So apparently last episode concluded the material originally covered by the OVAs. Which, first of all, seems kind of crazy to me. I’ve heard from people who watched the OVAs that the current season’s patchwork nature is fairly apparent, but as a first-time watcher, this has all felt like a remarkably cohesive work – each episode seems paced extremely well, each episode has told its own cohesive current story, each episode has also detailed the life story and motivation of one of our principles while knocking the overarching plot a few feet down the road. Episode two built perfectly towards the source of Koto’s confidence – episode five neatly danced around and then revealed the nature of Myoe’s emptiness. If this is what the show can do even while working around existing material, then…
Well, I’m excited to see what happens next.
1:54 – These shots are beautiful. The lighting is so stark in the real world
4:06 – One mystery explained
4:32 – And he has her feed it to him, so they are both his parents in his life reborn. I guess we didn’t have to stretch to explain the pomegranate – the show designs its own creation myths
5:42 – The beauty of the actual world is less ostentatious than the Mirror City, but impressive in its own right. This show better sell well – I can’t wait to see what new vision this director will bring us next
6:25 – Speaking of direction. I love how they’re now framing the monk as this dark, forbidding figure. Episode 1 was largely his view of the world, but it looks very different from young Myoe’s perspective
And of course the soundtrack here is perfect, but in this show “perfect sound design” goes without saying
7:22 – Dear lord. They’re not pulling any punches
7:56 – The monk is great. More gods should have this kind of attitude
Of course, to young Myoe, this is the worst curse imaginable
8:25 – Oh, he’s used to it. Any more than that…
8:50 – The anime answer to all conflict. ”I’ll despise you forever!” -stomach growls- “But I guess I could eat first.”
8:58 – They’re… really not half-assing this. His non-quest to find meaning is actually one of the central aims of the show, and they’re treating his feelings with the gravity they deserve.
Man, every episode with this show
9:41 – Another very well-chosen song. I’m also a big fan of the way this director cuts these montages together – the ones in the first (when the full family was being introduced) and second (during Koto’s silent walks) episodes were great as well
10:52 – Those damn animals. I haven’t really seen anything consistent to their appearances – they show up fairly often at a variety of times. There was one shot where young Myoe was accompanied by two of them, leading me to think they represent the three siblings. But here…
11:18 – Nice choice
11:51 – What a beautiful shot. I love how the foreground leaves frame the temple here
12:12 – She understands Yase’s feelings well. I love how even those out-of-focus background leaves have the false white outline of all Mirror City objects
12:28 – Even Koto can be a little subtle when she wants to. Your family doesn’t have to be set in stone. Another great camera angle, too
14:20 – One more nice shot here. I like how they intentionally add foreground elements to give depth to shots intended to look overtly two-dimensional and painted
14:39 – Of course, we know from Yase’s episode exactly how Kurama tends to “investigate” things. He’s a chuck-into-the-station-disposal first, ask questions later kinda guy
15:05 – Love this expression. Yase is always great
16:29 – And here we are back at 00
16:52 – Hey, you know what’s the difference between this episode and 00/the ONA? I know the characters now, and actually care about them and their various goals, so their interactions have weight. I have some grounding in this world, context which provides meaning to their actions, since I know what they are and are not capable of. The things which are significant to these characters are now significant to me, and so when they say, “oh no!”, I think “oh no!”, and not “welp, something happened that must be important to these ciphers.” There is a status quo, and so when that situation is disrupted, it is actually meaningful.
In short, goddamn everything. If your description of your story starts with the first event that happens and not the first person it’s happening to, you are Doing It Wrong. Character is the gateway to drama, and if you take shortcuts to drama you might as well be writing Axe Cop
Sorry, I’ll stop. But seriously, my method of interacting with media is just in-freaking-compatible with that ONA as a work in its own right
This scene is actually fantastic in its rightful place in sequence. So much unspoken resentment between the siblings being aired out
20:28 – It’s actually kind of impressive how much context and subtext there is to every one of their lines given the events of the past five episodes. What was a pithy throwaway in the ONA now resonates both with his current personality and his own relationship with his parents
22:06 – Quite a skyline
23:00 – More prettiness. Kurama’s plan was flawless!
Welp, guess that explains how that piece syncs up. But… we’ve still got four episodes left!
Which is great, actually – I’d probably be disappointed if a story with this much emotional weight was concluded with some big action scene and Mom’s triumphant return. I don’t want these siblings’ issues to be solved by them getting everything they’ve wished for – that’d be cheap and meaningless. Dealing with loss, with ambition, with guilt, with the search for meaning – those are quests without easy answers. Once more, I’m left wondering where the show will go from here