Mahoromatic: Something More Beautiful Volume 3

How a series ends is important. Perhaps more important even than how it begins. The final moments of a show are key to how it will be remembered. It’s impossible to please all of the people all of the time – just ask the creators of Evangelion, or Lost. For every show that goes out on a high, there are others that mess it up. From the very start fans have wondered how Mahoromatic will end; with Mahoro’s in built expiry date, each episode ends with a countdown to when she will stop functioning. This suggests that either we will get a bit of a downer of an ending (a bit harsh considering Suguru is already an orphan) or the writers would have to cheat, bringing in a last minute deus ex machina to save the day.

This final volume picks up at the last disc’s cliffhanger with our heroes in mortal peril. This is resolved pretty quickly and the story then deals with the aftermath of the previous episodes’ revelations. Fans of Mahoromatic’s lighter side will be pleased that they still find time to fit in a trip to a spa.

Much of the other episodes have a more serious tone as we move towards the series climax. The series has always moved deftly between broad comedy, more dramatic moments and sci-fi action. With the evil organisation, Management, coming to the forefront things certainly take a turn for the worse. Whereas most shonen romantic comedies normally get as dramatic as the lead having to choose which improbably hot girl he will choose, here there’s actual danger facing Suguru and company.

The episodes leading up to the end do a pretty solid job of creating dramatic tension. If you have come to care about the characters, you will be keen to see what happens to them. The actual ending itself though, is sadly a misfire.

I have no intention of even hinting at how the story as we know it comes to a close. However when the story of Suguru and Mahoro does end, it does so rather abruptly and unsatisfyingly. Then, most of the final episode goes into full sci-fi mode and is instead a misjudged ‘flashforward’ to a Trigun-type future. The design and animation quality takes a dip here and it pales in comparison to ‘proper’ sci-fi anime.

Fortunately the final episode is not the last episode on the disc. Jumping back to an earlier point in the series continuity we also get the summer special. This episode is back to the knockabout fun the show excels at. It entirely revolves around Suguru and his male friends trying to hide their naughty magazine collection from Mahoro – as well you know “all naughty thoughts are bad!”

Overall I enjoyed the series, but the ending was a real disappointment. If you’ve collected the rest of the series, of course you’ll want to see the end, but don’t be surprised if you feel they fluffed the ending. It’s a shame as it is otherwise a solid volume.

7 / 10