The last episode of Kiniro Mosaic made the series a rather interesting subject on the topic of adaptation. The series has been very much a 4-koma adaptation in nature with the start and end being anything but. In the process, there were 3 very different stories told throughout the course of the series; daily life as fantasy, daily life and pure fantasy. The separate parts are well enough constructed that they can be completely isolated from each other in my view, but its really the ending which grabbed my attention.
The series proper is conveniently positioned between the first playing of the opening theme and the final playing of the ending theme which left 12 minutes in this week’s finale to do something entirely different. On the face of it, it was simply a musical scene which used all of the built up characteristics of each of the characters to tell a story of a girl’s adventure with pirates and her friends. In my opinion it was much more than that.
The story actually begins with a thinly veiled criticism of Sword Art Online of all things. Karen begins by reading a mystery manga on the cover of which are two characters. One is clearly Kirito with an eyepatch and the other of Silica wearing Asuna’s clothing. The logical thing Karen does next is go to school very much looking like Rikka from Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! You see, Sword Art Online is very much an adolescent delusion of a story.
The conversation between the group then turns to the topic of classic literature. Alice had been reading it, but the key point is when Shinobu tries to read it. It quickly becomes apparently that she finds the story incredibly boring before even reading a single line aloud. Simply because this particular book is still around and able to be read over 600 years later does not mean that it is an interesting story for a modern reader.
The group eventually settles on having to tell a story that is a combination of the two. Something that is about people they know and has little resemblance to reality. So we get Shinobu’s musical tale of herself with blonde hair, encountering the pirate Karen, a mermaid Aya, Yoko who was once saved by Aya, Karasuma-sensei as a ship’s captain and Isami as the undersea witch. Alice sort of disappears from the story, but that doesn’t matter. Shinobu had created a story using characters that were familiar to an audience of fellow high school students that was enough of a fantasy to captivate the hearts of her fellow students.
I think that’s a larger point that largely gets ignored from that ending. Yes, it’s completely off-script as far as the adaptation is concerned, but that’s made clear to anyone who paid attention to the entire series. It is just like how the first episode may have been tangentially related to a single strip in the manga and they went ahead and put in the on-location research needed to make that episode entertaining. Ultimately, it really shouldn’t matter how faithful something is to the source material as long as it entertains. Karen’s botched chuunibyou getup and Shinobu’s boredom at classics are 2 totally different things, but the former had more of an impact on the viewer. So what I’m really trying to say is that the 2nd half of the episode justified its inclusion by trying to entertain its audience and willfully acknowledged that it was completely original.