Episode ten of Houkago no Pleiades finally reveals the antagonist’s true identity to Subaru. Subaru is shocked to find out her gardening sweetheart Minato is actually the horned demon (STILL UNNAMED) who has been fighting the girls for fragments. Interestingly enough, we also get a flashback back story of Minato’s childhood, when he came across an alien that needed help retrieving spaceship fragments. Things take a turn from nostalgic to confusing when we throw in Minato’s back story because while it contributes to the reason behind Minato’s fragment theft, it discards the other girls from the story and sidelines them from a sudden romance development between Minato and Subaru. But I’ll try to keep it straightforward while I explain.
During Minato’s childhood, the meteor shower over the earth was actually a scattering of spaceship energy fragments. He happens to be able to see the fragments and meets the alien retrieving them. Around the same time, it just so happens that Subaru was visiting her mother in the hospital and stumbles upon Minato’s room. They have a weird trippy space dream moment together (which we get no explanations for). Subaru ends up becoming Minato’s first “hope” in his life. But later in a twist reveal, Minato realizes that his body is actually in terminal condition but he’s been under the alien’s magic spell all this time. As a result, Minato begins to deny his present self and hopes to use the engine fragment to change his past. He turns into the horned evil demon when his magic turns into curses.
Meanwhile with the main group of magic girls, Subaru chases after Minato all the way up into space. Minato knows the engine fragments have the ability to change destinies. He also believes it has the power to grant wishes and his wish is to disappear from the earth.
Throughout the entire episode, I can’t really tell if Minato knows if Subaru is real or not. But in order to convince Minato that their memories were real together, Subaru undoes her transformation in space, a bad move… Minato embraces her but ends up disintegrating into the last fragment. Subaru returns to earth, cradled in a bubble of magic, realizing that she hasn’t changed at all, feeling still so powerless in her current situation. Minato ends up being stabbed by the fragment… an awkward ending for sure.
This would be much more romantic if Minato didn’t look like a girl and if the romantic sub plot was much more relevant earlier in the series.
The series goes from confusing to just weird. When Subaru returns to earth with the twelve fragments, she ends up losing the power to use magic because she’s already “become something” as in, she’s chosen her path… Since magic girls can only use magic because of their “potential,” in choosing a path, Subaru’s lost her potential. The confusing thing is that Subaru thinks she hasn’t changed but everything and everyone around her says she has. Self-identity crisis to the max.
The other girls end up chasing down a fragment, running hundreds of light years far from the earth in order to catch it. The alien posits that the fragment isn’t being properly collected because all the girls are not wholeheartedly determined to collect the fragments. Everyone else decides to pitch in and pursue the fragment despite the dangers and the chase continues.
I can’t tell if the story is difficult to follow because of the translations or because the plot simply has too many holes. Like seriously if they were going to build up Houkago no Pleiades to such a complex ending, we should have been given a lot more explanations prior to this. At times it just feels like the alien keeps pulling more and more random explanations out of thin air to explain the sudden developments of the story.
While the other girls are chasing the fragment to the edges of the universe, Subaru is pondering her childhood friend and first love over some strawberry milk. Somehow, she comes to her own conclusion over what is happening and endeavours to enter the garden again to find Minato. However, she finds herself as the hospital instead, in the room where Minato’s body is lying unconscious.
After a heart-to-heart (of sorts), Subaru finds herself newly transformed and reunites with Minato in space. Wow… good magic Minato is quite princely and encourages Subaru to be herself, to do what her heart tells her is right. Subaru then reunites with the other girls and it seems like the “main conflict” has been resolved? Ish?
When I reflect one everything that’s happened, it sort of makes sense and the plot holes are mostly filled by the “magic” elements that seem to solve all problems in a deux ex machina way. If you overthink the details, the plot resolution of Houkago no Pleiades might confuse you. While it seem slike after episode eleven of the show, the emotional conflict has been resolved among the characters, I just don’t see a correlation between Subaru’s desire to change and Minato’s back story, it’s just disjointed.
From this point I don’t see how episode twelve could potentially be exciting in any way. Other than a huge battle culminating in the collection of the last fragment, it should be relatively anti-climactic since all the interpersonal and intrapersonal problems have been “resolved” in this week’s episode. Also, a few questions come to mind. Is Minato actually real? Or still sick? Is his magic self a manifestation of his soul since his body is still in a coma? How did Subaru get new powers? Simply from the fragment from the other alien’s spaceship? How do both alien’s spaceships come to play and not clash in the plot? Whatever actually happened to that other alien? Does he not feel responsible for Minato’s “evil” and cursed self? So many questions that require more in depth explanations.
Mixing magic, astronomy and physics together seems all too dysfunctional in this series. Up till now we saw magic girl fragment retrievals buoyed by general scientific explanations. I’m no physics expert but most of the explanations from the Pleiades seemed fairly sound for what was happening. But once we got to the end of the show, magic took over what science initially tried to ground. As a result, the rules in this world seem quite topsy-turvy, made to suit plot events wherever they were needed and discarded when they hindered plot progression. At this point I’m really just hoping for a neat and simple finish from the series.
What are you pondering today?