Swindler, Courier and the Children crawl out of the wreckage of the once revered Shinkansen. While the Children are unscathed, Swinder and Courier have significant injuries of their own. Knowing she’ll just slow them down, Swindler asks Courier to take the Children to the ‘safe place’ Hacker gave her the co-ordinates to while she stays behind to buy them some time. She ends up doing so much more than that and uses her death to spark a new, stronger wave of riots across Kansai. Despite the city turning on them, the Executioners still will not let the children go. As Courier takes them out of the city, they are tailed by three planes. Courier manages to take them down (with a little help from Swindler’s master plan causing a black out in the city) and dies peacefully as the children continue their escape. The series ends with the children seemingly arriving at their destination, safe and sound at last.
This week’s episode marks the end of Akudama Drive and what a stunning conclusion it was. The Children finally escaped and a revolution started within Kansai, but it didn’t come without its loss. While the series never promised to have a happy ending, having all of the Akudama meet their end one way or another has certainly been a gut punch, and Swindler’s death more than most. We’ve seen Swindler’s character grow so much in the last few episodes, and her evolution into a true ‘Akudama’ – someone who fights for what they want. And in this final episode, her transformation comes full circle, signified by her received her own opening. But there’s also an interesting parallel between episode one and now. In episode one of the series, Swindler was running around trying to convince the Executioners/ police that she was just an Ordinary Person, and lied to the Akudama group that she was one of them. Now the tables have turned, and she’s truly an Akudama and lies about being an ordinary person. It’s through this lie that she effectively ‘swindles’ Kansai, cementing herself as a martyr in their eyes and sparking outrage across Kansai.
It’s hard to miss the crucifixion imagery in Swindler’s death and you have to wonder if that was specifically planned with the episode airing just before Christmas. But her death becomes a symbol of the brutality of the Executioners, their sins on full display thanks to the help of Hacker’s program (you’ll notice his drone symbol on Rabbit and Shark). But Swindler’s death also leaves us with a very important message – in the form of a 500 yen coin. Again in episode one, audiences are a bit surprised that she would be such a stickler to return a 500 yen coin to someone she doesn’t know. After all, it’s considered ‘chump change’. But in this episode, she talks about how the 500 yen coin changed her life completely, it reiterates this idea that the smallest things have the potential to make the biggest difference. And just as the 500 yen coin changed Swindler’s life completely, the death an ‘Ordinary Person’ can re-start the riots and push Kansai to boiling point.
While the episode came with two deaths, it did end on a note of hope. The people of Kansai have revolted against the Executioners, and in doing so, against Kanto. Now bear with me as I put my tin foil hat on, but I believe the efforts of Courier and Swindler have permanently severed the connection between Kanto and Kansai. When escaping, Courier destroys the communications tower, a permanent imposing figure on Osaka’s landscape and an icon of Kanto’s power over Kansai. After all, the tower was used to broadcast all those propaganda videos that we’ve seen in every episode of the series. I also believe that the blackout Swindler set on a timer (with Hacker’s technology) wasn’t just a simple blackout. After all, why bother if it was just for a single moment that happened to coincide with when Courier needed it most? Instead, I believe the blackout was instead Hacker’s technology ‘resetting’ Kansai’s system, potentially removing all influence of Kanto within it.
Of course the biggest moment in this episode was the Children finally escaping. For a while it seemed that Brother had given up, but seeing the efforts of the remaining Akudama to protect him and Sister spurring him on in turn reignited his hope. While the episode doesn’t definitely tell us where they ended up and what their next steps are I believe that they will be fine. When Swindler is stabbed and taking her last breath she has a vision of a blurry white spot, on that white spot we see the silhouettes of the two children – the same image we see before the episode ends. Upon seeing this Swindler says with a smile “serves you right”, I believe in this moment she’s talking to Kanto and that it ‘serves them right’ that the Children have finally escaped their grasp and that she’s also destroyed the grip they have on Kansai. A very fitting final ‘screw you’ from Swindler to Kanto.
Watching this series over the last three months has been such a joy. I’ve looked forward to each episode, and watched in anticipation as the series changed from a flashy drama to something far darker. It’s been a short ride at just twelve episodes but one that has used to its time incredibly well. It’s rare that a series will end on such a high note, leaving a viewer perfectly satisfied but Akudama Drive has done it. While I’m sad to say goodbye to the characters and world of the series, there’s no other way I would have wished the series to end. Thank you to everyone who has been following my weekly reviews of the show, I hope you’ve all enjoyed it as much as I have!
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