The Generalissimo accepts Soya’s challenge, and sets a time and place for their final face-off. All of the former Paladin members except Takezo stand as witnesses. The battle rages from Earth to space and back again, becoming so dangerous that the Paladins must remain in their psychic armors just to watch. With the margins of victory narrowing, a last-minute intervention by Takezou helps Soya and the Pacifists secure victory.
Soya uses this opportunity to secure the aid of the other psychics in fulfilling his promise to the People of Paradise. In four to five years, the dragon that destroyed his homeworld with awaken, and he will need their aid to defeat it. We jump over those years to see Nozomi and Soya, hopefully prepared for this greatest, final challenge.
This episode is almost entirely taken up by the showdown of Soya, Ginko and Sensei versus Shiraishi and the Generalissimo. It’s the battle we’ve been building to since Soya defeated Takashi’s dragon form, and the setup is suitably epic. Our belligerents meet on a desert island for a winner-take-all bout for the future of humanity. Will it be self-determination with the risk of psychic warfare, or an eternity sealed within humanity’s own dreams?
This is one of the few times I’ve seen protagonists and antagonists both presenting very good points to back up their beliefs. We’re clearly meant to side with the Pacifists and their push for freedom and guidance, but I can see why the Generalissimo would rather keep humanity from harming itself or others as their psychic powers begin to manifest. Dreaming of your happiest moments in life, seeing those you’ve loved and lost, is far from the evilest way to subdue a population.
We also learn a little more about the relationship between Sensei and the Generalissimo. We even learn their real names – Rashaverak and Karellan, respectively. Karellan has always admired his adversary’s optimism, but could never share it. The two did what they did out of a genuine sense of responsibility, and it’s clear why they ended up on opposite sides. It makes it clear why they would agree to an honorable contest, even with such dire stakes.
I sincerely appreciate the effort that went into setting up the cast for this confrontation. The battle itself, however, isn’t quite as impressive. The episode really captures the sense of scale and the two sides bust out their larger and larger forms. By the time they’ve merged with their spaceships, the other psychic armors are dwarfed by the scale of the fight.
Despite some impressive choreography, the actual duel is just a series of haymakers with named powers we’ve seen over and over again. It doesn’t look bad, but there’s just nothing new or exciting about it, and it feels predictable for such an important fight. It’s disappointing compared to the impact and variety we saw during some of the earlier fights, especially the one between Soya and Takashi’s dragon form. Hopefully we’ll see a more impressive melee in the finale once the time-skip is done.
I was lucky enough to review the last big battle back in episode six, and while this one isn’t quite as satisfying, it’s a good moment for the story and brings all of the characters together nicely. With the time-skip happening so late in the game, I’m not sure how much bearing it will have on the characters, but I’m still interested to see how everyone might have changed in half a decade. Here’s hoping the finale kicks things up even further.