In the end, Caligula ended as well as it could have. I wonder what the show could’ve been if it ever realized its full potential, but sometimes that’s just how things go, sometimes potential can’t be fully realized. That’s just reality.

Until next time

Caligula has never been a stellar series but its premise had some potential for a moral about the importance of tackling and facing reality head-on. However its sloppy writing, mediocre direction and mediocre animation (at the best of times) effectively destroyed any potential the show had. With the series finale, the show doesn’t pull off any miracles that somehow recontextualizes the entire series and lifts it up; instead it’s more of the same; hastily tying things up and shoving its message down viewer’s throats while also lacking any personal depth for any of its characters.

Sure. Where is this. Why are there so many doors. Who cares.

The episode begins with Ritsu and Aria flying in a space of some sort, passing through various floating gates that looked like the gateway from a few episodes ago. While Ritsu (wearing his false face) and Aria talk about why he left and is now coming back, the rest of the Go-Home club is dealing with the Ostinato Musicians while the city falls apart. There’s a couple of reveals where Kotono says she’s a single mom who, prior to Mobius, regret having her son, but now wishes to return to reality to be a better mom. Meanwhile, Thorn is actually an old acquaintance of Shogo, blaming him for abandoning Ichika when she committed suicide (Asuka took Ichika’s face as a way to stay close to her). μ meanwhile, has adopted a dark outfit with wings as a result of absorbing so much negativity. There’s a bit of fighting with Thorn taking some of μ’s power, but Ritsu comes back in time.

For as cliche as this line is, I can imagine it hitting a 30 year old shut-in really hard.

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With Mobius almost all destroyed, Aria (who has her powers and memories back...because) teleports everyone out, presumably back to reality. Ritsu stays back to talk to ÎĽ, and the rest of the playtime is a conversation between the two about how complex and oppositional the human mind is, that happiness is different for everyone, and how everyone tries to communicate and forge relationships with other people even though its hard. And then Ritsu shoots ÎĽ, just after saying he loves her (because of course).

ÎĽ goes goth.

The show ends with a montage of all the surviving characters back in the real world while Ritsu narrates over them. The Go-Home club members have stronger resolve, while most of the Musicians are just...back in reality, with the exception of Shonen Doll, who’s implied to have found Suzuna in the real world. Marie is alive too, still in the hospital apparently. I have to say, it’s really, really good even if none of the characters were fully developed - seeing (most) of the cast find peace with themselves was just...warm.

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There’s a lot to unpack here, conveniently fit between the two halves of the episode.

First, Kotono’s confession about who she is in real life is interesting because, well, she’s an adult with a kid who isn’t 100% committed to their offspring. Going into Mobius and being a high school student is the running theme, as (for some reason) a lot of Japanese society believe that high school is when a person has the most potential (hence all the high scohol anime). Unfortunately, it quickly gets shoved to the side like all the other reality reveals and there’s no time to explore any of this in depth.

Everything will be alright.

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Thorn is another aspect of the aftermath in a person’s suicide; if Shogo is the person that blames himself for his friend’s death, then Thorn/Asuka is the person that blames others. Thorn taking the form of Akichi could also have a lot of layers to it about the importance of accepting that people come and go in people’s lives (though Thorn/Asuka is presented more with mental instability than anything...) but again, Caligula doesn’t do anything with it - Thorn is instead relegated to a brief “pen-ultimate boss” mode before μ decides to wipe everything.

There’s additional plot issues that I can rip apart; what was the space Ritsu and Aria were flying through and why were there so many doors; how is Marie still alive at the end; how did Aria suddenly regain her powers and memories; how did Ritsu even get back to Mobius and what about the other guy, did he not continue questioning Ritsu about anything?

Of course, none of that matters really, because let’s talk the latter half.

With just Ritsu and μ in the water color space again (which still looks really nice), the episode laser focuses on Ritsu’s relationship with μ; specifically how she was the only person he talked to and developed a connection to. There’s a nice visual connection where Ritsu talks about how he hid aspects of himself while he’s walking over to the “hidden” square from the Johari window (from episode 1). I guess as he’s opening up to μ, he’s figuring things out himself.

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Evangelion did this “relationships between people” thing a lot better, but kudos for trying!

The things he talks about is also poignant, even if it is cliche and things we’ve heard of before. He talks about how people seek out others to form connections, that it’s hard because we never fully share who we are, and that there is no black and white when it comes to any of it, with special note to happiness. Of course, for the program μ, things are black and white from her perspective, and she can’t quite comprehend that nothing is that simple.

Caligula’s dialogue all on the nose with no subtlety to it whatsoever, I’m ok with that. In fact, while the conversation between Ritsu and μ has very little support from the rest of the series (seriously, it’s almost pulled out of thin air if not for Caligula’s premise), it’s still fine dialogue because topics such as these aren’t so prominent nor discussed a lot in media (or real life for that matter). Yes, the lessons are often learned through real life trial and error, but having the message portrayed, however clumsily, is affirmative for people that they aren’t alone in how they’re feeling. That’s always a good thing, I just wish it was in a better series.

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Kotono comes home to her son and **** it, give your loved ones a hug people!
Reunion in the real world. I’ll give the end credits praise for being damn good.
Even Shogo starts to go back outside....

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I have to note that the music and μ’s voice actress this episode were both fantastic. Reina Ueda, who voices μ, provides a great range of despair in μ’s crying (it’s quite melodramatic at times but suffering isn’t exactly a class act) while the show finally uses “Distorted Happiness” as a backing track. The insert song from episode 6* also briefly reappears and I was all the more glad for it. One thing the show had was its music, though that’s partly because all the themes were composed by Vocaloid artists, so...mileage will vary. Sound effects were fine, they landed when they were supposed to and the animation in general this time was alright.

In the end, Caligula ended as well as it could have. I wonder what the show could’ve been if it ever realized its full potential, but sometimes that’s just how things go, sometimes potential can’t be fully realized. That’s just reality.

Episode Rating: C

Series Rating: C

Who would I recommend this series to? No one. It really is so average (dipping far below average at times) that there’s much better series to spend time on. Only watch it if you really like the premise (and I mean *really* like the premise).

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Miscellaneous Corner

- Special thanks to Stanlick for consistently sharing the posts over to AniTAY before I could publish them (and for taking notice).

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- Thank you readers for following along this ride!

- “Destroy your ideals and self, and return to hell and reality”is (personally) the most apt title of the show so far, considering now that it’s all over, there’s no where else Caligula can go.

- *Distorted Happiness is from the game, with a rearrangement made for the anime. The ep 6 insert song’s name is Tir na nOg (i and O have accents). It’s named after a realm in Irish mythology where it’s basically paradise. It’s...kind of apt?

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- General thoughts on the show itself: if the cast was smaller, maybe it could’ve been handled better. The animation wasn’t the worst thing I’ve seen (try watching 18if and then come back to me about bad animation) and the music was overall great. I know some people will laugh at the reveal that Shogo is a 30 year old shut-in that isolated himself because of guilt for his friend’s death, but there really are people like that and they do need help. Not everyone can fully navigate everything by themselves, that doesn’t mean they’re lazy scum, it just means they can’t do it. If you’re able to that’s great, not everyone can.

- For next season’s reviews, I’ll try to be more concise with the episode summaries. Look out for Overlord season 3 reviews coming soon!