The Day I Became a God
by Nicholas Dupree,
How would you rate episode 12 of
The Day I Became a God ?
I find myself of two minds on how to approach this review. On the one hand, part of my instincts tells me it's not a good idea to come out of the gate with venom, especially for a story that's dealing with such personal and sensitive subject matter. Even if handled poorly, part of me feels like the mature and responsible way to cover this episode is to approach it with some emotional distance and try to break down simply why I feel “The Day You Choose” is a poor conclusion to this show that ultimately stains even the parts of the story I felt worked well.
On the other other hand, I haven't felt this insulted by a piece of fiction since the credits rolled in The Rise of Skywalker. And you know what? This is my last review of 2020 and my Christmas present to myself is to just let it all spill out. This finale was wet garbage.
I'm a sap, really I am. I am a sucker for sentiment in fiction and while I do have my cynical side, if it feels like a story is genuinely trying to say something with its characters and their emotions, I can be very, very lenient with what I'm willing to accept. So when the time comes for Yota to be (forcibly) escorted out of the hospital, only for Hina to stumble her way towards him and fall into a hug, shouting that she loves him, I wasn't inherently opposed to what this show was going for. But from that moment everything about this story falls apart, taking whatever kernels of emotional weight it could lay claim to and throwing them in the toilet in the name of the easiest, most predictable, least meaningful resolution it could come up with.
Just in terms of what's believable, I have no clue why anyone with authority decides to just let Yota bring Hina home with him. Even if Shiba (and the unseen staff of the sanitorium, I guess) are swayed by their loving reunion, Hina is still a patient who requires daily medical therapy and monitoring. Sure, I could buy her eventually reaching the point where living outside the hospital is safe, but from experience I can tell you that's a lengthy, involved, incredibly delicate process. It's been established Hina needs assistance to use the bathroom and her primary means of movement is a wheelchair. Considering her condition it's borderline malpractice to just let her leave for a home that nobody has inspected in any capacity. Hell, I'm pretty sure Hina's main sleeping quarters are on the second floor of the house. We see Yota doing some light physical therapy with her later, sure, but is there any talk of home medical or nursing visits? Who's in charge of her vocabulary and recognition lessons? How would a semi-verbal child who for most of her life has been structured through a rigid daily routine respond to what must be a chaotic family home? The answer the show offers to all of these questions is thus: stop asking and just be happy that Hina is back where she belongs.
Okay, sure. Stories are not ultimately good or bad based on how credible a lie they are. I've forgiven bigger leaps in logic for the sake of an emotionally or thematically compelling resolution before. So let's dance on those terms and look at the embarrassingly rote and frankly creepy way this all turns out. Yota brings Hina back home, the extended cast welcome her back and I guess the girl got over that whole fear of men thing off screen since neither Yota's father or Ashura seem to bother her. Then they dress her up in her old nun outfit and have her finish shooting the movie they were making back in the summer! And Yota says he loves her and decides to become a medical researcher in hopes of curing her! None of this was really built into the characters beforehand though, so it feels like a cheap way to avoid the fact that none of the cast really grew or changed very much. Also, Yota says he and Hina “fell in love” which I guess makes this retroactively a love story between an 18-year-old and a disabled child k. I don't think I need to explain why that's gross.
But the absolute kicker is the finale sequence of the whole cast watching Sora's completed cut of the movie. What was, at the time, a goofy farce of overwrought fantasy cliches that fit an amateur teenage filmmaker well, is now presented as secretly profound because ohhhhhhh it totally mirrors Yota and Hina's story, and how he wanted to bring her back no matter if the world ended! Except here “the world ending” is code for “getting proper and consistent medical attention” so that metaphor falls flat on its ass. There's also a monologue about how Hina was the real protagonist of this story which is not only insultingly false, but also disproves itself because it's Yota explaining her character for her. It's a baffling way to end this whole thing, and really does feel like its creators had no clue what their own story was about, so they just threw together elements that had worked in previous Maeda stories. Hell they even reuse the ending credits idea from Angel Beats to close things out, just to hammer home how tired this whole scenario wound up.
As I've documented in past reviews, there are certainly parts of The Day I Became a God that I liked. I made a sincere, season-long effort to engage with it in good faith, let it tell its story the way it deigned to, and there were at least a few moments that absolutely worked for me in isolation. But as a whole, as a solitary work trying to elicit a particular emotional catharsis, this finale cements it as a total failure, and frankly makes the parts I liked taste like ash in my mouth. It's the worst kind of ending that trips face-first into asphalt, and then confidently declares that the blood in its mouth is victory wine, yet is so predictable it can't even work as trainwreck viewing.
The Day I Became a God is currently streaming on Funimation.
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