So-Ra-No-Wo-To 12 final
Shot after being discovered by the Helvetian troops, Aisha slumps down at Noel’s feet, the mechanic looking on in horror as blood starts to pool from the Roman girl’s wound.
Kicking the platoon’s emergency phone out of commission upon hearing the gunshot echo, Hopkins flashes a wicked grin and soon instructs his troops to head out and join forces with the units gathered near nomansland.
Before the colonel can step outside, Felicia draws her handgun, pressing it against Hopkins head, the blonde captain turns the tables by taking the crazed warmonger into custody instead.
Their commanding officer taken hostage, the colonel’s troops are forced to retreat out of the fortress, where news of the 1121st platoon’s mutiny spreads like wildfire among the gathered townspeople.
Tending to Aisha’s wound, Yumina assures the others that the Roman girl should be able to pull through. Alas any sense of relief is quickly spoiled by Hopkins, who even with a rifle pointed at him gladly elaborates how he planned to use Aisha to trigger hostilities between the Roman and Helvetian forces by gruesomely executing the girl.
Fiercely stating the Romans should be annihilated for war is the only means to restore the past era’s glory, Hopkins soon singles out Noel, citing how she helped him bring an ancient weapons plant back into operation that led the massacre of hundreds of people.
Terrorized by the colonel’s harsh words, Noel goes into near catatonic shock. Only when a shot from Felicia’s handgun narrowly misses his head does Hopkins soon shuts up upon seeing the lethal gaze in the 1121st platoon captain’s eyes.
Exasperated at the situation they have gotten themselves into, Kureha laments they are actually endangering the town and its people instead of protecting them which is their duty as soldiers. Hearing this, Yumina tells the girls how Aisha told her the Roman version of the Fire Maiden legend, which is quite different from how the legend has been passed down in Seize.
Having locked Hopkins away in the distillery room, little do the girls know the sly colonel soon frees himself thanks to a hidden blade.
Relieving Kureha from standing guard in the tower, Kanata soon focuses her attention away from the feisty girl’s barrage of words after having said she believes in the Roman version of the Fire Maiden legend and signals Kureha to be quiet.
Seeing Kanata listen intently, Kureha is unsure what to make of it and even less so when Kanata rushes back to Felicia reporting that she heard a trumpet far off in the distance blowing the cease-fire call. Realizing Felicia believes Kanata, Kureha interferes, saying they can’t be sure the peace talks have born fruit.
Still insisting on informing Hopkins, hoping to convince the colonel not to spark the fire that will start a war, Felicia is shocked to learn of his escape.
Instructing his troops to mobilize towards nomansland, Hopkins refuses to hear reason, even when Naomi heads out with a white flag trying to convince him Kanata did hear a cease-fire signal.
Speaking up, Noel’s trembling voice tells how she remembers Hopkins laughed with glee at seeing people perish by the dozens. Lamenting how she helped him kill so many with the weapons she created, Noel is surprised when Yumina speaks up, telling her she should focus on saving more lives now in the present than she took in the past.
Hearing the Roman army is set to attack by dawn and that Naomi has been arrested, the girls of the 1121st platoon fear all is lost, their gazes downcast.
Suggesting they head out to deliver the cease-fire message, Kanata is berated by Kureha who accuses the trumpet player of being selfish. Refusing to give up, Kanata says she loves the world they live in, even if many say it’s a world that has already ended.
Pleading the girls to stop the oncoming war, Yumina helps Aisha sit up as the Roman girl spurs Noel on, revealing she too killed others as a soldier. Reaching out to Noel, Aisha tells the girl she has suffered enough and that she forgives her, even if Noel cannot bring to forgive herself. Clasping Aisha’s hand, Noel breaks down in tears.
Seeing Kanata, Felicia and Noel’s resolve, Kureha gives in and soon breaks out in tears as well, relieved of the pressure from having tried to be the voice of reason in Rio’s absence.
Decided to stop the war from erupting at any cost, the girls start up their spider tank, Takemikazuchi.
Seeing the derelict hangar of the fortress collapse, the onlooking soldiers and villagers are in awe when Takemikazuchi emerges from the rubble and swiftly heads heads towards nomansland. Not intent on letting the 1121st platoon thwart his plans, Hopkins orders his troops to intercept the tank at any cost.
Looking at the tank speed off in the distance, Yumina remembers the Fire Maiden legend as Aisha revealed it is known in Rome.
Having brought divine retribution upon mankind’s warped world, an angel sent by the heavens set down to rest near Seize. Taking pity on the injured creature, the maidens of the fortress rescued it, protecting it from the wrath of the people.
Giving her saviors a golden horn, the angel and maidens perished in the fire brought onto them by the townspeople, but with her last strength one of the maidens played the horn, fending off the other angels that appeared in the sky.
