Are last episodes supposed to provide closure? Are they supposed to feel satisfying and wrap everything up in a nice beautiful little box? Subete ga F ni Naru would clearly beg to differ.
Its fascinating in a way, how the final episode of this murder, mystery, psychological thriller is almost a completely skippable and throwaway episode. The big headliner, the series crowning achievement, happened last week, and all that was left now was to do some final house keeping and finish off the series strong. Subete ga F ni Naru COULD have done it, it certainly had ample opportunity to, but it seems like the story for the show just wasn’t interested in giving its audience clear and satisfying answers to all its mysteries.
I don’t think I’ll ever understand that aspect of the show, the one where it refuses to just do the logical thing, and instead tries to be overly clever and almost fails miserably at it. I say that, but then there are other times, like whether its the big seminal twist of last week, or the smaller surprises and stand out episodes, where the series truly does end up being exceedingly smart and pretty darn clever.
So what is it then? Is Subete ga F ni Naru a seminal piece of art that plays with the viewer, that makes them question everything and provide some kind of life changing experience? I actually don’t believe so. And while I’ll reserve my overall impressions of the series for the full review, I will say this, as a sort of precursor; Subete ga F ni Naru is a show that’s good at some things, and terrible at others. Its got the confidence and the gutso of a series that really does believe in itself. It takes itself seriously, and its fairly ambitious in what it sets out to do.
But unfortunately, much to the dismay of both the hopeful audience and the show itself, it doesn’t quite knock it out of the park. And I think this week’s final episode is more or less evidence of that anything.
To start with, I think that the recipe for success, the setup was all there. The episode opened up some time after the incident with Magata Shiki and her eluding and fooling everyone. Moe was clearly distancing herself from Souhei, not just because of her uncle’s warnings, but more so because she felt like she totally and utterly couldn’t compare to Magata Shiki.
Its such an interesting idea, because I don’t think Moe ever realizes that she and Magata Shiki weren’t in some kind of competition for Souhei’s evaluation. Yet, Moe continues to feel jealous and burned from having to live up to the grand entity that is Magata Shiki. She’s clearly jealous of the fact that Souhei admires and relates to Shiki, but she doesn’t realize how utterly childish and unnecessary it is.
Souhei does, afterall, choose her over Shiki (even though Its pretty evident that there was no competition). The connection, the understanding, the time, and the nurtured relationship that Souhei has developed with Moe over the many years they’ve known each other, well… That’s something truly precious isn’t it? Especially because of the kind of person Souhei is.
Since the first episode, I think, everyone has had a bit of an annoyed impression of Souhei. He’s someone who tries to act overly philosophical, and play devil’s advocate, but he’s actually just a weird professor that’s just not good at expressing himself or interacting with people. The fact that someone like Moe tolerates, adores and admires him is a pretty darn amazing fact.
But I think the thing that I really like about Souhei is that, as annoying as he is, he’s at least self aware. The talk he has with Magata Shiki, as he talks about his odd jokes, how he continues to annoy Moe, and how she just continues to get annoyed but doesn’t turn away, that to him is how important their relationship is. They fight, they bicker, they can’t seem to match the same wavelength, but yet the two people find another exceedingly important and worthwhile.
That’s the part of the episode, I think, that actually really worked for me. The entire issue of Souhei and Moe, of what they are, and what they will be (eventual lovers) is answered quite beautifully in this episode. Its all done really neatly too. Gido turns out to be Souhei’s sister for one thing. For the other, the two of them really do work out the final kinks between them, through reminscing about the past and the future. The conversation we get between them, the small flashbacks that get peppered in, all show a relationship with a ton of rich history and hard work behind it.
It also highlights a pretty mature and wise outlook on the idea of relationships. Its not exactly realistic or fair to expect someone to be this perfect person, one that’s JUST right for you, and more importantly, that kind of relationship can’t be meaningful. I think the relationships that really matter, are the ones where people deal with each other’s unique quirks, their flaws, and embrace them along with the good that the person does have.
Its kind of odd how Subete ga F ni Naru has silently been making that case for people and their interactions. Souhei and Moe work as a couple, as a duo, not because they’re particularly likable or nice people (They’re not bad), but because they respect and accept one another for who they are. Magata Shiki and her odd sense of warped love also kind of follows the same idea, in a weird, twisted kind of way.
Which brings me to the part of the episode that didn’t quite work for me, the resolution of Magata Shiki’s character arc. We learned last week that Magata Shiki killed her daughter, the man she loved, and then just kind of went off into the night. The big question that the series left lingering was: “Why?” Why did she kill her daughter? What unearthly reason could she have had? Is Magata Shiki a crazy and insane killer? Is there something more to her?
