From one plot twist to the next, Episode 20 of Re:CREATORS is slowly building the foundations of its finale. In contrast to typical stories, this is not a battle between good and evil. Altair is not the typical antagonist, the evil mastermind, the cruel monster. She is the anti-hero, a creation in love with everything that makes a story right and a nemesis to the people who disregard the noble act of making something out of nothing. In the end, the real protagonist of Re:CREATORS was Altair.
What a story
Japanese Title: 残響が消えるその前に
If there was one show this season that needed a dramatic finale befitting its complicated meta story, that was Re:CREATORS. Full of colorful characters and philosophical discussions, the plot took a sudden turn with the introduction of the birdcage and the battle royale, a turn that found many characters giving their lives in order for Meteora’s plan to succeed. Altair is still keen on her own plan to destroy the world and nothing seems capable of stopping her. Not even Selesia’s tear-jerking sacrifice.
The last couple of episodes were full of action, but Episode 20 was the most action-packed episode of them all, not only in terms of fighting, but also in terms of plot advancement and the usual monologues about the process of creation. Altair is the undeniable protagonist of this story and makes good use of it: Her Holopsicon now has the ability to neutralize any power or storyline that is not part of the core story. That’s a weird power, since all her powers are not part of the core story, but I am guessing that her protagonist status has integrated all of what she is into what the audience considers the main story. That is the story with Altair in the first role.
Our enemies-turned-pals, Yuya and Sho, both get their ass kicked (and Yuya also gets stabbed multiple times) but they are both alive by the end of the episode. Not that another death would have made a difference after losing Alicetaria and Selesia.
The first of the two trump cards held by the Creators is Sirius: a duplicate of Altair’s, based on Setsuna’s last design. Why Altair knows of her is a mystery, unless Setsuna’s memories were engraved in her creation. Since she was nothing but a doll created with the purpose of defeating Altair, she is not a fully fleshed-out character. The more complete version of Setsuna’s dreams, Altair, managed to twist the supposedly happy ending (who actually believed that was the end of Altair?) and reversed the effect of Sirius’s Holopsicon, emerging from the battle more powerful than ever.
If we can’t erase you, we will change you
But a decent twist needs a second twist that will sweep the audience off their feet. For most of the episode I was wondering where Magane was. As soon as I saw Souta and his weird necklace, I knew that the ‘fake gold’ was going to play an important role in the story. Magane helped Souta create the only character that could turn things around: Setsuna. Altair’s creator and the reason behind all her hate and resentment. I don’t know how a fake persona is going to persuade Altair, unless she isn’t a fake persona. More on that below in the comment section.
Magane’s power was the only way this could have been made possible since the impossibility of this action is what triggered Magane’s power. This is a character that doesn’t need the acceptance of the audience. She exists because she couldn’t exist in another way. She is a lie that turned inside out.
Hikayu: Hikayu is the first to lose her powers, which is a shame because she was probably the most entertaining of the characters. Her mace transformation was really good, but I was expecting another move announcement still.
Themes & Trivia
Sirius: How fitting that the character created to defeat Altair is named after the brightest star in the sky. Sirius is is a star system and the brightest star in the Earth’s night sky. What we perceive as single star, is actually the light from a binary star system that consists of a white star, Sirius A, and a faint white dwarf, Sirius B. Altair, on the other hand, is the brightest star in the constellation of Aquila and the twelfth brightest star in the night sky.
Creative Power: The episode is once again commenting on art, but this time it’s not talking about the struggles of a single creator but on the collective power of the fandom. Altair is a character without a story. She has no background information. Her existence is due to a ‘passion gone mad.’ She is not a product of logic but of emotion. She is the ultimate independent character, an amalgam of fan art and fanfiction. She is not owned by a single creator. That may create a few problems in her interaction with the ‘created’ Setsuna.
I don’t belong to any story
The problem with having Setsuna into the story is that she can’t possibly be the real Setsuna. She is a creation and as such she must enter this world with the characteristics that were given to her by her creator, Souta. Did Souta know Setsuna so well that he could bring to words the full spectrum of her personality? Or is this Setsuna a mindless puppet like Sirius?
Re:CREATORS is one of my favorite shows. I like it so much that my wallpaper this season has Setsuna reaching her hand for Altair. I found the image online long before this episode, and I had no idea that Souta had a plan with Magane to use her power to bring Altair’s creator back. If there is something I love in the stories I read is the element of surprise. The series is going for a full circle, planning to end where it all started: the train station in which Setsuna took her own life.