Yuki Yuna is a Hero Season 2
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Yuki Yuna is A Hero Season 2 ?
Anyone who has seen the entirety of the first series already knows the end result of this episode's events, so the only significant unknowns are relatively minor factors like what Sonoko's Mankai form looks like and how much the girls' parents knew about the sacrifices they would be making. So the predominant value of this episode is less to finish this storyline in dramatic fashion and more to fill in the final links between the prologue and the main story. This episode quite satisfyingly accomplishes the latter, and to an extent accomplishes the former too.
At the very least, the climactic battle sequences against the new wave of Vertexes, which dominate the second half, finally reach the level of the first series at its best. Even if the themes are different, the music soars and the visuals are the series' sharpest to date, including the gloriously CG-rendered airships that serve as the Mankai forms for both Washio and Sonoko; the former is the same as she uses as Mimori in the first series, while the latter is such a marvel of moving parts that I wish it had gotten more attention. The swarming motion of the lesser critters, the dramatic effects of the physical strikes and energy blasts, and the peek beyond the barrier all look great; there aren't many series that use CG animation better than this episode does.
Even more important is the sense of drama and powerful irony the episode captures while still filling in all of the necessary blanks. For instance, we learn where the hair bow that Mimori always wore in the first series came from and the tragic conditions under which she got it, how devastating Washio's memory loss is to the promises between her and Sonoko, and just how far the protection of the fairies goes. We see that Sonoko came to understand what was happening to them and yet still charged off to battle in place of the mentally and physically compromised Washio, and we see how she came to know about what was beyond the illusory wall at the edge of the alternate space. Why Sonoko was supportive of whatever Mimori wanted to do in the last stages of the first series – even if it meant destroying everything – also becomes clear. After all, she had to at least come to suspect that the adults deliberately avoided revealing the consequences of their fight, and her words in the first series about how she supposed that the adults were just sparing their feelings never did sound like they had much conviction behind them. The episode also demonstrates why the girls didn't figure things out right away in the first series; the losses set in as they dropped out of Mankai at the end of a battle, rather than in the middle of it, so they could be passed off as battle injuries.
That all brings up the darkest aspect of the story; the adults clearly did know the consequences of the Sange effect that follows Mankai and deliberately chose not to tell the girls about it. Sure, both parents and teacher were mortified by this, but they convinced themselves that it was necessary. It's one thing when girls are going around taking risks on their own to save/protect the world (see Madoka Magica) but adults essentially exploiting children as their saviors completely changes the situation. Even though the adults didn't have much choice, they still come across nearly as much like villains as the Vertexes do. But that is at least part of what makes the story so compelling.
Anyway, this episode brings the prequel arc to a close by depicting events right up to the first series flashback of Yuki meeting Mimori for the first time, and it does so in strong fashion even if it feels like the progression of events was a little rushed. Next episode should time-skip ahead to after the original series and more open possibilities about where the story may go.
Yuki Yuna is a Hero season 2 is currently streaming on Amazon's Anime Strike.
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