Massive spoilers here obviously.
The girls perform one last warp, only to find the last fragment located in the midst of a giant black hole. President says that this is because the fragment is trying to escape this universe. The girls attempt to lure out the last fragment with the ones they’ve recovered, but their power alone is not enough. Luckily, Subaru spies Minato rushing headfirst into the black hole, and fishes him out. Minato is still in despair and wishes to disappear from the universe, but Subaru convinces him to stay and promises to make him happy.
Thus, Minato joins the team, and is briefly reunited with President/Elnath. With all their powers combined, the six manage to draw out the last fragment, restoring the spaceship. President says that he will be taking his ship to another universe, as although they had no chance of survival in this one, there’s still possibilities for them in the next. As a parting gift for their help, Subaru and co. (with Minato as their guide) are allowed to pick whatever destiny they want. However, they all agree that they want to stay the same person they already are, after having met each other. In the end, only Subaru is left alongside Minato. Minato wonders why Subaru choose to stay with him, knowing his real state in their universe. But Subaru says that she made a promise to him, and she’s going to keep it.
Subaru eventually wakes up in her own room; with time having been reversed to before she met the other girls. Subaru goes out to go stargazing in the school’s observatory, and bumps into Aoi, who is once again in a different school as all their destinies have been untied. Subaru and Aoi reunite, and it’s implied that they’ll remain good friends even though they’re in different schools. On the way to the school, Subaru also bumps into Hikaru, Itsuki, and Nanako, all sporting different hairstyles. In this universe, Minato is unfortunately still confined to his hospital bed, in a coma. But Subaru nonetheless implies that the two will meet again someday.
Even though I predicted most of the stuff that happened here, the ending was still pretty great. Poor Minato though… the series ends with him still in a coma. I was hoping that he’d wake up again at the end, but I think it’s pretty strongly implied that he’ll eventually wake and will meet up with Subaru.
Yes, the ending to this series is ultimately somewhat bittersweet. Because of all the tangled destinies required to bring all five girls together, they all had to be untangled again just to restore the universe to the way it was (which was basically what the girls wished for). The most apparent affect of this is that the girls (barring Subaru and Aoi) are no longer friends anymore and would have to re-meet each other again. While we see what exactly happens to Subaru and Aoi (they’re now in different schools like at the beginning), I wish we got to see more of the consequences of this untangling for the other three girls. It looks like Hikaru, Itsuki, and Nanako are all going to the same school as Subaru, but they all have different hairstyles/outfits. Hikaru hasn’t changed much, but Itsuki now has her hair in a short, boyish bob, and Nanako is now wearing a more mundane outfit instead of her usual witch one. Does this mean that their traumatic incidents in the past didn’t happen? Or did they all just manage to all overcome them in this universe/timeline?
The biggest things I didn’t like about this episode are all the plot-stuff surrounding President and his spaceship. There was a long-winded info-dump in this episode, which is pretty bad because a final episode should not have this much exposition crammed into it. Also, it seems he really DID forget all about Minato, simply because… Minato looks older now? He doesn’t look that much different though! This is the explanation the series is going with but it feels unsatisfying.
Anyway, there was also a bunch of clichés about the power of FRIENDSHIP/HOPE/LOVE! And Subaru x Minato is really forced here. But you know what? That’s okay. As cheesy as it all was it was still a fun watch with a somewhat satisfying ending. I would personally have preferred more epilogue stuff, especially concerning the other girls; but as it is I think this was a decent finale.
Out of five:
Wish Upon the Pleiades feels like a hard series for me to judge overall, because it does so well in some aspects while failing badly in others. Probably the thing I find most admirable about this series is that it’s probably one of the softer and more pleasant magical girl anime that we’ve gotten in recent years. With all the “grimdark” magical girl anime coming out recently due to Puella Magi Madoka Magica’s popularity, it’s just really refreshing to get a series as pleasant as this. Sure, the series still got fairly dark at times, but it never let go of its unabashedly hopeful and optimistic tone.
This series is also probably one of the more beautiful magical girl anime we’ve gotten in recent years, with lovely starscape and space backdrops. It’s fairly obvious that a lot of research went into this series concerning the stars and planets. It’s also possibly the most “spacey” anime we’ll get that features a stars and planet motif.
(I’m looking at you Sailor Moon)
However, the series definitely has issues with story pacing. While I still enjoyed the first few episodes, they were rather slow plotwise, choosing instead to focus on the somewhat petty drama between Subaru and Aoi instead of the bigger picture. So what we eventually get is just massive amounts of info-dumping and ass-pulling towards the end of the series. As much as I feel sorry for Minato, the leadup to all the reveals surrounding him were pretty much nonexistent; and if they did exist, poorly foreshadowed. That brings me to another criticism: the characters themselves. Subaru is… decently characterized. She is definitely shown to grow as a person by the end of everything. But everyone else is pretty forgetful as a whole. While the series did attempt some characterization by having character-focused episodes, I still feel like I don’t know them as much as Subaru, who was pushed into the spotlight constantly. In the end, they all sadly feel a bit one-note.
Beautiful animation and lovely atmosphere can only take a series so far—for a series to be great its story and characters also need to be good. While Pleiades certainly tried is best, perhaps more work should have gone into the story or pacing. Still, I can’t deny that this was one of the most visually pleasant series I have seen in a while, presented with so much sincerity and kindness. So as such, I’m giving this series as a whole, out of five: