I'll start out by saying I understand why many people have a problem with Final
: Yuji's drastic characterization change and a bunch of characters and plot points introduced out of nowhere. But my defense is this: it is not Final
's failing, but the prior two seasons'.
faithfully adapts its "span" of the light novels. The first two seasons, not so much, especially Season 2. Season 1 had an anime-original ending, and left out important parts of Friagne's plan and Yuji's character. Season 2 had the anime-only Konoe arc, an anime original ending, and an opening based on the PS2
First off, let's look at Yuji's character. In Final
, he seems to go from Nice Guy
to Well-Intentioned Extremist
with no foreshadowing, espousing a motive he seemed to develop overnight. In the novels, he develops aggressive traits very early on. Take for example, the moment in the first season in which Wilhelmina tries to kill him. In the anime, Yuji does little but wriggle helplessly. In the novel, Yuji takes advantage of Shana stopping her mentor to try to kill Wilhelmina
. In Volume 8 (which should have been in Season 1), Yuji expresses frustration at the Flame Haze-Denizen war's unendingness, and expresses a desire to end it permanently. At this point, a mysterious figure begins to approach Yuji to tempt him.
This figure is the Snake of the Festival. That's right. The Big Bad
that shows up out of nowhere in Final should have shown up in Season 1
, and should have been mentioned as early as the Margery Daw arc. Bal Masqué's ill-defined goals were clear in the novels: resurrect Sot F
to restart their master plan. Many of the characters that pop up in Final
should have already appeared, because the novels focus on more than just Shana and Yuji, but the wider conflict.
They engage in important worldbuilding, covering things Révolution (important for understanding Yuji's ideals), the Great War (important for understanding what happened with Pheles and Johan at the end), Lamies' spell and Friagne's ring (important for understanding what happened to Yuji at the end), and the Civil War.
In short: Yuji's "Face-Heel Turn
" is telegraphed well in advance and a logical conclusion to his character growth, and the groundwork for Season 3 was prepared. The previous seasons just failed to include it.