Episode 22

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 22 of

With the end of last episode serving as the dramatic climax of the series, this episode is entirely devoted to clean-up duty. That's still important ground to cover, as missteps in the cleanup time can deeply harm a story's lasting impression. I'm pleased to say that the final episode of Re:CREATORS makes no major missteps. It does everything that it needed to do: sending off the Creations in proper fashion, showing where those who remain will go next, offering final ruminations on the underlying philosophical issues, and delivering some humorous, bittersweet, and even surprising moments along the way.

The episode doesn't miss a beat at all. The Creations surviving after the Elimination Chamber affair echo the comments of some viewers about how they essentially got relegated to supporting cast by the appearance of Setsuna, though Hikayu also points out that supporting characters are crucial to a story too. Each of the Creations whose Creator is present gets a final chance to interact with them before being sent back to their worlds by Meteora, with farewells varying widely but always seeming appropriate for the personalities involved. Meteora's inability to go back herself isn't much of a surprise, as I had wondered about her ability to go through the Return Gate if she was the one casting the spell. Besides, she might have stayed anyway, since she has previously professed to love the world of the Creators. Expressing a desire to create a story herself logically follows from everything she has experienced in this world too.

The Creators also get their own resolutions. Matsuraba finally lets his anguish show over Selesia's death, but both he and Alicetaria's Creator resolve that they have to continue their stories to a happy ending for the sake of their characters, while Nishio resolves to expand on what he did with Hikayu for the Elimination Chamber; whether Hikayu's parting words will encourage him to write with more decency is up in the air, though. A conversation between Meteora and Sota at Setsuna's grave offers a final resolution for Sota too, pushing him to continue with his artistry, including a rendition of all the Creations except Altair for the episode's final shot. Whether or not the Setsuna that Sota created was the real Setsuna is thankfully left vague, though Meteora certainly seems to think that it was. Her theorizing that Magane's power only changed the necessary acceptance level rather than directly making Setsuna's appearance possible is a welcome bit of insight as well, since it puts more weight on Sota's actions.

The episode finds time for lighter moments too. Meteora is at the center of one final comedy routine, during a restaurant scene where she's trying to explain the need for Creations to return to their origin worlds while her mouth is full. (She also did this back in episode one, so it's apparently a bad habit for her.) Kikuchihara's ultimate path following the whole affair is also an amusing touch; she just doesn't seem to fit her new occupation personality-wise, although she did state early on that she'd always had an interest in the profession, and she did make all kinds of connections as part of the Elimination Chamber project. In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, there were also flashes of advertising boards that showed Hikayu in her battle form and hinted that Mamika might actually be meeting Alicetaria in an upcoming production, an unexpected but very neat touch. Magane's status isn't brought up at all, but given her nature, continuing to be a loose end is only fitting. Besides, with Meteora losing her magic, it's safe to assume that the same thing happened to Magane. The episode also takes some final opportunities to wax philosophical about the creative process, in keeping with the aims of the series thus far.

The finale of Re:CREATORS may not be the most exciting of episodes, but it's the absolute perfect ending for this series. It doesn't cop out by reconstituting “dead” characters, instead just allowing them to continue in their own worlds and leaving thornier issues like whether anime Selesia is the same one Sota met for fans to debate. It doesn't get too pretentious in its ruminations about the creative process and complements everything with a beautifully appropriate musical score. The next-to-last scene, which shows Meteora titling her novel “Re:CREATORS,” might raise questions about whether or not we're dealing with another level of metafiction right at the end, but that also seems fitting. Overall, it's a strong wrap for one of the year's better series.

Rating: A

Re:CREATORS is currently streaming on Amazon's Anime Strike.

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