negative way. To me, just as Subaru is teaching Emilia what it means to receive someone’s love and support, Rem taught him what that means. So, in both a beautiful and a sad way, Rem provided all the tools Subaru needed for Emilia to finally get where Subaru is coming from.
Which, in itself, is also noteworthy for, lest we forget, it doesn’t seem anyone but Puck really interacts with Emilia. Roswaal, despite being her sponsor, only seems to be providing her housing and whatever materials she needs. He doesn’t do like what’s his name does for Felt. He isn’t, so it seems, teaching her how to dress, act, or even get the people to love her. Subaru, in terms of getting the people on your side, is showing her the way. So, as much as I prefer Rem, it is hard to deny the seeds were planted long ago and while Emilia did cut too close to the root when she fought with Subaru, it is hard to not admit seeing them back in that state, him vulnerable on her lap trying to let it all out, wasn’t probably the most emotional this show got me in a while.
Though I gotta ask, could Emilia be a reincarnation of Satella? Just without her memories? Because her story sounds more and more like Satella every time it’s brought up.
Betelgeuse got the final battle he deserved and Emilia has the opportunity to learn what love, companionship, and real active support is.
On The Fence
Honestly, the whole magic stones of fire situation felt a bit forced in making Subaru seem cool and having another major moment in which he puts his life on the line for Emilia. Granted, it set up a good ending, but I wish there would have been a better way for those two to reconcile.