My wishful thinking from last week came true in the form of a rather touching and symbolic display of long-headed poppy blooming across the entire school rooftop. Who’d have thought Ayaka had a knack for large-scale logo designs.
More details surrounding the elusive Angel Fix drug surfaced and we got to put some pieces together regarding the drug’s method of distribution. The idea of the angel wings as only being visible when under the influence of the drug was a rather clever way to tie in the character of the white rabbit as Alice followed him through the rabbit hole. Only in this case, we have a lot more serious consequences than a simple trip through Wonderland would entail. And this is something I think J.C. Staff excels at when it comes to having an appropriate script to animate. This series has been full of dark undertones and serious topics of drug abuse and mortality, like what we’ve been seeing since the first episode, and it’s nice to witness this last arc wrap up in the neat way that it did.
“I have seen God’s Memo Pad; of the 144,000 names on the invitation list, yours was not one of them.”
And what a way to send off Hakamizaka! Alice’s confrontation with the mastermind behind Angel Fix was such an entertaining bout of verbal abuse befitting of him, especially right before his demise. That Alice couldn’t just stand by and let him die peacefully was quite the psychological contrast to how Narumi physically beat down Toshi out of frustration and mental/emotional pain after Yondaime/the Fourth found him. It certainly goes to show how versatile even spoken words of spite can be compared to physical blows to the human body.
Time for Alice fans of the world to unite in celebration for the proving of a successful Victorique clone of the twenty-first century.
Ayaka fans can rejoice, too. After several seasons pass, we’re shown signs of consciousness as she begins to twitch her fingers and open her eyes. All the while, we’re left with the realization that Ayaka jumped from the school’s rooftop for two reasons: to protect the memories she shared with Narumi as part of the gardening club, and to allow Narumi the opportunity to be the sole keeper of what is now a sanctuary for himself and his memories of Ayaka. It’s such a shame that she had to nearly sacrifice her life in order for this to happen, but it really made for one bittersweet last push to develop her character in the final minutes of the series.
Alice’s own final words on the nature of the NEET culture made way for some really nice dialogue as well. NEET isn’t so much a derailing from societal norms as it is a way of life for those living beyond those norms to achieve what’s needed beyond its widely accepted conventional methods. In the context of this show, I think she’s absolutely right. We’ve seen for twelves episodes how the Yakuza, the internet, and a lofty band of NEET individuals themselves can uncover cases and mysteries no arm of the law can ever efficiently tackle like Alice’s crew proved they could.
In terms of the seemingly darker genre it represents, Kamisama no Memo-chou and its corresponding arcs proved that J.C. Staff actually has the capacity to finish what they started. Whether this is because the source material or the selection of scenes was significantly better this time around, the animation team has to be given heavier credit for keeping up with such a story until the end. On its own, Memo-chou is a satisfying mystery with enough diversity in characters and more mature themes of despair, depravity, and manipulation (to name a few) to carry on strong week after week, leaving me much to wonder after each week when Alice will ever encounter a case she can’t crack. The closest resemblance to any prior show in J.C. Staff’s history would be Shigofumi (which I really liked), and I can easily say that Memo-chou tops even that.
I spoke negatively of the pacing of the show a few times in the past, and seeing how this last arc started and finished continues to support those opinions. Could some of the arcs have been written to follow a better storytelling flow? Did some episodes seem like they were written just to fill in a week or two here and there just to get the timing of the last arc right? The answer to those questions is a resounding yes, but it’s only more noticeable when looking at the show from the perspective of a single arc. As a whole, I think the series’ execution was great. I’m just glad it was limited to a single twelve-episode season; twenty-four episodes probably would have altered my final opinion of this show dramatically.
Lastly, I think Memo-chou did a nice job in portraying a more positive and self-sustaining side of the NEET society. Just how accurate this side of the culture is is left up to personal opinion and interpretation, but it does provide an eye-opening look into those who struggle with coming to terms with a society or situation they can’t seem to fit into or handle. Put simply, it’s always good to think outside of the box instead of being trapped inside of it; you might just find what you need a lot more quickly than you will if you just played by the book all the time.
Final Rating: 8.5/10. Now an official fan of the real-life variant of DoKuPe, as well as Alice’s awesome Mac-inspired rig. And I don’t even own a Mac.