(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.)
The last two episodes had been build-up. The episode before last was the thematic build-up, so to speak, the fan-service, giving us all the themes and gags we were expecting. Last episode actually brought us back to Satsuki’s theme of “Pigs in human clothings” and Ragyou’s meta-theme of biblical references, and servitude as power (which contrasts and compares nicely with Satsuki).
Also, this is a show where everyone is a shounen hero. Ragyou now has had her power-up again, the second since being betrayed by Satsuki.
Time for the final fight. I expect much to be a spectacle, we’ll see how much goes beyond :)
Thoughts and Notes:
1) The Spirit of Man: (The War of the Worlds Musical reference, check it out)
1) Hundred Men Assault – Sanageyama had always been a gang-leader. Though he, like the other members of the Elite Four are all powerhouses on their own, they are also leaders, they also know the power of working together. Note this shape, he can only get as high as he is because he stands on the shoulders of his comrades (yes, I’m paraphrasing Isaac Newton here). But, some could also consider this a reference to the Tower of Babel, the conceit of thinking you could stand against God.
2) “Absolute Domination,” sounded as if we’ve had “Fukutchu” in there, something similar to “seifuku”, at least in part. So, they’re powerless, eh? Well, not quite. They now have to rely on their own power, and we’ve seen Ryuuko already call it out. Time to go Nudist!
3) Poor Nudists, their souls combined and they had been immediately been swept aside :(
4) The power of the fake! Turn your weakness into your strength! Very shounen, a call out to human spirit.
2) Ragyou’s Family. Putting Humans in their Place:
1) Around main-villain Ragyou, Nui is like a sycophant aide; she’s the Igor to her Dr. Frankenstein. Well, Nui’s real goal is to egg people on, to sew strife, so I guess it makes sense. She’s a petty being, one who is given validation by Ragyou, and by others having feelings for her – feelings of hatred. Harime Nui is a troll, in other words.
2) Wow, this shot is beautiful.A godling holding a human by the throat, as someone else sits and watches, in the ruins of the world, as the world is being destroyed in order to get recreated anew. This shot reminds me of pieces of fantasy art by Brom and others from the 80s and 90s, all the Heavy Metal art, the Dark Sun art, etc.
It is also a very classic “Great Evil Masterplan” in anime, where “everyone is united”, whereas those who champion humanity fight for individuality. Makes you wonder, is this about anime trying to fight against the somewhat monolithic and tribal nature of Japan, where you shouldn’t buck the trends, and where being an otaku already is? Some would argue otaku are also quite monolithic and a crowd, though. Just an idle thought…
3) Dirty mama going after her third daughter. They are joined, body and spirit. Now we have two pairs of not entirely human or clothes, both Ryuuko and Senketsu, and Nui and Ragyou (plus the original life fiber). Satsuki feels left out.
3) Ryuuko’s Theme, From Revenge to Rebellion:
1) “Fashion Week Senketsu!” – But also “Fascism Week” – Everyone lends their power to the leader, the leader is the face of everyone. Together, for one. I truly expected we’d have Ryuuko fully clothed, as we assumed she’d be early on when Senketsu took the life-fiber threads from vanquished enemies. Like Ragyou had been. But nope, minimal coverage still. Satsuki needed it to not be overtaken, but it didn’t feel like Ryuuko and Senketsu needed it. Oh well.
2) Ragyou and nihilism, “All that is in the universe will one day cease to be, so we’re just going along with it!” – What nonsense. You’re killing things, but only in order to spread your own existence. You fear perishing, so you create more colonies of yourself. Bringing about the end? You might hasten it, by trying to run away from it.
3) Ryuuko has the power to absorb life fibers, I think she should try and absorb the life-fibers trying to take over the world, myself.
Well, at least the “Absorption of other life fibers” throughout the series had been given some meaning. Revolution, through taking over the old establishment. Revolution, which means staying in place.
4) Ryuuko speechifies. Almost reminds one of early Satsuki on her podium. “Humans are humans, and clothes are clothes!” – Tautologies, but I feel like she’s saying, “Each should be what they are and not aim for the other’s position. Can’t we all just get along?”
Also, as a counterpoint to the early Satsuki speeches – no “Pigs in men’s clothing,” but humans, who happen to be wearing clothes. Humans are humans, regardless of the clothes they wear. They aren’t pigs, and if they are, clothes will not transform them.
5) Godlings, looking down upon the world. Usually when we see scenes such as these, it’s metaphorical, seeing the world beneath them, rather than literal.
