Futari Super Ultra Final Max!!! (pt. 2): The fate of darkness and light is a cruel one: in a battle where neither can exist without the other, can one truly eliminate the other without the consequences being felt? Is there ever to be a true finale between the forces of the Garden of Light and the Dusk Zone? And is there a true solution regarding the fates of both Hikari and the Boy in the Mansion?
Well whatever the answer is, we also get more dimensional-shifting shenanigans, the caretakers of both forces arguing with each other with their fists, a return trip to the Dusk Zone, the return of those annoying massive chains (despite him supposedly no longer needing them if he was truly complete last season...or is the Dark King anymore), the last Heartiel...magically appearing and disappearing, the final battle to stop the Sparkle Braces by the Guardians, the Queen not shutting up, and a culmination of 96 episodes with the same heroines fighting over and over again in the only way possible: WITH STOCK FOOTAGE!!!!!
Ep. 44: The Day Hikari Disappears, The Day We Search For Tomorrow!
Reality warping, worlds appearing without any rhyme or reason....sounds like a typical Urusei Yatsura episode to me.
The power of the darkness that has been building since the season started seems to keep growing despite the fact that Hikari's light and the Cures' power keeps growing likewise. Unfortunately because of this continued growth of the power, the world is starting to get more and more out of balance, with nothing making sense regarding placement or what reality really is, with visions of the real world appearing in the Garden of Light and the Garden of Light within the real world, even at the protection of the mansion! The Cures seem to think the power is whatever is associated with the "darkness", though at the same time they seem to forget that somehow the Guardians and the boy seem to be in fear of the light, which due to its' own growth (and thus the whole fate of both the Dark King and the Queen of the Garden of Light), just seems to mean that if something doesn't happen soon, then all realities may end up doomed. As such in order to try and resolve this issue, both Hikari and the boy of the mansion seem to vanish and confront one another within a void dimension, though this time there seems to be an interesting perspective. While we know that Hikari's been protected by Nagisa, Honoka and even Akane, the boy considers the four guardians (and probably the Butler Zakenna) as "his friends" and that they will save him just as much as she thinks her friends will save her. It's an interesting element that I think sort of plays at the season's one strength: the boy doesn't know about the bad things the Guardians have been doing and doesn't understand the dark power he possesses that they're protecting and nuturing; thus to him, the Guardians are as good and protective to him as the Cures and fairies are to Hikari. And likewise the boy worries that if whatever is inside him is released, he'll eventually dissappear, which is sort of probably the fate of Hikari once the Queen is finally reborn. Hikari ends up comforting the boy, saying they'll be alright and that they'll get through this, all the while Nagisa and Honoka fight the Guardians (well three, Baldez stays behind) thinking they're behind Hikari's dissapearance and that they should be the ones crushed (while at the same time they probably feel they're behind whatever happened to the boy). In this perspective it really does seem to show that despite the good and evil elements they try to portray, both Hikari and the boy are just in the same boat, both as supernatural beings being protected yet who seem to have this existence that really defies the world they're in now, even if it is the field by which the climax of the conflict will emerge. They're both trying to fight for their own survival, they both believe in those protecting them, and they both want to live to see tomorrow even as their own existence could threaten all reality. Obviously with the Cures being portrayed as "good guys", they're more concerned about Hikari's own welfare, but the question now is this: could this idea of there really being no good or evil in this parallel existence really work in defining how to handle the rescuing of Hikari and the boy?
Ep. 45: Infinite Darkness, Eternal Light
OK it's official: if the world ends, it's Seekun's fault!
