One last little trip into the Universe of the Four Gods. This is the concluding OAV for the series that just seemed to go on forever. It was an interesting little trip throughout it all, but I'm glad that it's over and that I can move on to other things.
The story takes place three years after the end of the previous OAV. Taka and Miaka are now married and Miaka is pregnant. And everyone is happy for them save for one: Mayo Sakaki, a student who would do anything to make Taka hers. And when Mayo discovers the "Universe of the Four Gods", she decides that the only way to make Taka love her is to become the priestess of Suzaku herself. So into the book she goes. Taka goes in after her only to discover that the book-world is on the verge of total deterioration. So now Taka has to gather up the Suzaku Seven again in order to summon Suzaku again and see if he can save the world again.
As with the previous OAV, the one thing I liked about this volume is that you get to see how the characters have changed over the years. Not only are Miaka and Taka married, but once you get into the book-world, you get to see the Suzaku Seven re-born (an odd element that I'll talk about later).
Overall though, the story here just falls flat, even compared to the previous volumes. It almost makes me long for the melodramatic romance and ill-timed humor of the original TV series, which may have made for some awkward storytelling, but at least the gave some quirky color to the series. The only really emotional element to this one is Mayo, who is depressed because she thinks that nobody loves her. But even her character does little to save the rest of the show.
Actually, there is one goofy element to this show that makes it somewhat interesting: all the previously deceased member of the Suzaku Seven characters are re-born. It's not like Taka's instant-aging rebirth either; the Suzaku Seven are actually literally born into new bodies. The strangest of all is Chiriko (who actually plays a significant role this time!). He is a newborn baby, but he remembers his previous life and can actually talk exactly like he used to. So you get to see a normal adult voice coming out of a baby's body, which is humorously unsettling in itself, but add to that the fact that he will sporadically revert to his baby-personality and start crying (with Tasuki there to calm him down). The second oddest reincarnated character was Mitsukake who has a child's body but a very deep, adult voice. It was weird, but, alas, still did little to improve the story.
The animation was on par with the other series. There was some nifty computer-generated graphics, but other than that it was just average.
The music was the same too. Pretty standard stuff.
The ending was not as climactic or satisfying as the TV series or OAV. If it was emotional, it was only because it's been such a long journey through all this and it's strange to have it all be over finally.
Overall this last volume just feels like a half-hearted attempt to squeeze a little more out of a story that should have ended with the TV series. But even so, let's face it... I can't have disliked it that much if I was willing to stick it out through all 65 episodes. So maybe there is something to this series after all... but probably not.