There Will Be Tears
- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Drama, Romance, Fantasy
- Airing Date : Apr. 2017 - Jun. 2017
- Studios : Satelight, C2C
Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka? Introduction and Story (Spoilers)
SukaSuka as it is shortened to, may be perhaps be the longest titled anime I’ve ever watched. Set in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world where humanity was decimated by monstrous Beasts, the surviving demi-humans and fairy folk do their best to survive the aftermath. Chtholly, a girl who leads a strict, dangerous existence as one who battles these creatures, encounters Willem while she is taking a vacation without permission from her duties. The two of them quickly establish a rapport, but are separated. Fate brings them back together when Willem accepts a job as the caretaker of an alleged weapons depot. However, the only thing he finds there are young girls who, for all intents and purposes, look completely normal. Thus begins his life as a babysitter and something of a father figure for a group of girls who he doesn’t quite understand, and don’t quite understand themselves. It’s a fledgling little love that grows between them, but it is not meant to last.
From the very beginning, SukaSuka promises an unhappy ending. In an ambiguous cold opening, we hear Chtholly narrating her love for Willem juxtaposed with scenes of various calamities befalling future characters. It’s a warning to the audience: turn back now or you may regret going forward. Of course, you would be remiss to heed this warning as it's the very first scene you see tuning in. As the show goes on and the characters come to mean more and the world reveals itself, the memory of it becomes more chilling. With how enjoyable the show becomes, interweaving the lives of these girls with magical abilities and their guide Willem, you may completely forget that it is all a dream that is fated to end.
What We Liked About Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka?
From the beginning, we got a sense that Willem and Chtholly were not your typical main pair in a fantasy series, and the fact was proven as the show went on. Willem himself is a normal human, a complete rarity in a world where they have been wiped out. Chtholly is a fairy, but beyond her capabilities and strength she is just a normal teenage girl.
The sense of Willem trying to find purpose and redemption as he guides these young girls to their ultimate fate is moving throughout the show. You will laugh, feel sad, and empathize with the circumstances of nearly all the characters presented on the show. It’s a rare case where you don’t get a sense that anyone, even the antagonists are completely in the wrong. Mystery is ever present throughout, raising huge questions that only get partial hints at an answer. For most of the plot-related points, it’s enjoyable. It’s always a good sign when a show has more than meets the eye. Even when it doesn’t quite explain itself perfectly, it’s an enjoyable watch most times.
So many anime have the hero who sets off to slay evil and succeeds, but what happens if he fails? SukaSuka tells such a story, as Willem is a hero who defeated his opponent but lost the war. It’s a very interesting dynamic, seeing a former hero thrust into the role of a background character, and even finding that everything he accomplished was meaningless.
While there is so much that the show does right, it takes some missteps. Primarily in explanation; it leaves several important matters of the story far too vague. It also strings certain developments on for far too long, without really resolving things. It’s all fine and good to leave things open for future plots, but the way the series actually ended was probably the harshest slap in the face you can ever give to viewers. It ends exactly where the first episode’s scene began, and it leaves fans heartbroken. There are good tragic endings, and there abrupt ones, and SukaSuka’s is definitely sudden.
1. Willem & Chtholly
Willem is a young man who was frozen in time after battling a demon lord and was awoken 500 year later. He is still a young man, but is equally bound by his sense of duty as well as a feeling of loss. His loved ones are all dead, and he is the last human, who can he related to? This aspect makes the actions he takes and decisions he makes very understandable. Likewise, Chtholly has accepted that one day she will be sacrificed in combat like all of her predecessors, to save the lives of countless others. She is resigned to her fate, but Willem, with his vast experience as a hero, is showing her another path. As a young teenage girl, she latches onto him, and he, reluctant to experience a painful love again, slowly warms up to her. Their dynamic is very symbiotic, and works very well in addition to the plot.
