Sigh, this was supposed to be a comment (about Yumeria) over at Chizumatic, but it kinda got away from me. Once again, I prove that, no matter how silly an animÃ© series is, hours of time can be devoted to analyzing it. Defiinitely time for the spoiler tags…
It’s fairly obvious that the “end world” is the construction of Tomokazu’s own will, not exactly an unknown ending in anime. That’s how we got the twisted world in the first half of ep. 11, and could have gotten the destroyed world of Neito’s visions. Reconstructing after a visit to the refrigerator: Tomo, as an orphen, would have naturally felt alienated and alone; had the Faydoom succeeded in twisting his will, everyone would have suffered those feelings, amplified to the nth degree, thus causing the breakdown of civilization. But thanks to the interference of Kuyou and his growing relationship with Mizuki, his feelings were more positive, although the Faydoom still managed to twist them unexpectedly. Episode 6, for all that it was filler, was actually necessary from the p.o.v. of demonstrating his growing emotional ties to his surrogate family/harem. It wasn’t just a useless waste of time, as I thought also; looking back, it was bonding.
As for one of the stranger bonds in the show, The Wiki article on Yumeria also claims that guard is Tomo’s father, which got a major WTF??? reaction from me. I plan to go back and re-watch it to check that out. At the time, I put the guard’s personality development down to the writers going “well, we have to give him a reason to side with Tomo against the head of the family.” Still, the whole episode felt wrong. The problem with him being Tomokazu’s father is that it just upsets so much of the background. Why did he let the ditzy Nanase raise his son? On the other hand, it’s a better explanation than “I made him bad katsudon, and have empathy for him.”
Then there’s those last two episodes, to which I had the same reaction. “Um, replay, please?” Actually, I liked it at the time, and still do. The battles were pretty boring and silly, so the plot twist of winning-but-losing-and-having-to-refight-the-final-battle made up for it somewhat. As I noted, the Faydoom twisted his desires at the last moment — at the end of episode 11, his mood was uncertain, because of what he felt was the betrayal of Mone by the head of the family; while they “won”, the Faydoom were able to use his uncertainty to create a “holding pattern” universe in which they didn’t win, but they didn’t lose either. Instead, they pulled the same trick that Tomokazu’s mother had. Last time, she died, but left a world in which her son could grow up and win the final victory. This time, the Faydoom were stopped, but by creating a world in which Tomo was a loner and separated from his “harem,” there wouldn’t be anyone for him (or a descendant, if any) to energize the next time they tried to invade.
In the end, Tomokazu was far more determined the second time around, and, having experienced separation from his surrogate family, drew strength from having them back; hence his power revamped all their weapons into one super-gun that they fired together. Thus, victory and a reconstruction of the world based on Tomokazu’s desires, without Faydoom interference. The results surprised me, simply because I’d gotten so used to the “setting” that it no longer occured to me that Tomo was an orphen. And what would most orphens want the most? Their parents back. It shoudn’t have, but it blindsided me; I didn’t expect that kind of heart from a series this vapid.
On the other hand there is one thing that creeps me out about it… Tomo’s father’s personality, in the few moments he’s on screen, is a lot like Ishigari, without the pedo aspect. Now tie that in to my earlier speculation that Ishigari’s transformation had to have been caused by an early, unconcious, manifestation of Tomo’s power, and the result I get is “Ewww! Ewww! Ewww! Was Tomo looking at Ishigari as a surrogate father-figure but accidentally displaced his own lechery into him, thus causing the personality change?”
And I accused Steven of over-thinking.
The final scene though, that was a groaner, and was very expected. Though I was a bit surprised by the splitting of Neito and Nenneko. I had expected them to handwave it, much as I expected (and got) a handwaved existence for Mone, post-battle. I was not surprised that Tomokazu made his decision as to which girl he wants, even if no one seems to have any memory of what happened to bring that about. The show had been trending strongly that way for some time, and it would have been a cheat to keep the question open.
There is one last open question, though: does “the old man next door” remember anything?
Ok, I take that back, I just thought of another, even if it belongs over at Derailed by Darry. Given how Tomokazu energizes the girls, would a hypothetical prequel featuring Tomo’s mother feature lots of beefcake, or would it be a yuri series? Inquiring minds want to know.