It has been a while since I have discussed Gen Urobuchi’s puppet show. We have had two seasons, which I have discussed at length on their own blog posts, and two movies which I do not want to discuss. Season 1 was the major introduction of conflicts and ideas in this world of puppets and chuunibyo natures that would not be realistic otherwise. You can read that post here because I am not going to discuss it in this post. Season 2 was a bit more expansion of the lore of Thunderbolt Fantasy and an expansion of characters and ideas that work brilliantly. You can check out my post on season 2 right here for more because I am not discussing it on this post in detail. Here are with season three with the continuing adventures of Shang and those strays he picks up along the way.
I am just going to say it right here, these names are in Taiwanese, and I am clearly not going to get them right. That is why I am going to use my own euphemisms for them. If that does not work…well…I guess you have not watched Thunderbolt Fantasy so go back to my first season post and start form there. Or even watch it because the entire franchise is phenomenal.
Structure-wise, Season 3 is a lot looser in how and what it sets out to do and achieve. That feels by design. It does not feel like it at first until you really get it. Shang and the crew he created in season 2 go against the goth monk with a sword that wants to feast on the blood of whoever it connects with. It also hypnotizes the user into doing the killing, so obviously this needs to be handled really quickly or else the world may be doomed. Again. That leads to Shang and his crew coming across the Void Junction. A place where the demon waifu from season 1 is working on rebuilding a connection with the demon realm for world domination. It is also a place where any person can travel to place and time, and I am sure you can understand what that means. Thunderbolt Fantasy Season 3 is a bit of an isekai series.
That being said, it is an isekai series in the way that I appreciate. Especially since there is a rhyme and a reason for it to happen in the first place. There is no straightforward way in a visual medium to directly tell one person’s backstory. Yet, here is a way of doing that in an organic way of doing that by seeing our characters react to it in happen in front of them. These are not flashbacks, but these characters actually taking in where they came from and what they can do in real time and its wonderful and believable drama. Especially for Shang, our boy who we do not know about coming to terms with why he is on the run and why he acts the way he does. He came into Thunderbolt Fantasy Season 1 fully formed and now, we finally get to see where he came from. It is very Cowboy Bebop in that way. Other characters either face the same conflict or are used somewhere else so no one is ever a waste of space even if they are a bit of a joke character. I love Urobuchi’s sense of efficiency.
What makes the conflict of Thunderbolt Fantasy Season 3 even messier is the fact that there is a three-sided conflict in motion in regard to acquiring some sense of power for reasons we don’t know. Ok, so we do know why Shang and his crew are doing their actions. They represent the good side and do not want anyone to get the demon slaying swords. Then again, we know why all of them are doing what they are doing. There are also the demons who obviously want to invade the human world again which means releasing all the demons from those swords. Then lastly is the third faction who want the demon slaying swords so they can stop their kingdom from being like Stalin and murdering their own people. That third party’s country is where Shang comes from, so there is some tension there. Same with parties two and three working together against Shang for their own means. So, I guess my first statement was false.
The last two paragraphs are the central concepts and plots behind this season. Those are the reasons why I would describe them as messy or dodgy or not completely together yet. After having half a year to think on Thunderbolt Fantasy Season 3, it all works together better then anyone could ever imagine it working. There is such a strong method behind all the madness. A direction that it went that you can’t see at first. There was no other way for this season to do what it wanted to do without pushing the question of causality and dimensions even more then season 2 ever did for its one time. It may not be to everyone’s tastes, but it worked out very well. All the concepts and idea that the season wanted to explore actually happened. Since there was a good head at the corner who knows a thing or two about timelines and dimensions by the name of Gen Urobuchi, you know it is going to work out.
The best part of this season is the twist at its last couple of episodes. It is also handled by someone named Gen Urobuchi who knows a thing or two about writing some good twists. Maybe you have hearda bout him. It may be a twist that you expect to see considering that well…there was a build up. There was a build up from how a demon sword thirsts for blood and a nation that is run by a loli who follows Stalin’s way of ruling through killing their own people. It was always there just like how there was a hint in the movie about one of Shang’s family members (or TM Revolution himself) when the truth of his voice was revealed. Put this on top of the reveal of how our heroes who are currently in the worst scenarios possible by their enemies are actually not in danger at all. All of these things make sense by the way our characters are always on top when the other two parties never trusted each other. Man, that was a massive reminder of why I love Thunderbolt Fantasy as much as I do. It is good stuff all of it. A wonderful franchise that I wish I could own.
Thunderbolt Fantasy Season 3 is an absolutely solid piece of fiction. After thinking about it for half a year, I really want to watch it again and see how all the pieces came into place more. Through the story of these Wuxia puppets, we see that Gen Urobuchi’s writing talents are still more intact than they ever could be. How mean he is in terms of being called the Urobutcher has changed, but his sharpness never left him. He has a strong talent that not many people can match in ways that no one would ever expect them to at all. Give me more of his writing please. Please more Thunderbolt Fantasy. I mean, there is that Bubble movie that I am excited about coming out on Netflix. I guess I will not be starved for a while. With Thunderbolt Fantasy Season 3, I am calling Urobuchi December to a close. See you in some random events that I think of along the way next and Mecha March’s arrival once again! Thanks for reading!