So, love is here! War was stopped, in this one section, but as we learned earlier, war always continues elsewhere, because you merely move the fighters, rather than stop their reason for fighting. So, Michael, Maria, and Joseph, what will happen?
Thoughts and Notes:
1) For Whom?:
1) Michael is asking Maria if she’s now acting for her own happiness, rather than the world’s. But of course, the state of your surrounding, and those who live around you, also affect your own situation.
And now Maria is saying so – helping the world’s joy will help her find happiness, which is understandable – why is she doing this, stopping wars? Because it makes her happy. But if she’s saying she’ll find her own happiness in order to lend happiness to the world, then it feels flimsy, feels as if she could just ignore the world. She’d be an ant; yes, she’d affect things, but to a miniscule level, by her own happiness.
2) “It’s not just your problem, anymore.” – It’s not just her problem because they’re there, but they’re there because it’s not just her problem. How so? This is actually hinted at by “It doesn’t matter how many of you there are.” – To Michael, one person or twenty are all the same. To Michael, to the Church of the Heavens, there is no individuality. People are like ants, just like middle ages art often had no actual faces, no details to help distinguish people. Witches are those who chose to stand outside of the norm, to forge their own paths (and yet ended up in a group, because they’re still humans). They’re grouping against someone who would claim to tell them what they can or cannot do.
And, just as when they’d saved Maria from being burnt, does it matter which church it is? If they let one of their members fall down, it’d be their turn next.
3) The witches are now taking Joseph’s route, for which Maria chewed him out just prior to this scene (last episode), they’re going to fight to save Maria’s wish of no fights. They’re not here for Maria, they’re here to save her for their own needs, for their own happiness :P
2) By Whose Hand?:
1) Bernard is mirroring a witch’s words. On one hand, it shows that he sides with the witches, that he’s a heathen, of sorts. On the other, it shows what sets humans apart from angels, free will. Then again, that’s exactly what witches are utilizing, so which is it?
Which brings us back to “The Natural Law”. If the natural law is unchanging, then it doesn’t need to be “guarded”, as it’d reinforce itself. And if it must be protected, then perhaps it’s not the natural law, but an artificially imposed one by heaven?
2) Oh my, Bernard. Grouping in some Descartes, some Protestanism, and a bunch of other things all together. I could even see some Spinoza if I squint. Humans proving God, by proving humans’ lack of need for God. I can’t help but think of the movie Dogma, where if they’d succeed, they would indeed undo the existence of God and the angels as powers that dwell within the world, they would undo the fantastical, by telling the world it’s no longer needed for belief.
In a sense, Bernard is actually saving monotheism in the show’s world. Much of the Old Testament is about how the belief in God, unlike the idols of the heathens the Israelites fought against does not require the physical form, the constant reminders. Of course, there were plenty of occasions where God revealed himself. Likewise in this show, there’s no need for “belief”. Everyone knows God and the angels exist, because everyone can see them. Bernard is arguing that monotheistic belief is possible, and that you can believe, without those constant reminders. Of course, he wants to believe by logic, which is historically where faith broke down (Descartes’s moving of religion into the realm of Logic was the formal opening of the door to show it doesn’t work, logically. So long it remained within “faith” it was “My feeling versus yours”). So Bernard has admirable goals, of recreating real-world, post-revelations era Monotheism, doing what historically doomed the movement’s attempt at self-justification.
Of course, Christianity always straddled the line somewhat, what with an idol hanging in every temple. Then again, the symbolistic aspect is present in Judaism as well, though there it’s stressed to be symbolic (Passover is next week, if anyone needs an example).
3) Bending the Knee, Unbending the Soul:
1) Even Cernunnos’s voice. Michael, and the Heavens’ power is without limit.
2) Galfa was about to say, “Even the only friend I ever had.” And his, “We’ll go somewhere else” relates to what I said in my pre-amble – there’s no cessation of hostilities, just reallocation. Maria doesn’t like seeing fights in front of her, but there’ll still be fights everywhere else.
3) And here Bernard went the normal route of ideological fanatics, from, “You aren’t needed” to “You aren’t allowed to exist.” Oh my. At this point the question remains, what’s the purpose of Faith, to Bernard? He’s pushing forth this form of belief, but belief in what? Humanity, and to what end? Because he can’t see a world without belief, without the Church.
4) This hermit Joseph met who carries Michael’s will for a world with no conflict, this sure came out of nowhere… O.o
5) And this is the real thing Bernard fought against. In a world where God is made manifest, where an archangel maintains “The Natural Law”, why should people try to change the way things are? If this isn’t as things were meant to be, surely God and his angels would’ve intervened, right? You need to remove God’s influence for humans to take ownership, to change how things had “always been”.
6) Maria is living the teaching Bernard wishes to spread – she will live by her own will, for her own ideals, and not even the words of heaven will stop her. Bernard merely knows most will be stopped by the will of heaven. Because, well, it’s hard to argue about morality when you can point and say, “Morality exists, and this is what it says.” – Sure, we can say, “God is not the arbiter of morality,” but it’d require a serious redefinition of the concepts of “truth” :p
4) Passing Judgment:
1) Michael laughing felt off-character. It didn’t feel deserved, or “awesome”, it just felt… weird. Would rather have had God intervene earlier, or learn more about Michael’s wish for peace prior, to make this feel justified when it appeared.
2) “It seems you are becoming part of the natural law of this land.” – This is the definition of an oxymoron. The whole point about natural laws is that they don’t shift like so. Unless, of course, that’s part of the natural law, see my comment earlier about Dogma, and how if enough people bought into Bernard’s teaching, it’d erase the angels, and perhaps change God’s nature itself (also a paradox).
