Spring 2018 First Impressions: Last Period – Only When Rolling The Limited Gacha Will You Experience True Despair

Haru, Choco, Liza and Gajeru are a group of brave heroes known as Periods, who work for the Arc End Branch Office #8 in the city of Hopeless exterminating the enigmatic monsters known as Spirals. When their office’s treasury gets stolen, their homes and belongings repossessed, and their branch closed, the four have to take on jobs to make ends meet. Will they be able to scrape together the money to restore their branch to its former glory? Well, maybe they could if they had enough AP!

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Last Period: The Journey to the End of Despair is way more charming than it has any right to be. The series is based on a mobile game by a company called Happy Elements, who you may know as the creators of Ensemble Stars, Merc Storia, and Last Period. Rather than trying to tell a basic fantasy story in the game’s setting, the creators of the anime have decided to lean into the series’ roots as a F2P gacha game by acknowledging it every chance they get and making the trappings of the genre an acknowledged part of the characters’ world.

Does it work? Well, if you have any experience of gacha games then absolutely. A lot of the humour in this episode are based around the cliches of mobage, both in game and in terms of how they’re advertised, and if you have any familiarity with that then the jokes are pretty likely to land. The cynical take on trying to roll for the best characters is particularly true to life; I’ve played enough Fate/Grand Order and follow enough Granblue Fantasy fans on Twitter to understand the despair of using your last quartz/crystals to roll nothing but garbage, which is actually a plot point in the episode. No wonder the series’ tag line is “journey to the end of despair.” If you play these games then you’re well acquainted with that journey. Why, just this week I spent ninety quartz and 20 tickets trying to roll Jalter and didn’t even get a single four star, and I had to stop before I blew the rest of what I had saved for the next servant that’s coming out… boy I love Fate/Grand Order

last period 1-3

But what if you’re not a mobage fan? Will you still enjoy what this episode has to offer? I reckon so. Not all of the jokes are based around mobile games, and the characters themselves are endearing enough to make a great impression early on. My favourites were the two girls in the party, Choco and Liza, who have some of the best lines and the more interesting personalities in the group. Liza also seems to be the most natural leader which is refreshing for a fantasy series, where men seem to naturally take control. The enemy group, Wiseman, also seem pretty great so far. The best way to describe them at this point would be to say that they’re like Team Skull if they started playing a mobile game and dumped a load of their real money into the gacha to get the best characters and avoid any actual challenge. They also feature heavily in the ending sequence, which is easily one of the best ending songs so far this season.

 

Another point in Last Period’s favour is the art. The characters look really cute and unique, and the bright colour palette makes every scene feel pleasant to look at. There isn’t any stand out animation here and there were some shortcuts during the few fight scenes to avoid showing any action, but it doesn’t look janky or cheap at all and this doesn’t seem like a series you would watch for the fantastic fight choreography anyway, so it makes sense to compromise in that area. As long as they don’t get lazy as the series continues then this could be a very pretty anime.

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This season hasn’t been great for fantasy anime so far. Every one that’s come out is only enjoyable with some hefty caveats, so it’s nice to see that this late in the game a series that I had zero expectations for has shown up to remind us how cute and charming fantasy can be. Whether you’re a fan of fantasy, mobile games, or you just want a fun comedy similar to KonoSuba but where the characters actually like each other, it’s well worth giving Last Period a chance. It’s just a shame that this premiere’s starting so late when some people will be burned out on picking up more and more new shows, because it might end up getting lost in the shuffle. Just try an episode. You won’t be disappointed.

Highlights:

  • Fans of mobile gacha games will appreciate the clever referential humour
  • The artstyle is refreshingly cute and bright compared to some of this season’s other fantasy offerings
  • The whole gacha summoning scene was one of my favourite jokes in the episode

Lowlights:

  • People who aren’t really acquainted with gacha game culture might not enjoy some of the jokes as much

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