Episode 23

by Rose Bridges,

How would you rate episode 23 of
ClassicaLoid ?

After all the silliness, everything comes down to this. In its final two episodes, ClassicaLoid finally delivers on the big Bach-sama confrontation that's been building since the beginning. The Eight Sounds Device, or Octovas, is ready, and we finally learn what Bach plans to do with it: create a whole new world. So does ClassicaLoid's final two-parter live up to all the build-up?

So far, I have to answer a resounding yes. This episode was engrossing from start to finish, setting itself apart immediately in tone and presentation. Maybe it's just that we've had so many standalone comedy vignettes that something different immediately feels refreshing. I've been a ClassicaLoid apologist from early on, but even I can admit that it was starting to feel stale. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly this episode zoomed past and how eager it left me for more.

While it's mostly a plot episode, it does a lot with the characters too. This is particularly true for the cast members ClassicaLoid has typically neglected: Bach and his cohort. The show finally achieves what it's hinted at since early on, uniting Tchaikovsky and Badarzewska with the other five non-Bach Classicaloids. Bach himself is still caught up in his scheme, but we learn a little more about him when he reacts so angrily to Mitsuru's variation on his plans. Bach wanted all eight of the Classicaloids as equal players, believing that they all had valuable parts to contribute to his perfect new musical world. This goes awry because Mitsuru disagrees; she sees Bach as the greatest of them all, the only one whose Musik is needed in the Octovas. The others just play supporting parts. They wouldn't exist without Bach, after all.

Leaving aside any factual issues with her interpretation (Bach is the earliest of the eight Classicaloids and enormously influential, but whether history can draw an unbroken line of influence from him to all eight of them is questionable), it seems to throw the machine out of whack. It's clear that the world Mitsuru creates is not what Bach wanted, with everyone going silent and then turning into clones of him. It doesn't even transform civilization at all; it just puts a Bach-flavored Band-Aid over the current one. The Octovas obviously needs all eight of those voices to have its intended effect. I wonder if we'll get to see that (do we really want to?) or if the finale will just be the other Classicaloids thwarting Mitsuru's current plan.

Bach's Musik this time is the Prelude from his first unaccompanied cello suite. Like most cellists, I've studied these pieces over and over, and I think the use of it in this episode is really clever. Bach's genius as a composer lies in his use of harmony, and his unaccompanied string works create that "harmony" through just one voice. The cello suites alternate rapidly between the highest and lowest parts of the instrument, to make it sound like it's actually two cellos playing. This is perfect for this episode's dilemma, because the Octovas is supposed to sound out with the voices of all eight Classicaloids. Instead, it's just Bach, over and over. It's an illusion of harmony in only one voice, just like Bach's cello suites.

We do get multiple perspectives on how this affects the rest of the world. I loved the framing device of Schubert getting lost in the crowd while everyone else is at home. Not only does his "wandering" finally get him into trouble, but it shows us how the Octovas affects different people. The Classicaloids' reactions are the primary ones within the mansion, with Kanae and Sousuke standing as the odd ones out. Everyone knows Bach and his plans well enough to figure out that they're the cause of the madness, but Schubert's scenes reverse this understanding, surrounding him with a crowd of clueless, alarmed people. When he makes the mistake of talking, everyone turns on him and accuses him of being to blame. It's actually pretty funny, proving again how good ClassicaLoid can be at juggling tones. Even in such a dramatic episode, it still finds room for comedy.

Even the "drama" is inherently hilarious. Bach's tendency to speak only in musical terminology has always been ridiculous, and it's even more so when it's forced on everyone in the world. It's supposed to be scary that all these people are forcing Bach wigs on each other that turn them into "Andante"-droning zombies, but it's so bizarre that you can't help but laugh. This leads right up to the "alarming" reveal that the Bach zombies got Schubert as well. His tendency to stray from the flock finally left him vulnerable, and I'm sure this will come back to bite him in the final episode battle. Still, it's pretty funny to see Schubert droning musical terms along with the rest of them.

It's really satisfying to see ClassicaLoid's chickens finally come home to roost. Even after all its goofy diversions, the show connects its finale to earlier bits of character development for Mitsuru and Otowa, who gets his own moment at the very end. It reminds us that all this weirdness was not in vain, but ClassicaLoid has a larger story to tell. The finale could pull this together beautifully or send it drifting apart, but so far so good.

Rating: A

ClassicaLoid is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

If you love Bach's cello suites, Rose also recommends his solo violin partitas, which follow similar harmonic principles. Follow Rose on her media blog Rose's Turn, and on Twitter.

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