Or rather the tacked on bit after what should have been the ending?
I've finished Ni No Kuni. The credits have rolled and now I am free to do all those post game bounty hunts and errands that I am not going to do because I don't like this game. But I did. I did up until a point. I'm not here to talk about why I think this game is not very good. Instead I want to talk about the ending.
Did anyone else feel that the whole Cassiopeia stuff seemed a little bit tacked on? I can't be the only one, right? (Yes, yes, I know I just used the most annoying thing on forums, but forgive me.) Here's why. The entire point of the game as Oliver knows it is to stop Shadaar from breaking hearts and generally being an evil asshole. He starts telling people that he is out to defeat Shadaar, conveniently leaving his mother business out of it. For the entire game Shadaar is the one directly responsible for all of the bad shit going down and even attempts to stop you at multiple points. We, as the player, know that there is some White Witch watching events and commenting on them, but Oliver doesn't. And outside of the part at the start we never really see the Witch do anything other than plot with the Zodiarchs. It is Shadaar who is the target. It is he who is the main antagonist.
So when you finally confront him, the major plot bomb is dropped. You fight him complete with JRPG cliche three boss forms. You win. You have literally, as far as you know, saved the entire world and come to terms with the whole dead mother thing. There is a Ghibli scene of the characters running in a field because they are so stoked that the world is saved. I almost believed it was the end of it.
But then the game kept going.
Suddenly, like 40 hours into the game, they introduce the White Witch. Because they remembered the subtitle of the game. Now they spend time rushing through shoddy motivations for the titular character in a bad attempt to make the player (and thus Oliver) care enough to fight her and thwart her vague evil plot. In what can only be described as an annoying boss rush (seriously, they all regain their health. I took one of them down to zero health but the fight didn't end because he HAD to get his second form on) you are given this rushed story about Pea and Cassiopeia. Oh, yes, and Marcassin decides to tag along because everyone wants another party member mere hours before the end of the game when you've no doubt got your end-game team ready to go.
The entire end chapter with Pea and Cassiopeia just feels like something tossed in because the White Witch had yet to factor into the story. It completely ruined what little narrative hook the game had. The Witch was not an effective antagonist because she was essentially like Ultimecia or Necron or Zeromus. The only difference is that they at least tried to give her a reason for showing up instead of shoving that crap in a book. The entire part of the game post-Shadaar could've been nixed and the story would have been far better for it. Am I wrong here? I just think the way they introduced the secondary, yet titular, antagonist was handled poorly. And the way they say Cassiopeia didn't help.
The real kicker is that after beating the final boss what happens? Oh just a few lines of dialog and an in-engine clip of the party members on the dragon. No Ghibli stuff. No real sense of resolution. Because you already had all that three hours ago when you beat the real final boss of the game.
A better subtitle for the game would be Dream of the Dark Djinn. It keeps the structure of the current title and actually makes sense within the narrative in the game.
Ni no Kuni has its flaws, but the biggest one is its shit ending.