Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ultraman Dyna - Final Chapter (III)

Final Chapter III: Toward Tomorrow...

Yes, the ellipses is there in the title.

Disclaimer (again): I do not speak Japanese, so my understanding of these episodes is a little flawed, even when I refer to the Malay dub (which I only use for reference), since it's not all that great.

Alright, final part of the finale. Dyna and Super GUTS retreat once their attack fails. There's another mushy scene with Ryoh and Asuka as they get onboard the spaceship/base, with a romantic instrumental version of "Kimi Dake o Mamoritai" playing. I love that song.

This episode is a departure from the heavy action of the previous two. Most of the highlights are emotional moments with Super GUTS members. Besides Ryoh's mushy scenes and dialogue, we have Captain Hibiki revealing that he already knew of Dyna's true identity. Nakajima has a long-ish scene talking about his father's role in shaping him as who he is, which I guess is supposed to relate to Asuka's situation somehow. It's emotional, I'll give it that. Mai gets a scene talking about the context of Dyna's name, and there is, what appears to be a pun (Dynamite Dyna, Dynamic Dyna... daisuki Dyna), while Kohda's bit is a little more professional than the others, since its partially him speaking as Deputy Captain. Basically, there's a little individual focus for every Super GUTS member except Kariya, although he seems to be rather bland anyway. But, my descriptions here do not do justice to these bits. They really need to be experienced instead of just described to you.

Gransphere gets to be imposing and talk kinda creepy, which prompts some philosophizing from Captain Hibiki.

The music (and in some parts, lack thereof) helps with the emotion too. And this episode's strength really does lie with the heartfelt bits, despite containing the final battle. The fight itself doesn't really get the blood pumping, and its really more of a "this is who I am" moment for Asuka/Dyna than a glorious fight scene.
Anyone who's seen this, and/or Ultraman Saga knows what comes next: The destruction of Gransphere by the Neo Maxima cannon and Dyna's Solgent Ray creates a wormhole-thingy and Dyna falls inside. Seems they couldn't decide what kind of music should accompamny this scene, or just decided it works best without music. Either way, it works. The solar system is saved, the nightmare of Gransphere is over, but Dyna is gone.

Which brings us to the final sequence, with Asuka inside his GUTS Eagle Superior, flying through some trippy light show, where he sees his father, somehow still in the same spacecraft he disappeared in all those years ago. The music is very strong and emotional here. I agree with this review by Lawrence Tuczynski here. The specific track used does convey a vague sense of hope regarding Asuka. The basic melody of this track has shown up previously in the series. In fact, the first music played in Dyna (not counting the opening theme) during episode 1 shared the same basic melody, so this is some nice bookending. But having much of this track proper be vocal instead of instrumental comes off as trying a little too hard. Just a little. Anyway, the Super GUTS members also convey a sense of hope in their final scenes. I don't quite get whether they know of Asuka's fate either, and I can't help but be a little bit confused with the talk of "Urutora no Hoshi" or Ultra Star. It's not like they know of the homeworld of Ultramen in Nebula M78. This isn't the right continuity for that! And I doubt they're referring to the object from Tiga episode 49, titled "The Ultra Star" either. And the way they're talking while facing the camera all together like that looks a little awkward.

They're gesturing at... something

I have to wonder: what was it like when people first saw this ending, long before Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy came out? Just from the episode itself, Asuka's fate is not completely clear, so how did the sense of hope come through? I can't really say much about that since I saw this after MMB: UG, so I already knew that Asuka survives. Ignoring anything post-series, you can take this scene as Asuka having truly come to terms with his father's disappearance so long ago.

Overall, a really good final episode, with good character moments, and a final battle that, while not very action-heavy, and less memorable than what happens directly following it, works pretty well. Certainly less cheesy than Tiga's final battle, and better than the original Ultraman's finale where Ultraman was basically useless against the monster, yet Ide suddenly comes with a new weapon that gave the Science Patrol an instant win. Instead, here we have the Ultra and his human teammates working together against a huge threat, both playing a major part. It's funny how by the end of it, the combat team has more firepower than the Ultraman, but it totally works, anyway. I don't realy like how "Ultra High" is used for the end credits again, though. The song is lively and hot-blooded, which doesn't go well with the final scene. "Kimi dake o Mamoritai" would have been a better choice.

I might do a "final thoughts" post for these episodes soon.

Ultraman Dyna is © Tsuburaya Productions

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