2. Likable Characters
The other characters, the girls who are fairies in training or full fledged warriors, are also very interesting in different ways. Nephren and Ithea, Chtholly’s fellow soldiers, are as different as they can be. Nephren is a bit of a kuudere, and Ithea wears her emotions on her sleeve, yet uses them to mask her true nature deep inside. It makes you want to see them come home from their missions, even though you know that eventually they’re fated to die, as is their sole purpose. The other, younger girls seem essentially to understand this, although they are too young to express it. At one point, a young girl falls off a cliff, nearly dying, but is unphased. She has no attachment to her life, only the ball which she was chasing. You will grow attached to these wonderful characters in some way, even if you know it's not meant to last.
3. Intriguing World and Setup
The world looks really beautifully drawn, and the character design is very interesting. Add in the fact that there is a lore that is only shallowly explored, yet still pulls you in, and it makes it a very entertaining watch. We know very little of how Willem’s world was 500 years ago, but it was different to what exists currently. During the show, Willem is reunited with a young boy from his old party who, in fact, has now become the most important figure to that world. Strangely enough, he’s also met with...the demon lord who froze him for 500 years?! In an odd twist of fate, they have seemingly joined forces to combat the Beasts threat, and are the ones responsible for Chtholly and the other fairies sacrificing their lives. There’s so much that this world has, and it’s all completely outside of the realm of predictable, which makes it so appealing.
1. Vague Explanations
While the world and its lore are interesting, the show tends to focus on some aspects while skirting others. For example, a good deal of the season focuses on the fairy’s Dug weapons, swords which Willem was familiar with and even used during his battles 500 years ago. They go into a good deal of information explaining them and how they operate, which in all honesty, is more confusing than interesting. It’s still a little vague as to why exactly Willem can’t specifically fight if he did so 500 years ago, aside from he seems to grow weaker as he uses his abilities. It’s not particularly or satisfyingly justified as to why this former human hero is on the sidelines, but it does create an engaging dramatic piece. To viewers who want more stability, however, this show is lacking it in some major ways.
2. Awkward Pacing
A key element is how Chtholly’s memories are disappearing, and the reasons why have to do with her reincarnation. All fairies are reincarnated spirits, typically of young humans. She gradually becomes less of herself, forgetting herself, her friends, and almost anyone aside from Willem. This is done over several episodes, to the point where it feels like a distraction more than adding any relevance to the scenes. She may actually be forgetting, but her behavior is so similar to usual that it almost doesn’t need to be shown repeatedly. Ultimately, the entirety of the show does feel like it’s building to something, but when it finally reaches its climax, it crushes your heart.
3. Brutal Ending (MAJOR SPOILER)
It ends with Willem, Chtholly, and Neph dying. Just like that. The other characters mourn their loss and try to cope, while we the audience don’t even get any closure. Their final moments don’t feel too final, so it’s debatable whether everyone is dead for good, but even still, it’s a gut punch of a way to end a series. The last scene shows of Chtholly’s reincarnation, an assumed flash back, but it could be her new form. It’s so abrupt, it’s more confusing than anything. If all anime now is a vehicle to sell the source material I would say SukaSuka was a success. You won’t gain much from watching the season finale, that’s for sure; so buy the book, apparently. This, if nothing else, is something that every future viewer should be made aware of. You can argue whether it’s an important fact given that we don’t know what exactly happened, but the show itself does forewarn viewers to some degree. If anything, just be prepared for a complete and utter lack of closure.
With how the first episode foreshadowed the events of the finale, I am probably less bitter than I would be if they hadn’t. The high points far outweigh the lows, and in the end, the story told was a very interesting one. It does feel like this would be one of the most brutal one-and-done anime series of all time if it ends up that way. It really needs a continuation in some form to be truly compelling. It’s up for debate whether that makes it a great show or a poor one, however. For what it’s worth, it was enjoyable. If anything, SukaSuka shows that the most beautiful things are more beautiful because they do not last.