Final: 12 – Re: [EGO | Resolution]
After a 12-episode long struggle, Re:␣Hamatora has finally come to an end. It might have tripped, stumbled and ran out of breath several times along the way, but the series deserves a big sigh of relief to have made it all the way to the finish line. Looking at the big picture, this series did well to tie up most of the loose ends. Although most of the outstanding issues were dealt with in a mad rush in this final episode, I take comfort in the fact that it at least addressed many of the questions.
What did Moral do to Art? As it turned out, nothing. Saikyou (boring lady as she definitely was, offed herself. Thank goodness!) was the one who chanced upon Art’s Minimum and took him in. Moral did however tell Art that Art was the one who killed his brother, Skill. This was what Moral had whispered to his ear in episode 7 of season one. Art had only forgotten about the day’s crazy events (more on that later) because of an accident that happened which wiped out his memory, which happened at the same time Nice was escaping with Hajime (again, more on that later).
Why did Art’s personality change? As it turned out, it didn’t change. Vengeful Art is who he originally was, and the sweet, well-mannered Art that we believed him to be was simply a mask that he put on to hide his true feelings. Art yearned for a Minimum and was jealous of those who had one. Yes, he was jealous after all. I guess in a way that kind of explains why he over compensated by going around taking away everyone’s Minimum.. but well, they don’t call jealousy the green-eyed monster for no good reason, do they? It was also Art’s desperation for a Minimum that made him oblivious to the terrible things that were being done to his brother.
What happened to Art’s brother? Skill was Art’s younger brother and as the episode revealed, they were both at Facultas Academy (together with Nice). Skill eventually developed a Minimum – one that could amplify the ego of others and therefore bring out their Minimums. His Minimum was the driving force behind the experiments done to the children (Hajime being one of them, as seen in episode 8). However, as we were told, the success rate of the experiments were extremely low and when done wrongly, eroded the humanity of the one being experimented on, essentially turning them into monsters.
How did Nice survive then? During his and Hajime’s great escape from Facultas Academy, Nice was shot. He had only managed to survive because Moral transplanted Skill’s heart into Nice.
Why the focus on killing Nice? By chance, Art found out what Facultas was doing to his brother. However, by that time Skill was already so broken and mortified that his Minimum was being used to pursue such wrong beliefs, that all he wished for was death. And so, Skill asked Art to kill him to put an end to all the suffering that he was causing, as well as the suffering that he going through. Upon stabbing Skill, he triggered Skill’s Ego Minimum, which was activated at the exact same time Hajime’s Nihilist Minimum was activated. Both Minimum’s cancelled each other out, and this explains why Nice’s Minimum was not wiped out then. And because Skill’s Ego Minimum was activated, Art received his Regeneration Minimum, which triggered when Moral shot his heart. Activating his Regeneration Minimum meant clicking the ‘reset’ button and Art’s memories of that fateful day were restored. After getting his memories back, courtesy of Saikyou, Art then set out to fulfil his promise to Skill. Now that Skill was already brain dead, the only thing he could do to ensure Skill was fully killed was to kill Nice, who had Skill’s heart. Art believed that by doing so, he could finally grant Skill’s wish and put an end to Skill’s suffering.
How did Nice survive again? The last time we saw Art trying to kill Skill, he didn’t very well manage to do a clean job of it because of his hesitation. This time round, Art hesitated yet again, and hence did not manage to do properly finish Nice off. My guess is that Art’s hesitation probably caused him to miss Nice’s heart, and since Nice’s heart is Skill’s heart, with the Ego Minimum that means he has super regenerative abilities/a near indestructible heart.
How did Art survive? He sucked out his Minimum before he jumped off the building (anyone thought of Baldr in Kamigami? Because that was how HiroC’s character decided to go as well), so how did he survive the fall? My guess is that either his Minimum can’t be gotten rid of that easily, or Nice (and by proxy Skill) immediately gave Art his Regeneration Minimum before Art hit the ground. In any case, let’s just assume that Art had his Regeneration Minimum and so he was able to heal.
Why did Hamatora and the gang forgive Art? So he tried stealing everyone’s Minimums, tried to kill the Minimum Holders, and he did indirectly almost cause the deaths of Birthday, Ratio and Chiyu. He also put Hajime’s life in danger and pretty much destroyed Yokohama. After all that he had done, how did the gang manage to make nice with him? I guess deep down, Art really is not a bad guy. His actions might have been misguided, but his beliefs stemmed from his love for his brother. Sure he went around trying to kill Nice, but deep down, the thought of actually killing Nice was probably a really devastating thought for him. And the fact that he hesitated in killing Nice just goes to show that Art still holds some compassion and humanity – they are friends from way back after all.
It has been a long time coming, but Re:␣Hamatora did at least attempt to wrap things up nicely. However, for all the promise that season 2’s trailer held, this season left a whole lot to be desired, and the execution of the storyline was once again hindered by the excessive fillers and focus on many things unimportant. In my opinion, unless you watched the first season and are hard pressed for answers, or like me are a big fan of the seiyuus (Kamiya Hiroshi, Fukuyama Jun, Oosaka Ryouta, Nakamura Yuuichi, Hatano Wataru, to name a few), this really isn’t a must-watch series.
More than anything, the theme for this show is undoubtedly discrimination – the never-ending fight between Minimum Holders and non-Minimum Holders. Discrimination is a very relevant topic in today’s world definitely one of the more prevalent ones in anime (Tokyo Ghoul instantly comes to mind), but this series just fell short for me. It might have tried to look at the struggles of both sides and the unfairness of the world, but out of nowhere the focus shifted to a character with a vendetta that was brought about from petty jealousy. Sure, Art did what he did to fulfil his promise to his brother and we know that deep down he isn’t a terrible person, but it was still a pretty forced development in my opinion. And the fact that it ended on a happy note just makes all that had happened the past two seasons somewhat of a fairy tale. At least, that is the impression that it left me with. I guess the writers were going for an ‘and they all lived happily ever after’ ending right from the very beginning – maybe trying to tell viewers that there is hope for this real world. Meh, idealistic speculation on my part I guess. Above all, I am just very glad to have been able to see this series through to the end.
All’s well that ends well in Hamatora land~