How would you rate episode 12 of
Boy, was that a fantastic battle to serve as the series’ climax! And boy, did the animation fall apart after that! Seriously, it’s like director Hideya Takahashi and his Xebec team spent all their remaining effort animating that battle, because everything that comes after is well below the series’ already conservative standards. Almost everything looks less refined and still shots are used heavily.
Hopefully those last few minutes will get some reworking for the eventual Blu-Ray/DVD release, but at least we can see the efforts taken for the final battle. Despite being rife with common shonen action elements (the alternate personality who takes over when the chips are down, the ultimate power-up assist, discovering the full potential of an attack at the most critical moment, the ally getting bumped out of the way, and so forth), this climactic battle is everything that you could hope for from the series. The combatants eventually whittle down to just Nozomi vs. Maya, but that’s when the battle truly gets good. Each throws out both their best moves and some inventive new ones as they go boob-to-boob and butt-to-butt in a ferocious exchange of moves and counter-moves. The thrill factor stays high throughout as we’re once again treated to a plethora of special moves with sputter-worthy names: Rackupressure (the “power up someone else” move), Butt Vise, Tit Spirit, Twins Peaks Roaring Bullet, Spiked Bust, and Nipple Ripple Madness. Then there’s the climactic line, which I can easily see becoming a meme: “pierce her, my nipple!” I haven’t given enough credit to how much the orchestral musical score plays into this either, as it fully captures the majestic spirit of great anime battle scenes, especially in this finale. I don’t think that the race could be taken seriously enough without it.
That’s really where the magic of both this episode and the series as a whole truly lies, making this the season’s best series to me: it gets you to take seriously something that has no business being taken seriously. Furthermore, it executes its premise without turning people off through its fanservice and without building on conflicts driven by hatred. Sure, some characters may temporarily look down on their competition in arrogance, but the series promotes the spirit of competition, enjoying fair fights for their own sake, better than almost any other sports tournament title I’ve seen. Nozomi is the epitome of that, and her determined smile has rapidly made her one of my favorite recent heroines.
But it isn’t just Nozomi. The whole Maya/Kaya business has been delivered out of nowhere over the last couple of episodes, which probably could have stood a little more buildup, but her arc still generates more pathos in the end than I would have expected. The after-party with no hint of bitterness was a nice touch too, and scenes at the end leave the door open for more animation. Even so, if this is the last episode we see for this franchise, then ending just as Nozomi and Miyata are preparing to enter the pro ranks makes for an excellent stopping point.
Concluding with “The Rear End” instead of just “The End” was an amusingly appropriate touch too, not to mention that final end card image! Even if you decided not to follow this series as a whole, you should check out the final frame. What better way to close out the year’s most sputter-worthy series than with one of its most sputter-worthy images?
Keijo!!!!!!!! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.