After Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova ended, two movies were released. The first of which is is Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova DC, and the second of which is Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova Cadenza. The first movie serves mainly as a super-condensed retelling of the original story, whereas the second is a new story, which brings the story to a close. With that said let’s get on with the glorious finale.
The movie begins with an expansion of the beginning scene from the first movie. It’s revealed to us that the conflict is between Yamato and Musashi, which concludes with Yamato sinking. We then pick up where DC left off. Chihaya Gunzou’s reaction to the plot twist from the end of DC is a bit lacking to say the least. Granted, he’s never been the most expressive character in the first place. It’s a bit disappointing, but I’ll give it a pass, since it fits his character… I guess. The human characters still remain largely unimportant position fillers. To be fair, they did give Iori a tiny bit more
characterization screen time near the start of the film.
The Fleet of Fog on the other hand, received more characters in the form of antagonists that are all much more interesting from the get go… again. These new characters, besides Yamato and Musashi, are part of the Student Council Fleet, headed by Hiei. While they’re the ones the movie focuses on, that doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten about Takao and the rest. They all make appearances, but are not really further developed. Rather, we explore Musashi’s backstory, which directly relates to Iona and Chihaya Gunzou’s past.
The naval battles fought in Cadenza are on a whole different level than the ones in the series. There are new weapons at play, brought along by the Student Council Fleet, which change the nature of how these battles are fought. Unfortunately, there are only three battles that take place. Fortunately, all three of them are fun, and quite a spectacle to watch. When it comes to the Student Council Fleet in battle, Ashigara steals the spotlight. But maybe that’s just me.
Now as for the story itself, it isn’t perfect. There’s things which occur that you just have to accept, plenty of conveniences, or things that are simply unexplained. While Cadenza answers the biggest questions you might have had while watching the series, it raises a few smaller ones. This isn’t a huge problem as most of these unanswered questions would add little to nothing to the story being told, anyway. The story has some very nice emotional high points, beautifully complemented by the music, which is something I always appreciate.
All in all, Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova Cadenza is a satisfactory conclusion to the series. It has fun battles, and as always, fun character interactions. The story has an underlying theme of what it means to exist, which was alluded to in the previous film and somewhat in the series. Music is used fantastically for the strong emotional moments, and in general is quite memorable. If you’ve watched the series and haven’t watched this movie yet, then you’re missing out.