Episode 12 – In the Land of Leadale

Here we are at the true proper conclusion of the land of Leadale and… I still have no idea what this show was trying to do or even who it was for. I wasn’t expecting the show to answer most if really any questions about the overall inciting incident or even some of the narrative loose ends like the rest of the player characters that are still trapped in this world. The only loose end that DOES get wrapped up is the whole thing with the mermaid that Cayna saves from a few previous episodes.

It’s built up as this emotional thing like how she’s finally found her place in the world but since I literally don’t know anything about this character outside of what she just dumped on us in this episode. I have no emotional investment in any of this. The same can be said for the resolution involving Cayna’s new daughter who is slowly building up the courage to call Cayna her mother. It’s treated as this really touching moment when it finally does happen, but I don’t know anything about this character either. I can infer some things, but considering what she actually went through, the show doesn’t really give us an idea of ​​what this exchange actually means for either of these characters. It’s nice to see Cayna being a responsible mother, especially since she arguably spends most of the show being terrible to children that more or less grew up without her, but I don’t know what being a mother actually means to Cayna. If anything, it was more of a recent revelation that she actually was interested in taking on that role. Either I’m missing something or the show is once again treating the audience as if they have more knowledge than they reasonably should. Maybe all along the show was just for people that were fans of the original source material? Apparently a lot of things were cut out for the sake of getting us to this point and if that’s true then I’m even more confused.

Some of the final shots and voice over in the finale carry this sense of whimsical free spiritedness. It was nice to hear Cayna reflect on how this all started and how her dying gave her the opportunity to go on adventures in this current life. That is technically true, though I still feel like the show isn’t really aware of anything going on in its own narrative. If the show just wanted to be about Cayna finding a new life in this world, then why make the plot involve other real life people? I would’ve bought this more as a simple escapist fantasy or even a nice narrative about a girl who got a second chance at a better life if it was actually about her embracing all the things about this new world.

If there was an actual progression to her getting to this life of contentment, then I could actually see myself finding this conclusion rather heartwarming. But most of Cayna’s actions throughout this entire show have just been reacting to things that she arguably took for granted like her family and trying to figure out how things got the way that they didn’t really resolved or reflected upon at all. Maybe it’s implied but if Cayna just realized it’s not worth exploring the rest of this world because there is no point in even reflecting on her old life? I actually would’ve been OK with that, but instead it’s framed as if it was never that important in the first place. If that really is the case then I’m sorry because at best it makes me feel bad for all trapped of the other player characters that were in here through no fault of their own and at worst it just makes everything else feel like a massive waste of time with a narrative as scattered and all over the place as its main character.

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In the Land of Leadale is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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