(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, but up to a couple every week will have their write-up appear on the main page, when I think they warrant it. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)
This show isn’t the show that I’m enjoying the most this season, but is definitely the one that intrigues me the most and that I find the most impressive this season, by a large margin. Third episode was so similar to the third episode of Gatchaman Crowds, and I sure do love me some Gatchaman Crowds – and in case you hadn’t heard, aside from the 2nd season, a movie had been announced as well.
Anyway, what will this episode bring forth? Considering that the themes and behaviour carries over, but that each episode thus far is pretty episodic, I can’t say. So let us observe, world conquerors in their natural habitat.
Thoughts and Notes:
Act 1, Part 1: Home (Sanity):
1) Plamya is so cute when she’s sleeping with her Kate doll :3 Talk about “Leader worship” :P
2) Kate’s room is the only one devoid of anything but her bed, which looks somewhat gothic, menacing, and somewhat like a crib.
3) Luda, a good Russian name. Interesting, even as a wee child, Natasha wasn’t very big on emotions. Her room was more than mildly disturbing, all those toys and dolls, you could think of them as half-built, as being constructed, but to me they were all half-dismantled. They made me remember Sid from Toy Story 1. They all looked so cold, forlorn, and unwholesome.
The story as well, it’s about warming someone’s frozen heart. Plamya speaks her love for Kate even in her sleep, for she is fire. Natasha is ice.
4) Look at the tiny dictator, giving people chores. Look at their expressions, all saying “Can’t be bothered”(That’s such a great expression by Plamya). I mean, you just go to the supermarket and buy it, but silly Asuta asked, and now he has to go to the basement. Doesn’t sound too menacing, right? But he’s been told this house is weird when he was invited in. Well, I dunno, it’s just a basement. And Roboko, stop playing along with Kate’s edicts :P
Act 1, Part 2: Udo (Insanity):
1) Udo reactor, udo fusion… No, I, erm, I’ve got nothing.
2) LOL – it just so happens that Natasha has a Quantum Interference Scanner that can help them find the “Udo Parent Root”, and it looks like something out of Digger. By the by, level 24? Holy shit that is hardcore. We’d rarely get to 3rd stage when we played in my high school’s computer lab.
More to the point, “All Udo is connected at the quantum level, what affects one will affect the rest.” – This continues what I keep saying about this show – all these acts of symbolism, all these acts of Chaos Magic, it’s called “Sympathy”, or “Contagion”, which is the logic behind voodoo dolls – you affect one thing, and it affects what it’s related to.
3) Of course, the main Udo root is under Udogawa.
4) This screenshot and the accompanying gif will surely accompany us for many years to come – “What did you say?!” – I mean, seriously you guys, if the Udo survives for twelve thousand years, and lives underground, what else could be there but the ancient Udo civilization? Why did you even ask?
Act 2: Natasha’s Past:
1) Here’s an interesting thought – Natasha ridicules anything that isn’t science, and doesn’t believe in fairies.Doesn’t she look like a magician to you? Then again, suitably advanced science is indistinguishable from magic and all of that.
2) Asuta throws Natsha’s words from her past back at her, “Fairies don’t exist,” and look how sadness emanates from her as a result. We can’t escape our past, and the things we’ve said.
3) Back in the first episode I commented on Kate’s toy, how it’s at once innocent looking, but also more than a tad unsettling and scary. Taking a toy and making it a tad wrong can be much more worrying than taking something already bothersome and making it more so. It feels insidious, it is subversive. And that’s Natsha’s childhood, and probably the origin of Kate’s doll. A world where the monsters are cute, and the toys are scary. A world where the child leads, and the adults follow.
4) Natasha’s story is quite interesting. First, we have an unpleasant memory associated with the scent of cigarettes, and scent is a very powerful tool for evoking memories, as a partial explanation for her hatred of cigarette smoke. Furthermore, the tale of parents taking their child to a dark and forbidding place and abandoning them is a very fairy tale thing. Which ties into the story Natasha’s mother had told her, and the whole concept of fairies.
5) Wow, this story has a lot of holes. How did Kate save your life? Who made Roboko? What/who is Roboko? I mean, you’re the mecha-builder, and your parents are scientists… Also, Natasha has a point – Kate collects those who ran away from home, the whole setup of their world is somewhere between a dream and a fairy tale. A home where children who ran away gather, and get to go on adventures and be free. You know what they call that story? Peter Pan.
