What They Say:
It’s time for the final showdown against Dagger! Will Cyan and the others be able to defeat him once and for all?!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One of the tragedies of this season is that I fell behind on Show By Rock!! through no fault of its own. It was a solid, fun show, and remains a solid, and fun show to the end. It’s kept, however, from my favorite fun shows due to the dark turns the series decides to take in the final episodes. While jokes remain throughout, seeing Plasmagica and Shingancrimzonz happy beats the depressing alternative. And things get dark:
In episode 9, we get to see the second showdown between Plasmagica and Criticrista. In somewhat of a recycle of episode 4′s plot, Chuchu decides to try and spice up their performance of their new song “Falling Star Dreamline” by getting the other band members to practice stylish tricks when playing their instruments. ShinganCrimzonz’ Rom dismisses this attempt as superficial, which hurts Chuchu’s feelings, although she knows that Rom is ultimately right. Chuchu’s emotions are further hurt when it seems Criticrista’s Rosia has chosen Cyan as her rival, instead of her. In the rematch, Plasmagica wins, but Cyan seems destined to be the star of the band, and not the ostensible lead, Chuchu. To make matters worse, once Criticrista loses, they are no longer a useful tool in Dagger’s plans. He transforms into a giant, foggy monster and disposes of them in some mysterious way.
Episode 10 follows up on Chuchu’s despair. We flash back to her past, where she was inspired to perform by the Grateful King, and decided to join Plasmagica as a starting step on her own career. She is intensely jealous of Cyan, and yet hates herself for being jealous at the same time. Dagger takes advantage of her weakness by inviting her to a meeting at Unicorn Virtual Music. When she shows up, she is brainwashed into leaving Plasmagica. Much like in episode 8, where the members of Shingancrimzonz worked together to keep their band together, Plasmagica plays a song Chuchu wrote in order to break the brainwashing. Having recovered, Chuchu tearfully confesses the truth of some of the cruel things she said about Plasmagica being a “stepping stone,” but the other members, of course, forgive her.
Episode 11 and 12 take place at the Grateful Rock Festival, where Angelica has found that Syuzo, Cyan, and Darudaya are going to be targeted by Dagger. With these three talented musicians, and a new song composed by Grateful King, Dagger intends to take over Midi City. However, this makes the Rock Festival the perfect place to turn the tables on his evil plans. While it’s great to see a reunion of all of the characters from the show, what this ultimately means is lots and lots of battle sequences. A giant moth Dark Monster moves to attack, and Syuzo, Cyan, and Darudayu almost defeat it… until Cyan realizes that the monster is merely Criticrista transformed. When all of the bands work together, Criticrista are freed. But this isn’t the end of Dagger’s plans, as he transforms into his FINAL FORM, a giant monster, who ensnares all of the band members in tentacles.
Grateful King is able to halt Dagger’s attacks, but only briefly. Once Cyan’s friends are threatened, she nearly gives in to signing a contract with Dagger to end their suffering. To prevent this, Grateful King starts to send Cyan back to Earth. Cyan, however, resists the return spell, realizing that if she were to return now, she will have learned nothing from her time in Sound World. She transforms into a giant angel of music and destroys the dark Melodisian in Dagger’s heart, turning him into a helpless tadpole.
The action setpieces are well done, but fighting, suffering, and sacrifice are really not what I signed on for with Show By Rock. There are still great moments, like the Grateful King’s appearance, Angelica and Maple’s attempts to break him out of the tower, and ShinganCrimzonz’ Crow’s reaction to finding out that Strawberry Heart was the Grateful King all long, but it’s not quite enough to keep the drama from dragging the whole production down.
The story ends happily, with the Grateful Rock Festival being performed and the students from out in the country, referenced at the end of several earlier episodes, arriving just in time to see it. And back in the real world, Cyan is finally able to join the music club she was too shy to join at the series’ start. I’d love to see more Show By Rock, and hopefully with the danger to Sound World behind it at least, a second season will get to be more fun than this first season ended up being.
Much like the Rage of Bahamut mobile game anime, Show By Rock started out being a lot of fun, but got weighed down by the videogame plotline requiring a climactic showdown in the end. It wasn’t fatal for either series, but the darkness is much less fitting here, in a Sanrio show with magical girls. Show By Rock establishes a fun world and fun characters: The series just needed to let them have a little more fun, and a little less heartbreak.
Streamed By: FUNimation
Sony VAIO 20″