3) Bernard had seen God. His utmost wish was to see God in humans, and to not see God as God Himself made manifest, which is what he was shown. Seeing God killed him (as it did Lot’s wife), but hearing God’s Word through Michael all but did that either way.
4) “As one who has shown their own will, you can no longer serve Heaven.” – So, Michael chuckling was Michael. Stern-faced Michael is “just doing its job.”
5) Everyday Life, and The Virgin Birth Too!:
1) So, Joseph and Maria, and Maria, as yet a virgin, is going to become pregnant with a child by the will of Heaven, a new Jesus to lead the world to harmony! Hahaha! I joked just last week that it’d go that way, never thinking it would :D
It’s true, Maria the Virgin Witch is pulling a Dogma on us!
2) Maria, having to decide between defying Heaven (who saw this will happen, obviously), and her friend. Come on Maria, will you choose yourself over your friends? Didn’t you sacrifice yourself for your friends with Martha already? Then again, this is what Maria was always about, what Michael had told her early on, that she’s pushing her own ideals at the sake of others’. Yes, she helped her neighbours, but what of her neighbouring marauding, pillaging, bandits? ;-)
3) Hm, so will Ezekiel only come once Maria gets pregnant “the normal way”? If so, didn’t Maria plan to settle down with Joseph and to keep on fighting even without powers? Didn’t she say that? Guess she did, but she didn’t want it to be by another’s will, rather than her own. Yes, she’d say she’s against her own plan, just because it’s forced on her. Very human.
4) “So you will join your life with those who pass fleetingly through time?” – Yeah, the witches kept talking of “humans”, and deal with “The Ancients”, but are they immortal? We’ve only seen young witches, but is it because they remain young indefinitely, or because old witches go on to becoming something else, or perhaps because Michael gets them? :P
5) Cernunnos gives us a hint to what may be the Natural Law – “All living things affect one another.” So Maria naturally is more of the Natural Law if she’s allowed to exist, and the more things one affects, the bigger your part in the Law. So, why was she in opposition to the Natural Law before? Because she did so in a way that put her ahead of others, and was unwilling to change herself? Because she did not pay heed, did not respect, the way things are? I dunno, it sort of breaks down if you try to make it make sense throughout the show entire, rather than only address it the way it’s been used last.
Shorter Notes / Asides:
- “There’s no need for you to die here, after finally getting a boyfriend.” – This show is pushing the “witches as old spinsters” trope.
- I guess all those monster-gods are the ones Maria summoned last week, hidden by the white light.
- Maria in her plain-clothed outfit looks so much like someone from a different show, from a Ghibli setting.
- Little Witch on the Prairie :P
- Showing us the dancing owls instead of the dancing townsfolk, animation-saving, people!
- Wait, Ann, come back! What about reborn Ezekiel-Jesus?! :<
Post Episode / Show Thoughts:
Last episode felt very “season finale”, but thankfully, this episode didn’t feel like a tacked on ending, or like a series of endings. Yes, Maria going to the village may not have felt as smooth as everything else, and the hermit with his “Eternal Peace by God’s decree”, combined with Michael’s chuckle all mostly felt like they came out of nowhere, which made this episode, and the show, feel somewhat disjointed, but what was there was not only meaty, but felt good enough. It definitely had something to say.
Before we proceed further, I want to discuss two “villains”, Galfa and Bernard. I was going to say that Galfa didn’t get his ending, that he was enough of a character that we deserve to know what happened to him. But we do. Galfa went somewhere else, kept soldiering, and kept trying to progress, where he wouldn’t be stopped.
Bernard was very similar to Galfa. Both of them stood up for what they believed in, crushing other people, crushing societies, under foot, for the sake of their glory, for the sake of their glory as people. Who else in the show is the same way? The witches, and especially Maria, who looks out for their dreams, their ideals, before those of others, including those who belong to the same “group” as they (other witches, mercenaries, or the church).
Those three characters reflect one another, in their unbending manner. It’s just that one was forgiven by Heaven, one was not, and one has no real interest in Heaven either way.
Those three are the heroes of the show. Yes, all three. So which characters would be the show’s “true villains”, the one going against the show’s message, the ones who are “wrong”? Before I go further, to clarify again, Galfa and Bernard are antagonists, they’re just like Maria, but they present obstacles to her. The “villains” present obstacles to everyone, while going against the show’s themes, and not really being “people”.
Just like our heroes, we have three of them. Michael, who is the embodiment of being content to do another’s bidding, to be another’s voice. Le Comte, who will bend his knee and lie to get his way, but not like Galfa, not out of faith, not by thinking about it, just because it’s his nature, and he’ll change said nature of it’d be required of him, and Gilbert, who is somewhere in between, who makes an attempt to understand, but in the end is a champion of the status quo.
What was this show about? It was about being true to yourself, it’s about making peace with the world, and knowing when to not make peace. It’s about striking a balance. We can’t live for the future, but we don’t have live for the past.
Yes, the show sometimes was a mess, in terms of ideas brought about, or what it did with said ideas, but the main message rang loud and clear. I do wish it were better animated, though. The jokes, I remember when we all expected this to be a lewd comedy. It wasn’t, and I can’t say I’m sad about that, even if Priapus’s “situation” is another one of those threads never resolved :P 7.7/10. A fine show, a good show, even if not always clear about everything, it was clear about enough.