Score: A+

To say this was a great movie would be an understatement. Honestly this movie was a near masterpiece and a great emotional rollercoaster. Talk about a fantastic way to come back to the NGNL franchise. This movie covered the ancient war that ravaged the world and concluded with Tet taking control of things. It really was a great (and somewhat sad) ride watching Riku and Schwi struggle and change the fate of the world. I couldn’t help but get invested in their struggles and what they were going through. It was a darker time than during Sora and Shiro’s experiences in the regular story. Death and torment were very much things that still existed during that time. The physical and emotional wounds Riku himself picked up through his life were extreme. It is remarkable how much he accomplished.

There’s almost too much to talk about with this one that finding a starting point is difficult XD. I really enjoyed the build of the emotional connection between Riku and Schwi. Not to mention I like how they did dodge some predictable developments. I thought for sure that we were going to see Corone lose it on Riku and Schwi when finding out she wasn’t human. That certainly didn’t happen. I also expected some serious and explosive drama around Schwi being partially involved in the loss of Riku’s settlement. While they tackled that issue, it wasn’t a violent one. I suppose there was a good deal of time between the time Riku figured that out himself and when he was prepared to propose. It was nice to see that Schwi herself was the one more emotionally beaten up by that understanding than Riku.

They started off in a pretty rough relationship. Schwi was all about finding out about the human heart (in unusual ways) while Riku was just an emotional mess at times. The weight of having to order people to their deaths over and over again was destroying him. Even if it is logical to sacrifice one to save many, those bodies will add up over time. Maybe part of it was because this was going to be a tragic story, but I did appreciate that we got to see them reach the point of mutual love. I really give props to Riku that he managed to reach out to Schwi and get her to accept. They did play up some comedy there about Riku being doomed as a virgin, but in the end it was a fun scene.

This certainly creates some mixed feelings for me towards Jibril. I suppose that should always be the case since she already admitted in the original show to some atrocities she was involved in. It isn’t as if this is the first event she caused. The pain is just more apparent when you actually care about the other character involved in it. Jibril is mostly there for comedic purposes, but when unfettered by rules she is a true monster.

Full credit to Schwi for doing everything she possibly could in such a mismatch. Her efforts to survive, escape, and keep the game going. It is a sad and fitting bit of trickery for her to decide that the destruction of a ‘tool’ such as herself doesn’t constitute a loss of the game. It is the kind of play on words that Sora and Shiro would have appreciated. But it would have been the greatest waste for Riku to throw in the towel after they were so close. At least we got to see a beautiful and tragic struggle by Schwi. Even though it meant her destruction she made every effort to survive long enough to get the information across. Not sure if Jibril will ever understand why protecting that wedding ring meant as much to Schwi as anything else.

I have a lot of respect for Steph’s ancestor. She wasn’t the most critical individual to the story, but she was a good person. When Riku stepped down to start his game against the world, she had to take up the job of leading everyone. I like how she brought both Riku and Schwi into her family during that marriage ceremony. The world may never know how important they were, but there is still proof they existed. I suppose it wasn’t the point for them to become famous from their activities. But at least Tet will remember their role and presumably the Ex-Machina ‘race’ as a whole.

It really was something though seeing the plan of Riku and Schwi take shape. They gave their all and manipulated the various races into doing exactly what they wanted. Of course if Riku’s body hadn’t gotten worn down so quickly or if Jibril hadn’t gotten bored then things might have gone even better. Goes to show that things didn’t go ideal, but they still came out on top. I suppose the one miracle they truly needed was for Tet to show up as Riku’s body fell apart. It sucks that he just couldn’t hold on long enough at the end. But I suppose Tet taking over and setting the rules for the new world was good enough.

Sure Tet told this story and he probably changed a few minor details for effect, but I feel the overall story was accurate. Hard to say if these two really looked like Sora and Shiro, but you never know. Maybe they really were. I know it is said at some point that reincarnation isn’t a thing in that world, but Sora and Shiro weren’t from that world originally. Could just be a desire to hope those two found happiness in some way, shape or form. Having them both just die and have it be it would be a bit too sad. Accomplishing their goal and even leaving the game a draw with Tet is an accomplishment, but would just be nice to imagine things being a bit brighter for them.

Either way this was a really emotional movie and a great ride. Visually it was beautiful, the voice acting was on the point, and they really made you feel for what was happening on screen. It was just nice to see this franchise again. It wasn’t the most upbeat story considering the setting, but I really enjoyed it. I didn’t expect to care that much about what was going on in a story without Sora and Shiro in it. That’s what ended up happening though. I honestly recommend anyone who enjoyed NGNL to check this out. But even if you didn’t watch it this is sort of fine to jump into blind since…the main cast aren’t really in it. Just a well told emotional story.

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An older member at 25, yet a new addition to Anime Evo. Recently graduating University and in the difficult point between school and a true career. Anime being a salvation and blogging a good way to put all those hours of writing essays to some use. Enjoys talking about series, yet not taking on so many that the quality dips. A Canadian who enjoys his anime and hearing what others think about the series he enjoys watching.

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