by Lauren Orsini,
We've established that Bakumatsu Rock is at its best when it's not trying to impress anyone. Just give us the pretty boys and fine music we were promised, and don't try to prop it up with some poorly constructed attempt at an epic plot.
But it's the season finale, and they did exactly the worst thing possible: Bakumatsu Rock, the anime nobody can take seriously, tried to take itself seriously.
I'm not sure what is the most offensive part of this episode, but it's definitely one of three things:
First, there's the villain's motive. In the first few seconds of the episode, it becomes apparent that the real enemy is the cute widdle shogun! Why would such an adorable little kid want to awaken the Ultra Soul, control the minds of everyone in Japan, and occasionally even murder people with the power of magical song?
Actual quote: “I was unable to do anything I wanted and I was bored.”
You know, maybe Bakumatsu Rock is trolling me with this, but then there's the second most offensive thing. You know that nobody as darling as the shogun could be 100% bad, so Ryouma and co. attempt to fix whatever demonic possession is affecting him.
How do they do it? With music of course. They stand in front of monsters and play their instruments. Eventually, they save the day, but I'm not going to say exactly how. Just know that it involves their love for rock (of course) and it's really lame.
There was never any doubt that our rockers would come through. And we've seen how music causes and resolves every problem in the show, but you'd think they'd step it up a notch for the season finale. Instead, it was a resolution straight out of a kid's show.
Probably the most offensive part of the episode hits after the ending credits roll. They introduce a new character, a ridiculously hilarious caricature of America. What are they doing introducing a character after the credits on the final episode? Do they honestly have the gall to expect there to be a season two?
Overall, my rating for the show would be higher than my rating for this finale. The episodes are hit or miss, and some of them stand out more strongly in my memory than others.
Who can forget the bath house rock concert, heavy on tunes and lewdness? Here's hoping the Dark Cherries, the female idol band tasked to murder the rockers to wacky results, get their own spinoff because their antics were nonstop hilarity as well. I can't neglect to mention Ryouma's flight by rocketship either.
All of these standout episodes refuse to be serious. They take Bakumatsu Rock to its most crazy and unbelievable extremes. Against a backdrop this wild and anachronistic, serious circumstances are even less believable than the weird stuff.
Don't get me wrong. Bakumatsu Rock was a fun romp with great music, cosplay-worthy character design, and some seriously silly moments. However, this glorified music video isn't going to be remembered as a masterpiece anytime soon, so its serious ending left me a bit cold.
Bakumatsu Rock is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about anime and journalism at Otaku Journalist.
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