English Dub Review: Release the Spyce “Tsukikage is Forever”

Tsukikage: Is it forever?

Overview

After discovering Moryo’s plans to turn an entire population into mind slaves, Momo, Goe, and Fu all race to destroy the gigantic, toxin-spreading device and take down Tendo. The girls seem overwhelmed and outnumbered by robots, when suddenly —

Surprise! Katrina, Byakko, and Hatsume are alive! How? Easy — the writers pulled off the only twist that would save the show from itself: Mei was a double agent all along!

Mei (after knocking out every Moryo member in the tower) explains to Tendo and the others that she and Katrina hatched this plot months ago in order to take Moryo down once and for all — by honing their acting skills, planting bombs ahead of time, and designing fake bodies for their teammates, the pair successfully pulled off the heist (except for Hanzo’s injury, which wasn’t planned. Mei’s got some apologizing to do.)

With Tsukikage now having the upper hand, Momo faces off with Tendo alone. With surprisingly little effort, Momo finally gets her first kill: Tendo is dead, and the city is saved.

Everything heads back to normal: Teresia was able to be resuscitated, Byakko is now a member-in-training, and all are healthy and happy.

Except for Hanzo, who gives Momo one last mission: to wipe her memory of Tsukikage. Hanzo reveals that she needs to retire because the spice no longer works on her and that she wants to live a normal life. After much crying and convincing, Momo finally agrees to help Hanzo retire, and wipes her memory.

A small-time skip reveals that Momo is now the leader of Tsukikage, with her own apprentice, Ichika. With Momo, Ichika, Hatsume, Mei, Fu, Goe, Teresia, Byakko and Katrina all together, the team thrives. Hanzo — seemingly out of pure coincidence — bumps into Momo and smiles.

Our Take

Release the Spyce’s first season has finally come to an end, and — much like Hanzo — it is time for this reviewer to retire from Tsukikage. But before that, let’s talk about the episode.

The season finale was the series’ one last chance to pull itself back from the cliff it was so dangerously close to falling off of, and (as stated in previous reviews) the only way this seemed possible was for Mei to be a double agent all along. Luckily, the writers had enough common sense to make this a reality, giving way for a much more sensible ending.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, here. Just because the show had one sensible thing happen doesn’t mean that the multitude of other nonsensical things is negated.

For instance — it’s been mentioned before, but once again, the army of robots that Moryo has at its disposal were barely threatening. At times, all of them are shooting simultaneously, but mostly, they’re just standing there like rag dolls while the Tsukikage takes them out. They were barely a threat, throughout the series, no matter how outnumbered Fu (or anyone) was.

Secondly — it’s understandable that the writers would want their protagonist (Momo) to have a one-on-one battle with the main villain. However, with Tendo’s fighting experience (and history of killing teens, apparently) it seemed like the fight was too easy — especially considering how Tendo even gave herself some fighting juice beforehand. There weren’t a ton of emotional stakes like there would have been if Hanzo was the one going up against her — even with the fate of the world at hand. There was even a throwaway line about how Tendo knew “what really happened” to Momo’s cop father, but it was never elaborated on and cheapened what could have been an impactful fight. Instead, Tendo dies unceremoniously after a lot of cheesy fighting dialogue.

Even through all this, though, there was a lot of heart in the finale that did have an impact. Hanzo’s departure from Tsukikage, Momo gaining her own apprentice, the theme being played within the climactic point of the episode (always a great touch), and the entire team uniting in solidarity with each other landed a few good punches for the plot. Voice acting was consistent with Ichika’s voice being the most original. It almost sounded as though she even had a faint Brooklyn accent.

All this, but we’re still left with one glaring question that was never answered: What IS the spice!?

For a show that heavily relies on this as a gimmick, it never elaborated on the spice in relation to its world of the story. So spice gives teen girls enhanced fighting abilities: does this work on all teen girls? Is this common knowledge? If not, how come nobody — not even scientists — has figured that out? Or is it that they have specific, genetically altered spices with these powers that Tsukikage invented? If Release the Spyce wanted to keep these answers a secret for potential later seasons, then it made the wrong decision. Realistically, Release the Spyce isn’t that great of a series to the point where people would want to stick around and find out. This is something that needed to be elaborated on sooner rather than later, and it’s unfortunately failed to do so.

Although Release the Spyce is definitely a 6/10 series (with plenty of 4/10 moments), the finale’s emotional impact was enough to get its last episode a good rating. Should there be more Release the Spyce content in the future, it could potentially spice things up by fixing its flaws and not relying on gimmicks and clichés.

Score
7.5/10

Kayla Gleeson

Kayla Gleeson is an entertainment writer and media player, with work involved in shows such as Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown" and Chicken Soup for the Soul's "Hidden Heroes." In addition to her work on BubbleBlabber, she also has dozens upon dozens of published articles for RockYou Media. Aside from immersing her life in cartoons, she loves to write and read poetry, be outdoors, go to conventions, and indulge in Alan Resnick stylings of comedy.

Kayla Gleeson has 46 posts and counting. See all posts by Kayla Gleeson