Hisone to Masotan – Episodes 11 & 12 [Final Impressions]
In one of the traditions of storytelling, episode 11 doesn’t start where episode 10 leaves off, just as Hisone has excitedly announced she will quit the SDF. No, it starts quite literally at the edge of an incoming storm, as the Ritual is now taking place. As part of the audience one quickly wonders what happened with Hisone and if she’s flying Masotan, but we quickly find out that Tada is the one piloting Masotan and Hisone is nowhere to be seen yet.
Soon enough, while the relevant characters keep track of what the huge OTF is doing and how the Ritual proceeds, that alternates to present Hisone who is at home feeling extremely guilty and down, comparing herself to trash. There is a flashback to what happened with Hisone after she requested to quit. She gives a cute speech about how this is the answer she arrived to after realizing that they were all precious to her. Quite troubled, Sosoda pleads that she reconsiders, but a frustrated Kakiyasu lashes out at Hisone, kicking her out of the force and her quarters.
While chasing her cat, Hisone finds her graduation album and reads what she wrote back then. We go back to Kakiyasu who seems both still angry, but also regretful for her actions. She admits that she might still feel resentful that she was never chosen as a D-Pilot. Then it’s Tada’s turn to think a bit about her regrets and she remembers the first time she flew for the Ritual and her feelings then.
We learn that back then, Masotan was called Montparnasse and Tada was very close to the priestess who ended up becoming the Binden. She became so panicked as the Ritual drew close that she convinced her friend to run away. The memory ends with Masotan starting to go berserk again as her strong feelings due to the memory cause anastomosis. I was quite surprised at this storyline, but it explains why she knows so much about anastomosis.
The situation is dire as the back-up pilot is being rejected, but conveniently, they’re close by to Hisone’s town and Masotan is directed there. Hisone listens to Masotan’s voice so she rushes out to meet him while at the same time Sosoda, Kakiyasu and Nao rush to the meeting point, too. They meet there and Hisone requests to be able to pilot Masotan again. Kakiyasu is angered again and reminds her she’s a civilian, but Hisone shows her resolve by explaining that she has to protect her important things herself.
She explains that her feelings for Masotan are stronger than anything else now. How touching! It made me think that anastomosis wasn’t exactly about feelings of love, but feelings of uncertainty in their loyalty to their OTFs.
She’s allowed to pilot Masotan again so she jumps off as bridge on a motorcycle to be swallowed. This was a pretty cool scene! I liked the implausibility of it, but at the same time how much sense it made in terms of showing her unwavering resolve. Once she’s inside, Masotan calms down and they’re able to rejoin the huge OTF in flight. Once there, they are all swallowed by the giant dragon and they rest inside its stomach while the Shinto priest and priestesses start their side of the work. Sada wanders off right away and the girls worry, so they follow. Finally they learn the truth here: the Ritual needs a sacrifice!
I really didn’t know what to expect for the last episode once I arrived here. Some parts of this show were easy to anticipate, like the sacrifice or Sada’s involvement or Hisone’s feelings for Okonogi, but honestly, I’ve also been led by the hand a lot and I don’t really know where the show will go now.
Here it is! The final episode. I arrive here with very few predictions, but a lot of expectations. Now that the official D-pilots have found out about the sacrifice, we just have to see what they will do. Sada talks about her experience during the first Ritual and how she betrayed Montparnasse. How her friend couldn’t leave duty behind and she perished in the Ritual. None of them feel comfortable with the idea of someone being killed during the mission. Hisone claims she will stop this no matter what and the other pilots are concerned about the mission failing and more people dying, but Hisone is confident.
As the priestess play music and the Binden dances, Okonogi thinks about how Hisone has contributed in his change of outlook. She taught him that he took many things for granted. I must say that this kind of character study and self-assessment is why I’m here! I think Okada Mari is good at writing characters that are reflective and interactions that show character progress. I don’t find all her characters likable, but I think the casts as a whole have pretty good balance. As he reflects on this, Masotan arrives and disturbs the Ritual.
Natsume is visibly annoyed and she and Hisone bicker for a while, while Okonogi watches on embarrassed and tries to calm them down. Eventually the priestesses and Okonogi go back to the carrier and the OTFs exit the huge OTF. They will try to do the sleep turning while the dragon is awake. Iiboshi is angry at all the improvisation going on and he’s looking a little scary, but it makes sense. The situation is supposed to be extremely dangerous and they’re going against orders by doing whatever they want during the mission. I’m surprised no one mentioned this, but well, I actually have quite a few qualms with how the show ends, but I’m getting ahead of myself here.
As they fly out, Natsume admits to Okonogi that she doesn’t want to die and they vow to live. Outside in the storm, the D-pilots try their best to free the dragon tails and once they do, it’s time for the Ritual to be completed by stabbing the creature with the bells. Natsume accidentally left the bells inside when she was pulled by Hisone, but Hisone has them now, so it is only logical that she will do it. She claims she will come back safely, but the reason why there’s always a sacrifice is because once you go there, you can’t come back, so I wondered what they would do about this.
Hisone and Masotan fly in and she asks Masotan to get away while she finishes the Ritual. He stays with her and the creature turns into a mountain as it falls, trapping them both inside. Hisone is appalled Masotan didn’t get away, but she realizes then that he’s as loyal to her as he asks her to be. This was also a very touching moment!
In the outside world it’s been 3 months since the Ritual in the next scenes. The OTF squad is being disbanded as they have cleared their mission and the other pilots are going back to their hometowns. Nao has become a mechanic and OTF caretaker as Okonogi was before. There’s hints at some romance in the air here and there, but I was more excited about the possibility of romance hinted at between Eri and Zaitou. He’s as excited as I am! Everyone in the base calmly awaits Hisone’s return.
Then we see Okonogi climbing his way to the top and as he finds some torii gates and jiggles a bag of flip phones he bought, Masotan appears in a flash of movement and swallows him! In voice over we get the cute dialogue between Okonogi and Hisone as they see each other again for the first time in a while and I can’t but lament that we can’t see them! Either way, I enjoyed knowing that they reunited and that Okonogi went to look for her, even if he’s a bit jealous of Masotan.
Now, for my complaints, it is a bit overblown to me that she’s able to get away with everything just because Masotan is with her and she is now stronger and has an unwavering will. Her actions invalidated a custom that had been around for some time and basically made all those previous sacrifices meaningless and that’s something I didn’t like much because it seemed to be done for the sake of a happy ending. It would have felt more significant to me if Sada had done it and become the sacrifice, as it also seemed to be her goal to rest with her friend, but well, it is what it is. I still enjoyed the show immensely and really liked the characters and their interactions and I hope more people will check out this show in the future.
A resounding 8/10 for Hisone to Masotan!