Well it turns out I have to eat my words regarding my worries regarding Bahamut, because the finale ended up being pretty good.
Why was it good? Because it took the focus away from that godawful “angels vs. demons” crap, that’s why. It’s still there, but Bahamut’s summoning ironically caused the demon side of things to go “bye-bye” and allowed the main focus to go back to what made Bahamut stand out from your typical empty fantasy story in the first place: Favaro’s complex relationships with the other characters and the effect it has on the events happening around him (oh come on. We all knew he wasn’t dead). It didn’t really bring back the awesome mixture of tongue-in-cheek blockbuster tributes that also made the show stand out amongst the crowd, but the creative spectacle does come back in regards to finally doing away with Bahamut. Plus, whilst the big villain doing all the manipulating behind-the-scenes was never interesting, the way Kaiser and Favaro took him down was both clever and involved sacrifice. That at least is something I can chew on.
What also makes this finale work is that it doesn’t cop-out in regards to Amira’s situation. I obviously don’t care what happens to Amira, but that doesn’t mean I want her story to be resolved in a half-assed way like in the director’s last attempt at an ending with Tiger and Bunny. Thank god he learned from his mistake regarding how to conclude a series years later. Some people might have a problem with the ambiguity of what happens afterwards, but I prefer an anime that leaves me thinking as opposed to leaving a product whilst saying “well that happened” as long as the main focus gets a good conclusion (that and I really hate those Return of the King-style endings). We get quick glances of how the world and some of the characters have changed over time, we get a longer scene with Favaro regarding how things are not quite over yet, and whilst it’s true that there’s another story out there, it doesn’t belong in this anime and thus we cut to the credits after that.
Does this finale make up for those last boring few episodes? Of course not. Even if I was impressed with the end results, I still had to sit through almost two hours worth of mediocre buildup in order to appreciate the last twenty or so minutes. I don’t care if that shitty fight scene between Kaiser and Favaro last week ended up paying off well here. It was still a shitty fight scene and a poor way to do buildup. The “angels vs. demons” thing was never an interesting plot point. It’s like the word “fuck” in that it works fine and can be funny when you use it for other things, but it was terrible on its own and the overuse of it just drained me. If these last few episodes were its own movie, it’d be a pretty crappy movie.
At the end of the day, Rage of Bahamut: Genesis is both a decent and a disappointing anime. It had the elements to be a favorite of mine and it started off really strong too. But the dip in quality in regards to its last arc just went on way too long and thus I can’t in good faith say that this anime is something I’d go back to in the near future. It’s a good standard regarding what card game adaptations should aspire to be. But there’s room for improvement.