1) “Sailor uniforms are made to be grown out of.” – A coming of age story. To see for yourself, to prove to the world who you are. To forge yourself. That is what childhood is for, and then when we have our selves, we abandon our childhood behind. Is this what they’re going for? We never truly abandon the past. But hey, that’s the theme. Ryuuko’s theme had been one of revenge, she had been motivated by her past all along, it had been manipulating her. Senketsu is telling her to abandon the past, and grasp the future.
2) The first ED as we’re coming to a close, one that grew on me. I found Satsuki crying and running to save Ryuuko a bit odd and amusing, but I did like the Ryuuko and Senketsu farewell bit.
3) Humanity, a naked pile of apes, but, still humans. Still together.
4) “Cleaning this mess is our job as adults.” – It’s children’s job to grow into adults, and then adults’ job to clean after the mess that bursting out of the cocoons creates. Children create messes as they become adults, and then clean up the messes of those that follow? Well, that might be the regular order of the world, which this series had restored, where adults created a mess, and the children had to clean up after them, and in so doing became adults – will they clean up, or create messes of their own? Ah, humans :)
Mako, Gamagoori, and the Sexual Innuendo:
- “Whoa! It’s a huge rubber barrier!” – Leave it to Mako to comment it looks and acts like a condom :P
- “I need to go to the toilet!” – Mako is an inexhaustible source of expression faces.
- Gamagoori is the rock, Gamagoori is the shield. Not just Satsuki’s, but Mako’s as well. His source of power is about suffering, for the sake of others. Gamgoori x Mako forever.
- Gamagoori, no! Mako ;_; – Mako is the spirit of humanity. I will not be surprised if she’ll now turn into a super major badass, having been pushed into an emotional corner.
- So… Gamagoori’s ego burst through the condom, right? So no condom can withhold Gamagoori Ira? :<…and he shoots forth white light that imprints himself on the target ;-)
Shorter Notes / Asides:
- The original life fiber, a river of blood (NGE anyone?), or the red weeds of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. Very Martian.
- Yup, still half an episode to go, time for our final final form!
- We Gurren Lagann now, going beyond earth!
- Maleficient Ragyou, mark 2! The Devil is here, to take your human heart.
- M-mother, you’re s-splitting me in half!
- Haircut Satsuki reminds me somewhat of young Ragyou. Not a huge fan, personally ;-)
- Plain-clothes Ryuuko remembers Senketsu, I might have gotten something in my eye here.
And Ryuuko’s shirt reminds us of Gurren Lagann once more, as the season ends.
Post Episode / Show Thoughts:
First, let us speak of the final episode, because it’s still an episode that merits discussion, right? I liked it. We’ve had another transformation, we’ve had a thematic sense behind the fight. Up until now Ryuuko was all about revenge, and Satsuki about rebellion, about revolution. Now, Ryuuko had always been the rebellious one, hadn’t she? And so, this episode, carrying her sister’s spirit, she had been the champion of the rebellion, the champion of standing up to one’s parents.
We also had plenty of thematic threads finally woven together, with some sense being injected into Senketsu’s absorption of life threads up until now. But still, this wasn’t a super theme-heavy episode, I suspect last episode did more work on that front, this was mostly a spectacle-based episode, with moves and counter-moves, final forms, being beaten and returning stronger, or at least more determined than before. Every character who matters got some screentime, even if it was only for a second, as was the case with the butler.
It was a pretty episode, and it was fun.
And that is also how I generally feel about the show. I might still want to do a write-up or two about the show, perhaps about the nature of subservience, of power through meekness, of being the ultimate being. There had been quite a few themes brought up in this show, but unlike Gatchaman Crowds, it didn’t really feel as all of them were truly there to have you think of them. If anything, it was closer to NGE’s usage of Judeo-Christian symbolism, of getting your mind to latch onto something while the rest of the show occurs.
It was a fun show, and it did its role as a spectacle well. Animation? There wasn’t much of it, but the sound and visual design had been top-notch. The pacing was somewhat slow at bits, but I actually liked those theme-heavy episodes, the one that had set up all the characters as characters we care for, rather than just window-dressing, more than most episodes (think of the Natural Elections episodes).
I guess we must all compare it to Gurren Lagann, right? That show was more fun, “cooler”, and made one’s Determinator Shounen blood boil more. But being “worse than Gurren Lagann” isn’t a very big issue, right?
I give this show 7.6/10. It was fun, it was enjoyable, it also had some symbols which even if not used very well, had been a lot of fun to try and make sense of (and I watch shows for my enjoyment). It had a couple of themes it explored reasonably well, or at least brought up consistently and from multiple angles.
Well, until next time :)