‘Change can be difficult, but it’s how we grow. It can be the hardest thing to realise you can’t hold onto something forever. Sometimes, you have to let it go. But of the things you let go, you’d be surprised what makes its way back to you.’
Anne Boonchuy’s narration in the final moments of Amphibia’s last episode is a heartfelt distillation of everything the show stands for. It’s a thematic journey of growth, one that isn’t afraid to explore the consequences of responsibility and having to face the inevitable truth of leaving those you love behind as you move forward. Times change, friends leave, and life doesn’t stop for anybody. Coming to terms with that ultimatum is a mantra that Amphibia is never once afraid to solidify. We knew this farewell was coming, but it still hurt.
Yet it also felt like the only possible ending this show could have had, especially when it comes to the three main characters. Anne Boonchuy, Marcy Wu, and Sasha Waybright – otherwise known as the Calamity Trio – are heroines each with their own trials and tribulations to confront both in the fantasy world of Amphibia and back home on Earth. Anne is struggling with her own personal worth and maturity, Sasha is dealing with the lack of personal control that comes with divorce, while Marcy will soon be torn away from friends as her family situation changes. Even as teenagers, things are far from easy.
Ever since the first season it’s been clear this escape to a new world isn’t just a physical change, but a mental distraction from whatever awaits them when the curtain falls. Magical adventures can’t last forever no matter how much we want them to, and engrossing ourselves further in newfound friendships and surreal quests is often much nicer than facing reality. It’s a parallel to real experiences, where school friends grow distant as life takes over, and we eventually go our separate ways. But as Anne says, you’d be surprised how lasting such bonds can be, and how those who love us for who we are will come back into our lives whether we realise it or not. The future is a scary, unknowing well of possibilities and confronting how the present will slowly fade away into little more than memories is an existential idea to contemplate, but Amphibia explores that abstract concept so beautifully.
The final episode is a whirlwind of hesitant farewells, set to the backdrop of a spectacular anime-esque space battle against The Core filled with magical powers and epic explosions. It’s the massive conclusion we’ve all been waiting for, and seeing the Calamity Trio finally adopt their collective powers to save the day is almost sobering in its execution. An instrumental rendition of ‘It’s No Big Deal’ rings out as our heroes take turns dishing out special moves like they’re living a distant anime protagonist fantasy. It’s a last hurrah for all three of them, quirkier aspects of their individual personalities shining through in fantastic moments where it becomes clear the day is won. Anne adopts the powers of her friends and sacrifices herself in one final attack, mirroring Gunbuster and Pokemon: The First Movie in how she puts her life on the line in order to make things right. It’s the perfect conclusion to her character arc, starting as a spoiled girl with no consideration for others and ending as someone who is willing to throw away their own existence to save everyone she loves.
She is resurrected – it’s Amphibia after all – but the impact still connects because we see how her friends and family react to such a loss. Things won’t be the same without Anne, with a broken trio where they can’t part ways into an unknown future together, even if coming circumstances will inevitably splinter them apart. After five months being separated and fighting their own battles both personal and physical, our ensemble is able to end their time in Amphibia on their own terms. Goodbyes to Hop Pop, Sprig, Polly, Captain Grime, Olivia, Yunan, and even Andreas are all downright poignant in their finality. There is no way of returning to Amphibia when the portal closes, so the tears being shed feel real, like all those involved are saying goodbye to parts of themselves that will never be the same again. Like I said earlier, we knew all this was coming, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
They will never see each other again, and it would have been so easy to pull a last minute plot twist and conjure up a permanent portal between worlds, but that undermines everything Amphibia has spent years trying to say. Anne’s journey away from home is a temporary one, and the decisions that brought her there push her relationship with Marcy and Sasha to their highest possible limits while she’s put through countless situations that allow her to grow, mature, and become a better person to herself and her family. Leaving that behind is a fundamental part of this growth being cemented, and without it she’d risk relying on old habits, or refusing to move on from a period in her life that needs to end in order for new things to begin. There comes a time to say goodbye to everything, no matter how hard it might seem to face the music. The Calamity Trio does, and are so much better for it.
Steps are taken through the portal, it closes, and we’re left to ruminate upon the aftermath we never get to see. While it’s clichéd to do a flash forward into the future to see how all our characters change, once again its integral to Amphibia’s core themes in a way that makes it feel utterly perfect. We see Sprig following in Anne’s footsteps as he becomes an adventurer eager to see different continents, perhaps one day hoping to find another portal capable of reconnecting with his best friend. Polly has legs, arms, hair, and a sick outfit now, while Hop Pop is somehow still alive. Old man is unstoppable it seems. Olivia and Yunan are also canon gay newts now, with Marcy’s vulnerability allowing them to ignite a romance that was there all along. Everyone has grown, made better by their time with our trio of heroines.
The final smattering of scenes takes us ten years into the future. Anne, Sasha and Marcy are now all grown up. Yet nothing could tear their bond apart even as they meet new friends, chase different careers, and don't see one another for so, so long. But when they do it all falls into place, almost like they’ve never once been apart. That’s what true friends are like. You laugh, argue, fight, and change for better or worse. Love perseveres through all of that.
Anne is a herpetologist, her warmth for Amphibia enduring as it becomes a professional occupation. I imagine it’s not only a skill, but a way to treasure her memories of those she left behind while never once forgetting that life goes on. Marcy is a popular webcomic artist, continuing to embrace her nerdier side and creating her own otherworldly adventures after drawing so much inspiration from real events. Sasha is a chaotic bisexual with a cool car and even cooler job, although her rebellious side is clearly matched with a softer disposition that matured and began to understand how important this trio is to all three of them.
Sasha and Marcy stepping into the aquarium with Anne’s birthday present in hand, watching as she bursts into tears and runs up to them for a tight embrace warmed my heart. We don’t hear the conversations that follow, or if future plans are made in the wake of this reunion, but we absolutely don’t need to. Amphibia did such a perfect job developing the Calamity Trio into a group of strong, distinct female characters that we can root for and empathise with, and this silent conclusion is a poetic ending that showcases how far they’ve come.
I’ll miss them, but to see them walk off into the sunset with such assured confidence and a realistic portrayal of happiness is the greatest farewell I could have asked for. Thanks for everything, Amphibia.
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