It's interesting that the season seems to be about this interesting balance between light and darkness; the balance in the battle between the Queen and Dark King that just can never end without utter chaos due to one needing the other to exist...and yet somehow the villains keep trying to make it seem like the power that they possess either needs to have the balance or doesn't need to have the balance without really deciding which it does or not. In this case, Hikari and the boy end up back in the Dusk Zone, which is where they ended up with the last teleportation and we get a bit more of another revelation: aside from the whole light/darkness balance they keep pushing with the final episodes, it seems like the boy is basically the "Life" of the Dark King in the same way that Hikari is the "Life" of the Queen, with Baldez claiming he's basically the spirit of the Dark King in the same way the Heartiels are for the one she's been protecting. It does bring up this interesting factor once again: the power that has been growing for both Hikari and the boy had to remained balanced in order for it to emerge in their favor, to allow for this eternal battle to continue onwards. In a way, the only way for the Dark King to be reborn was if the Queen was reborn and thus this need and balance of light and darkness to exist; it's actually a neat twist and does seem to show the concern amidst a lot of the stupidity this season has shot at us. It is once this realization is made that the boy finally awakens the Dark King's power within him (though without losing his body at all for some reason or another), while Hikari...well, she awakens the final Heartiel that finally just appears out of nowhere just to be sucked into the Chairlect, thus basically only needing Seekun to return to finish the Queen...but of course the episode is also about "we don't want Hikari to go away because we love her" and thus the Cures are willing to fight to protect her when really all they need to do is get Seekun into the chair, reform the Queen (who probably would exist with Hikari regardless) and restart this light/darkness war once again. But of course with Hikari their friend who they think need saving, that means the Queen isn't going to return even as the Dark King reforms and throws his chain throughout Wakadai; basically dooming their home and possibly the world for the sake of their friend. It isn't the first or last time this has happened in the franchise...but as said, there does have to be some way that they can save Hikari and get the Queen back, since she's probably the only one who can fight back against the Dark King at this point.
Ep. 46: Life-Risking Attack! Dark Soldiers At Maximum Power!!
Congratulations, you finally beat the Sparkle Bracelets...too bad you had to die to do it.
Because of Hikari's decision to not become the Queen, the Dark King was basically able to ressurect, and made worse with the boy somehow sacrificing his life beyond his control to finish the job and basically doom all worlds. It really is a dark decision that is basically going to haunt everyone because of some bad decisions on everyone's half, even with the Guardians (well Circulas, Uragaros and Vilbis) still wanting to fight the Cures to finish off their duties in dealing with them as they have all season. It really had gotten rather dull watching the Guardinas fight the Cures again and again, but considering they were the main villains (give or take a Zakenna), it at least is afforded to them. Most of the final battle is really bizarre, mostly due to the usage of CGI for the buildings in the showdown and how much of the city is crushed already by the time they do fight, but I do admit that the battle's best moment is one final battle with the Sparkle Bracelets, something that's sort of become a running gag all season with them blocking and getting away from it time and again (though it did seem like Uragaros was destroyed early on and we know that Baldez was prior to that bizarre resurrection he want through). But I did like the fact that for the most part even though the Cures went all out, the trio died finally destroying the infernal things, more or less just sort of elements that shouldn't have gotten in the way of the battle but that helped the Cures out more than they should have; and of course with Baldez still around and the Dark King preparing to consume all worlds...again...they're at a severe advantage without Hikari.
Speaking of her, Shiny Luminous ends up going through this final decision of making Seekun go back into the Chairlect and, thus finally finish the path of her becoming the Queen once again. Sure she cares about the Earth and the people on it she's met, but at the same time she sort of does see that a sacrifice like this is probably necessary if it's enough to perhaps save the world from being consumed and to end the nightmare of the Dark King. But...unfortunately, just as they finally get it all together and it could finally end...the disembodied voice of the Queen returns telling her "she can't do it because she doesn't want to sacrifice herself for the sake of saving the world". It makes me wonder unfortunately how the heck the Queen was able to do this prior (she did say in the first episode that this has happened before) if the whole aspect of creating a being to contain her light just makes them care about the world to not give it up when it all finally comes together. (then again it took 46 episodes of nonsense to finally finish the job and obviously with the Dark King reviving first) It does make me wonder how the heck the series is going to end when you have Hikari wanting to save the world and the Queen being a jerk again in saying it isn't enough.