Surrounded by Hopkins’ tank battalion, the Takemikazuchi takes heavy fire, but its superior cannon and armor enable the girls to pull through even though they are bombarded from all directions. Disabling all opposing tanks and crushing Hopkins’ vehicle, the 1121st platoon girls bravely head on.
As the sun rises slowly over nomansland, the Roman and Helvetian armies charge towards each other until suddenly the Takemikazuchi leaps right in the middle. Its armor pitted and scorched, the tank climbs on top of a slanted ruin at the center of the battlefield where Kanata opens her hatch, taking out her trumpet to play the Helvetian and Roman cease-fire signals.
Realizing neither army is stopping its advance, Kanata steps out on top of Takemikazuchi and plays Amazing Grace.
Moved by the melody’s soothing tones, both armies stop dead in their tracks just in time for Rio to arrive with the Helvetian royal guard.
Declaring she is the Helvetian archeduke’s heir and betrothed of the Roman prince, Rio calls on both armies to lay down their weapons for a formal peace treaty has been signed between both opposing countries.
Hearing this, not only do Kanata, Kureha and Felicia rejoice, but the soldiers of both armies cheer with joy that a bloody war has been averted.
Spring has come and pink cherry blossom petals float down from the time telling fortress’ courtyard cherry tree. While the girls wait for the 1121st platoon’s new recruit to arrive, Noel tells Kureha and Kanata about Aisha’s latest letter in which the Roman girl says her her trumpet practice is going well.
Seeing Klaus’ bike pull up, the girls can’t believe their eyes when none other than Rio walks up to them.
Explaining the Roman emperor granted her one wish in thanks for averting the war, Rio reveals she’s back for duty. Ecstatic with joy, Kanata, Kureha and Noel soon pounce their beloved friend while Felicia looks on smiling.
And all ends well…
Must admit I was quite anxious to see the finale, hoping it would prove to be a climax up to par with the rest of the series which has been exceptionally good as most anime go and to my joy wasn’t let down for this episode was everything I’d hoped it would be, a perfectly fitting and well spun out ending to an already sublime series.
They could have taken different routes to the series’ conclusion. A gripping dramatic end where the 1121st platoon girls die trying to stop the war, or where Kanata or Rio perishes was a very real possibility.
We could also have been shown a rushed ending where too much would have been haphazardly explained or where far too much deus ex machina type elements would have been thrown onscreen, like the angels returning or such fantasy akin ploys.
Instead everything was well paced and expertly pieced together into a realistic, believable end.
What I also found commendable is how they convincingly had the 1121st platoon, Kanata and Rio all be essential parts of what ultimately averts the war.
Using Takemikazuchi to fight their way to the battlefield, the girls of the 1121st platoon enable Kanata to move both armies with her music which buys enough time for Rio to arrive and bring news of the peace treaty.
Do like how it all played out, featuring a happy end radiating hope, while enough attention was still spent on the characters and the horrors of war which were mostly shown through how the characters see the past and world they live in.
Incredible how “So-Ra-No-Wo-To” forms a near perfect fitting puzzle where plots, events and character interaction all come together as essential pieces which complete the overall image.
Some may regret that several things were left to viewer’s discretion or even plain mystery, such as what exactly happened in the past with the apocalypse, though personally I feel they probably couldn’t have done better.
Telling the Roman version of the Fire Maiden legend, they offer enough elements to have a vague historical view of what happened which leaves plenty of room for suspension of disbelief thanks to it being told as a legend whereas showing everything in detail would have lent the series a far more incredulous character.
Yet nothing was left without sufficient explanation to have a believable comprehensive plot which would have made the series equally incredulous. Comparing it to “Code Geass” where after such a long series run, still far too little was explained or clear about the Geass world or cult and more gave the impression of sheer plot-hole or deus ex machina than otherwise.
Or if one were to compare to say “Valkyria Chronicles” when Selveria and Alicia are outed as Valkyrians and battle each other with fantastic powers, here “So-Ra-No-Wo-To” is far more convincing as a realistic story because it omits explicit scenes or plots showing what can easily be experienced as too farfetched elements.
So in that aspect think that “So-Ra-No-Wo-To” manages to walk a middle road.
Kind of sad to see the series end but seeing how perfectly everything fit, every little detail had importance and meaning and the series was filled with rich, believable characters, don’t think they could have done better with a higher episode count.
Still am glad there will apparently be extra episodes included with volumes 4 and 7 of the DVD/BluRay. Can’t wait to see them!
If I were to fault this final episode I’d say some scenes didn’t seem as well animated as others or as the series constant level throughout showed. Perhaps last minute changes forced them to redo scenes? Who knows?
Still “So-Ra-No-Wo-To” is one of those rare series where everything just beautifully comes together each and every episode, superb animation, fantastic soundtrack, terrific characters and great plot.