What They Say:
If he sees underwear, humanity will be destroyed!? An original anime series from the noitaminA block, PUNCH LINE centers on Yuta Iridatsu, a high school student, with a peculiar habit. When he sees a girl’s panties, he gets so excited he faints! After a certain incident with a ghost cat, his soul gets separated from his body. Using his special powers, Yuta watches the daily lives of the inhabitants of an apartment and sometimes plays tricks on them. Eventually, Yuta decides to unlock the secrets to why Earth will be destroyed and tries to save it!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I’ll start the review by saying that, disappointingly, there’s no big twist here. If you’re familiar with Uchikoshi’s other works, you basically have a feeling of where the finale is headed, and you won’t be far off. There’s not really anything that will cast all of the previous events in a new light: The moment of everything “coming together” is meant to be Justice Punch’s victory. And while it isn’t a mindbender, it ends up being emotionally satisfying all the same.
Last episode’s cliffhanger ended with a barrage of missiles headed toward Korai House. Meika punches a button, and a defensive shield rises up, deflecting them all. Ito destroys the US Army’s tanks with ease; Uber-Rabura dispatches the W army without breaking a sweat. It seems everything is going to according to plan… until Guriko sneaks into Korai House and rips off Meika’s arm. The hacking attempt is incomplete, and seems to have ended in failure. This enrages Yuta/Pine, who begins a long battle with Guriko, with some extremely well done fight choreography. The tension and resentment between these two explodes in a furious climax, with Guriko seemingly delivering the final blow.
The series ends in triumph, however. All of the character’s victories are edited side by side: Mikatan decides to Uberfy a final time to defend Pine and punish Guriko, Rabura performs a perfect exorcism to drive Tsubochi QMay out of a possessed Army Colonel threatening Ito, and Ito assists Meika in completing the launch of the final missile. Asteroid VR-1 is destroyed, but at the cost of Mikatan’s life… or so it would seem.
In realization that she has betrayed a friend, Guriko tells Yuta to Uberfy so the three friends can all return to their original bodies. Yuta refuses. He gives Mikatan/Chiyoko back her original body, his own, but forces Guriko to live on in his (Pine’s) own body to refect on her crimes. Yuta therefore dies within Chiyoko’s own body. It’s a tragic end I didn’t expect, and the insert song chosen to go along with the moment is suitably heart-rending. It’s an wonderfully written and shot scene, showing that alongside all of the nonsense, Punchline really did have a heart.
We skip ahead 49 days later to tie up a few loose ends, although everyone seems to be living happily now. Rabura douses herself in cinnamon to allow Ghost Yuta to say his final goodbyes: He has to go back and possess Young Rabura, and then re-possess himself on the riverbank to ensure the time loop stays intact. In offering to Yuta’s memory, the women of Korai House all present his shrine with a pair of underpants.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions and unexplored territory here, sadly, but the core emotional arc still delivered. Everything else can be left to the videogame to explore, for those who seek more answers. What kind of a celebrity was Yuta’s sister? What was with the mannequin in Rabura’s room? What was the significance of the Turtle? Hopefully we’ll get an English version so international fans can find out.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Sony VAIO 20″