Interlude: Is Kate God?!
1) Decisive leader! No matter what happens, she knows what’s up! You know, it just hit me, what it reminds me of. Most characters when unexpected things happen seek out to find out just what happened, right? You need to be all knowing to be so sure, all knowing in the way only an author can be. She reminds me of Rikka, from Chuunibyou. No matter what happens, she creates an answer for it, she weaves it into her dream-world. There are books where authors appear, and they are God, for they appear in the world they write, such as Sophie’s World, or Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions. There’s also at least one famous anime series where a main character is God in this way.
So, is Kate delusional, and they’re just playing along, or is she God? Of course, we’ve seen the prologue of episode 1, which if it’s been told literally throws all of this up into the air. Quite an interesting situation we’ve got here. Unless she’s just omniscient, somehow.
2) Jimon Asuta, the audience stand-in, the sane man amidst the craziness! And not just your random stand-in, he’s my stand-in, repeating my words almost verbatim. Interesting though, that this “smoke” entity is again, smoke, and also somewhat similar to what Natasha remembered from her childhood.
Act 3: Escaping the Past, Embracing the Future:
1) Ah, makes sense. So it is the manifestation of human fear. To Kate, it’s cigarette smoke, to Asuta it’s the uncertainty of the future (I just made that up, right now, be impressed!) and to Natasha it’s the mechas of her childhood. She professed to love them, so why are they the embodiment of fear? Because she hadbeen alone back then, and they symbolize her isolation, and her past, and she likes her present quite a bit. Taken a step further, they were constructed to creep out others, so they are a manifestation of fear.
2) So, is it the manifestation of fear, or of one’s past? Is there truly a difference? But this shot is all about Natasha rejecting her past, who she used to be.
And this shot is about how the past makes you a child again, how the past renders you helpless. The past won’t let you escape its clutches.
Roboko is a futuristic mecha, it makes sense that she’s the symbol of rejecting one’s past, and embracing the future.
3) “Expel those ghosts from the pasts, Roboko!” – That’s a metaphor for rejecting superstition, as a holdover from the past.
4) You see this shot? Think of what we’ve been told. Kate said we’re going to make the plant [Beep], and she said this is a story to rival the genesis stories of old. Here we have a boy and a girl, or a man and a woman, engage in the symbolic act of procreation, of bringing life to the world, of starting things anew. The symbolism in this shot is staggering. They may not be procreating themselves, but they’re literally helping procreation, and they’re symbolically involved.
Back Home, Long Day at the Play(ground):
1) LOL at the end of the episode, the discovery she could’ve eaten the cooked Udo to begin with but is just spoiled. That’s how so many cartoons were to end, after an episode. BUT, and in the case of this episode it’s especially meaningful, considering how everything is played straight, the journey is much more important than the goal. The journey into Natasha’s past, which is buried deep inside her, and that’s what it’s all about. We’ve unthawed the frozen heart, in this journey. We’re fairies now.
2) Great shot – Kate knows, and accepts. Natasha is touched, because the one who is an adult to her told her it’s all fine, the one who is her friend told her that she accepts her. Go future, goodbye past, we’re leaving you behind, down in the chute.
3) Aww, child Kate so cute! Yes, she’s still a child, you know what I mean! :P
4) “Please forgive me!” – “You vermin!” – Classic tsundere moment. Also, Kate, “We almost died when our stuff came up” sounds so horribly wrong :O
“When no one else supports you, you know you’re doing something worthwhile.” – And Yasu continues with his delusional monologues during the post-ED section. For those who don’t understand, those things sold bearing the name “Ancient West Udogawa Culture”? That’s Pepel and Plamya, heh.
Post Episode Thoughts:
So this was Natasha’s episode. I’d say we’ve taken a brief break from the plot, but all the episodes had been episodic, and it seems the author had intended them to be so from the get-go.
But, the main theme continues. The theme is currently one about finding your place in the world, of finding people you care for and who care for you. Abandon your past, and embrace your future. It’s even fine being alone, so long you’re not lonely.
This is a home for misfits who ran away, but together, it’s home, and Kate is their heart.
On the other thematic thread, the concept of “everything’s related” and symbolic acts as reverberating through the world, we still keep at it. The Udo Parent Root and its children, and Kate and Asuta starting a new world together, by becoming one.
Return to the Sekai Seifuku – Zvezda / World Conquest Episodic Notes page.