February 20th, 2015.
The Screen Behind the Mirror:
I’d talk of what I expect from the episode to come, but I never know with this show, so let’s just dive straight in.
Thoughts and Notes:
1) The Three Laws of Robotics, err, Arbiters:
1) So, are the dolls in Quindecim the ones who become the arbiters? Does Decim keep them there as a form of memento mori? Or are they dolls as we all are, caught by strings we cannot escape? Which again, would make Decim his own piece of symbolism.
2) Also, can’t die, and can’t stop making judgments, there’s no escape. Never.
3) This brings us to the final piece of what was said, that they have no emotions. And yet, Nona was quite unhappy with Decim for giving bad judgment because he didn’t understand emotions, meaning she did have some. Can you understand emotions without having some of your own? When you understand others’, does it not mean you developed your own? Not necessarily, sometimes that’s exactly what sociopaths are about.
4) Also, here’s something hidden in the Buddha’s words – “Arbiters can’t… that’d make them too similar to humans.” – But, it doesn’t mean they literally can’t, as beings, but can’t as Arbiters. Meaning they might be able to develop feelings, and then they’d be humans, who could die, and thus quit their jobs, because having developed feelings, they are no longer arbiters, to whom these rules apply.
5) P.S. Does it mean “Onna” is to a degree an Arbiter now? Cause she is, in terms of her role, though she’s not the one making the decision.
Ok, that’s enough for the few short sentences before the OP, moving on.
2) Reminiscing in the Land of the Memory-less:
1) Hm, haven’t we heard Quin’s voice, as the one who ordered the memories, in episode 2?
2) “I’m in charge of this tower, after all.” – Makes you wonder how many towers there are, and whether there’s more than one Buddha as well, the one who’s closest to God.
3) Also, “Starting tomorrow, you’ll be Decim.” – Truly, a doll to be dressed as one wishes, even with an identity.
4) So Ginti and Decim are effectively classmates, who started their positions at the same point.
5) To Ginti, it’s not his kind that are the dolls, but humans, which he gets to jerk around and laugh as they fall on top of one another, and fall to pieces.
6) Bringing out the darkness might make them easier to judge, but it does not tell you what they are thinking, as the “mother” in episode 4 told Decim. It shows one slice, while obfuscating a dozen more.
3) Feelings in the Land of the Dolls:
1) “Find something you treasure, no matter what.” – Dangerous advice. What some people treasure is very much incompatible with others’ well-being. Also, leads to tribalism.
2) “Is it your hobby? Do you like it?” – And Decim doesn’t know what she means, but he “treasures” it. It’s truly like talking to a child, who’s using all the same words as everyone else, but doesn’t know what they’re truly referring to.
3) “I think people are dying too fast.” – She means she has too much work, not that she cares about the rate people are dying. Had she had more people to share her workload, she’d be peachy.
4) Implanting human emotions in arbiters, without ol’ Buddha finding out, with his creepy eyes that see the world at his table? Hm. Makes you wonder if the arbitration is what implants them, in the end, and what’s the end goal, but we see the shadow of something larger looming in the distance.
5) “Afterwards, the guests’ bodies are returned to being dolls.” – Are humans merely dolls, or do they simply infuse the guests’ soul into dolls, because they can’t really give their souls bodies, here?
4) Frustration Borne from Self-Reflection:
1) So, Ginti failed to pass judgment as well, and now he’s stuck with that annoying girl, sans her memories. Ginti and Decim, one fiery and the other cold, but two peas from the same pod.
2) “Why do none of you ever understand yourselves?” – A human question, that can only be asked by a non-human, of a human, hee hee.
3) Ginti hates feeling so similar to Decim, feeling like a failure, failing in the way he denigrated someone recently for.
4) “Because if we didn’t forget, we couldn’t go on, being arbiters.” – Memory is the root of emotions, because it is the root of self. How can one gain experience as an arbiter, if one loses the memories one needs in order to gain said experience? A conundrum. And Decim seems the epitome of “mechanically”, yet here we see, there’s something different behind those blank eyes.
5) “I beg your pardon, it is terribly delicious.” – Haha. “Ha ha ha,” said the robot.
5) The Shadow of the Shape of Things to Come:
1) And Nona is too old to think this was just about a pool match. Too old by half. But see the similarity, it seems part of her reason for desiring an emotions-driven arbiter is curiosity, to see the judgment, for eternity weighs on her.
2) “Marked”, which require a “special arbiter”, next episode will be interesting, eh? Well, they’ve all been pretty interesting, so it’s fine :)
Also, that woman has a sabertusk tiger skull on her head, does it mark how long she’s been at it? Hm.
3) “We’re not running out of time, we’ve never had time to begin with.”
Shorter Notes / Asides:
- Where do the afterlife’s bartenders go when they need time off? Another bar!
- Great music, after Onna dropped her book and Nona got a visitor.
- Decim really is like a serial killer, who kills people, and then keeps their bodies around, as mementos, after the actual memories fade.
- Ginti being mad at his cat made me laugh.
This episode was much slower, but it was more condensed with information. You need less things “happening” in order to cram more information in, and then the real magic happens, where it always does, in our own heads, as the watchers.
I wonder how it’d work out, the “back-plot mystery” in such shows is often the least interesting part. But this might finally show the message the show is going for. And yes, many people noted or even complained about how arbitrary the judgments have been, which the show is, and always has been aware of. But even if everything’s arbitrary, and even if the “humanity shown” is manipulated, it does not necessarily make it “fake”.
It certainly doesn’t make it any less interesting.