I would like it explained to me what, exactly, happened when the surviving characters of Altair’s failed rebellion walked through that portal in the final episode of Re:Creators. Because I think I watched them kill themselves.
This depressing thought snuck up on me the other night, as I walked to my refrigerator for a drink, after being generally happy with the final episode of Re:Creators and mulling over how cutting Altair out of the show completely would have made for a much better show. I tried to deny this thought and couldn’t. (Either thought, really, Re:Creators would have worked better as a slice-of-life series without the presence of Altair but that’s not the purpose of this post.) I slept on it and still can’t find the fault in this depressing idea. I had not intended to revisit Re:Creators after writing such a long post last week about the problems this show had; however, I was not expecting to watch a number of cast members getting spaghettified in some sort of cosmic blue portal of death.
Of course, as with any part of this show’s frustratingly fuzzy magic, it’s quite possible I’ve completely misunderstood what I saw. Or if The Urobutcher had been hired to write the last episode and he added a twist where Meteora was the true villain and only Magane was smart enough to run far away then I would, at least, understand why the show decided to kill a bunch more characters at the last moment.
However, I think it’s more likely my idea is more correct and here’s why.
First off, Altair did not actually physically pull the characters out from their works of art before they were brought to our world. If this had been the case then the character would have disappeared from their work of art and this didn’t happen. The anime, manga, light novels, and games that birthed these characters continued with no noticeable change. So there was no empty spot for these characters to return to.
Being pulled into and out of a work of art would have looked like what happened in the video to the classic “Take On Me” by A-ha.
Second, the characters brought forth from their works of art did not display any sign of being independently sentient of their creator’s will while inside their work of art. Once in our world, the memories they had from before felt to them like they lived in a real world and they were their own person but they never carried any knowledge of themselves or of their world that was unknown to their creator. Which helps explain why they all commented on the vividness of our world compared to what they remembered of their original world. They did not come from an independently alternative real world and being in our world allowed them to think and see for themselves for the first time.
In their original worlds they did not have a limited amount of free will and sentience like that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern had in the movie Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. Nor did they have actual free will and sentience as was seen in the book Red Shirts. So when these characters were “sent back” in episode 22 they weren’t going to be able to remember the events of what happened in our world as they played out the story of their work of art. Rui isn’t going to be putting together the model kits he took from our world during the times he’s not “on-screen”. Blitz Talker isn’t going to be angry with his creator when she kills off his daughter again. Yuuya isn’t going to enjoy knowing what his creator had to do to resolve his story now that everything got spoiled.
Also, if that blue portal was merely a portal to an alternative world then Nishio Oonishi would have been able to go through when he fell against it.
Third, the moment these characters forked from their original, appeared in our world, and began experiencing a different life from their media counterpart, they became different and separate people. So, if I’m wrong about the second point and there is somehow a real and independent world to go back to, simple math states that we went from two persons down to one person because there is no hole for them to return to. Somebody was destroyed. And if there isn’t a real and independent world to return to then we went from one person down to zero persons which means that somebody was destroyed.
I keep turning this over in my head and can’t find an alternative explanation to viewing Meteora’s portal as anything but a cosmic erasure of existence that killed more characters than Altair did. That kills the warm feelings I know I am supposed to have right now and did have for about 30 minutes after watching the final episode. The feelings that temporarily convinced me I was maybe being a little too harsh by regarding the show as being average-ish. I like happy endings and wanted a happy ending. So, I’m disposed to not think about the mechanics behind giving me my happy ending, but, the problem with how this episode ended was just too big. Now, I can’t imagine not giving this a below-average score because the writers of Re:Creators couldn’t even properly write the simple ending they left for themselves.
Not really bizarre, just maybe a bit odd, is the other elephant in the room and that is how inconclusive Altair and Setsuna 2’s story actually is. Granted, Altair probably won’t decide she still wants to destroy our world and return to cause a second rebellion; however, what happens when Altair and Setsuna 2 get tired of looking lovey-dovey at each other? If the writing of Re:Creators had been much better I would imagine that a sequel was already being planned centering on what happens when they return to our world. Instead, I don’t think much thought was given to their ending beyond being a convenient way to remove Altair from the field of battle without killing her. I would like to know if Altair still have her powers? Did Altair create a world with just the two of them living inside of it? Won’t they get lonely there? As a creator, won’t Setsuna 2 want to continue creating and wanting to show her creations off to other people? Will Altair pop into our world when Setsuna 2 is hungry for take-out? What will Altair do when Setsuna 2 dies and she is still alive? If Altair was somehow given life one time won’t the conditions still be in place for a second Altair to arise and wreak havoc in our world? If Altair shows up in our world again, will Meteora and Magane regain their powers?
And finally, wouldn’t Re:Creators have been a much show if this Meteora appeared in the show instead?