Ep. 47 (Final): Open the Door! The Story Begins From Here
NO, I WAS SO CLOSE! DEFEATED BY THE POWER OF REPEATED TIRED STOCK FOOTAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So...the final Futari wa Pretty Cure episode ever...the final battle for Nagisa and Honoka for the fate of the world against the Dark King...for the third time. And my first thought is...can I say that I have never seen an ending implode in on itself as much as this one? Seriously, for a final battle that was supposed to be the climax of 96 episodes of story, it really didn't have what it took. Yeah it had action and it tried to create something important out of it, but it just felt like a lot of surreal elements combined with bizarre plot twists and "return to status quo" elements that it makes the end of DokiDoki PreCure look like high art! (and that was an ending where the final villain literally appeared out of nowhere! At least that ending had the bizarre nature of Mana and the randomness that Bel turned into a mouse with shades after the Proto-Selfishness was destroyed even if nothing is resolved for him, Ira and Marmo)
So what happened? Well basically...Cures Black and White fight Baldez, which obviously makes some sense considering he's the only real threat between them and the Dark King himself. We get them being smashed down, then get back up with some psychological motivation to use the Sparkle Bracelets again (WHAT THEY KEEP REVIVING THEMSELVES?! SO WHAT WAS WITH THAT VICTORY THAT THE OTHER GUARDIANS HAD IN THE LAST EPISODE OVER THEM!?!?) and their whole "we're fighting for everybody" schpeil (including this whole motivation of Nagisa to keep getting up and trying again despite...the memory also mentioning that she fell down in a track race and still took first place so...if she won, what's the lesson?) leading to them using them against him. And he survives it...and then Baldez suddenly claims he's the Dark King, then merges with the being and somehow becomes a mini Dark King with a huge chin. This...makes no sense whatsoever: how the heck is Baldez the Dark King; is this why he was influencing the boy all along; does this have to do with why he was able to revive in the Dusk Zone after the first battle with the Sparkle Bracelets; and what was the whole point of the boy anyway and the whole "revive the Dark King plan" they had? He beats the Cures again, then they retreat,, regain resolve, finally repower the Prism Stones in the Garden of Light and then beat Baldez again. And then he grows giant...only for Hikari to somehow use her power combined with Pollun and Lulun and thus FINALLY revive the Queen We finally get a nice farewell about why she did it, but then while the Queen fights huge Baldez, we get one final Extreme Luminario...and despite the addition of "MAX" to it, it's basically a generic Extreme Luminario with the Queen's power that does in Baldez/Dark King and brings an end to things. (amidst a speech that continues to try and bring an element of "light and darkness must be in balance"...except the problem is that they keep trying to make all the beings of darkness [not named Kiriya] complete jerks who want to destroy everything so the idea of balance between the realms can't really work if they keep making the Dusk Zone beings evil jerks)
And then...well...it gets really bizarre. As we see the death of the Dark King/Baldez...for the last time...I hope...we suddenly get narration in the midst of the explosion that Mepple and Mipple are leaving...yet again...and then a montage of the graduation (not even an actual graduation; we got a real graduation for Fujimura and Nagisa's previous lacrosse leader and not for Nagisa and Honoka!?!?!?) only to lead to a final reveal that somehow Hikari is alive...as is the boy (named Hikaru)...oh and Mepple and Mipple are back with Pollun and Lulun. So...yeah, back to status quo (outside Hikaru)...
What did I just watch? No seriously? What was it? That was our big end, the final episode of the 96 of the Futari saga? And basically...it's an even worse finale than even the end of the first series and the second Dark King saga. Mind you, the element with Hikari could have worked but it just got really messy and confusing. And what should have been a grand farewell to these two girls after all this time just feels very rushed and slapdash. So...what happened? I don't know and really at this point I don't care. I just want to put this all behind me (well outside the final review) and move on.