Those questions, the series refused to answer. Its not that the series side stepped them, or avoided addressing them in some kind of shadowey way, it just actively refused to deal with them. I say that because, quite honestly, the episode had all the setup and the scenario where it could’ve clearly answered all those questions.
After a decent while, like she promised, Shiki ends up paying Souhei a visit. This is a scene that just reeked of “finality” and “conclusion”. It seemed like one of those classic moments where the protagonist and the antagonist have a meaningful, reflective conversation before the inevitable end. It really did seem like Souhei and Shiki talking was about answering those lingering questions.
And to Souhei’s credit, he flat out asks, but Shiki refuses to give a straight answer. The conversation between the two is actually quite riveting and engrossing, its well written and all that jazz, but it eventually turns out to be moot. Half the things Shiki ends up telling Souhei turn out to be a lie, and the one thing that the series does commit to saying is that Souhei and Shiki are just… different.
Souhei respects the fact that Shiki is just so smart that he can’t fathom to understand the way she perceives the world. Souhei believes that, the story believes that, but I unfortunately can’t buy into that particular idea. Shiki being so beyond general human intelligence that her actions just can’t be understood is not enough of a reason for all the things she did.
It doesn’t provide enough context to her actions, her elaborate, 15 year long plan. It almost makes the whole thing seem absurd, stupid, and unreal. And I think the story and the author “name” think that they’re making some kind of point. The idea that, answers really aren’t all that important, or that, there are no perfect answers, is not some kind of philosophically deep thing.
Its a cop out, plain and simple. As Shiki and her daughter talked about questions, and how humans continue to seek answers, my eyes just narrowed. This was the showing trying to not so subtly say that well, it didn’t have an answer. There aren’t any perfect answers afterall, as far as its concerned.
Does that answer work well? Probably not. It might for some people, I can see a certain type of person looking at that kind of answer, adjusting their monocle and musing: “Yes, Quite.”
I don’t personally find that kind of writing, and those kind of answers to be good writing. I find them to be sloppy, annoying excuses that stand in for real answers. The fact of the matter is that while Shiki’s ultimate plan was exceedingly clever, her motivations and her character itself, weren’t.
That’s a pretty powerful flaw there. And yes, the irony of me appreciating the show’s message of “appreciating the good and the flawed” isn’t lost on me. I’m 100% convinced that that particular aspect of the story was also calculated. The feel good resolution to Souhei and Moe, to the fact that Souhei loves and adores Moe, that Magata Shiki is nothing more than a fascinating individual to him, not an obsession, is all in service to the story’s whole: “There are no perfect answers” shtick.
In the end, we simply see Magata Shiki back in that weird watery, sunset landscape, talking to herself as she’s developed another two personalities, her dead daughter and her “oji-san”. Is that creepy? Yes. Does it provide a great, seminal moment for the series to end on? No.
I think the thing that almost prevents the show from achieving greatness, even after last week’s beautiful hail mary, is the fact that Shiki is never completed as a character. She’s simply left at being this misunderstood, unfathomable entity, where I think humanizing her, or dehumanizing her even, would’ve worked better. Leaving her ambiguous is a missed opportunity, one that messes up the show’s overall appeal. to me, at least.
But that dual nature of good and bad is kind of what Subete ga F ni naru is I suppose. Its gone from being good, to great, to meh, to really bad and then really great, before ending on a bit of a whimper rather than a bang. Was this series worth my time? Yes, yes it was. The plot of the story, the idea of that beautiful twist, and how exceedingly well its setup through the series until episode 10, that makes this series worth it for me. Episodes like this? They’re okay, but they’re clearly not what Subete ga F ni Naru is better at.
And I believe that’s the one element that’s always been missing from Subete ga F ni Naru. that touch of empathy, that feeling of humanity and reliability that it just doesn’t have. Its interesting that both this show and Sakurako-san both premiered in the same season, because they really are almost polar opposites of one another.
While Sakurako clearly lives and breathes through that idea of genuine human feeling but fails at great setup and plot, Subete ga F ni Naru excels at the inverse. Subete ga F ni Naru is a series that’s got some clever ideas, a solid and exceedingly remarkable mystery, but it fails at really creating a memorable and deep sense of emotion for any of its characters.
Its because of all of that, that I think Subete ga F ni Naru will largely be forgotten, and not remembered as some kind of ground breaking series, even though it does clearly do some truly ground breaking things. At least, that’s how I feel at the moment, after watching this final episode. After some time to absorb and ponder, I may eventually slide towards liking it overall, but I think that’s where the comments come in.
If you watched through all of Subete ga F ni Naru, then I’m just so darn interested to hear your thoughts, because you are one of few. And its because of the few things that Subete ga F ni Naru does do really well, that that kind of feels like a bit of a sad tragedy.
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