The family’s all together now, and Koto’s enthusiastic break-in has apparently heralded the end of the world. Turns out Dad wasn’t lying after all – he did come back, and he did indeed bring with him the beginning and the end.
2:05 – These episode titles never let you forget the show’s purpose. It’s not a fantasy, not an adventure – it’s a family story, just like any other
2:52 – The girl with no past, who can only charge blindly forward, is now seeing some of the first wreckage of her existence. Well, accepting and taking responsibility for that certainly puts her ahead of the Head Monk – his wreckage has been waiting hundreds of years for him to take responsibility
3:29 – Yase tramples on the concern of those who care for her here. If the world’s ending, Mom can’t leave her behind!
3:59 – And again. Kurama calmly admits defeat as the people of this world fight to save their home. Even Myoe’s wish disregards the feelings of those around him
4:31 – Not that he’s without sympathy. Burden or not, this place has accidentally become his home – oddly enough, only him and the outsider Koto seem to mourn the death of it
6:58 – In the wake of Koto’s heartfelt apology, this rings even more insincere. For someone who speaks of responsibility, he’s not much of a practicioner. Perhaps Myoe was a better priest all along – perhaps, in the context of a family, we’re not defined by our distant desires, but by the things we do every day, because we have to
8:06 – EHHHHH??!?!?
8:13 – Finally
9:35 – Koto’s not one for sulking. It all may be pretty overwhelming, but she made this problem, and she’s gonna go bash its skull in
10:41 – Grass is greener and all that. This place didn’t need to be actively destroyed – paradise is paradise because it’s remote. To the people stuck there, not so much
10:52 – So that’s her secret? She’s their one natural-born child?
11:39 – Gods paying deference to their own bureaucracy. Eesh
13:15 – Those are such a great image. In this world, the planets were basically just a mobile hanging above the cage, shaken loose with the splintering of the sky
13:26 – This is a very well-chosen shot. The distance emphasizes the weight of this moment both through showing the broken sky and making our characters appear tiny beneath it, and the tower’s construction emphasizes the fragile, ramshackle nature of this world
14:23 – Again, a wonderful visual trick. So many shows seem to forget this isn’t actually live action, and you don’t have to play by that medium’s visual rules. Which is pretty standard when it comes to young mediums (or somewhat older but artistically constrained ones, like how television was until very recently) – in order to discover the new rules, you start with the rules of your medium’s closest parallel. And so early films often looked like plays, and videogames still look like toys with movies awkwardly attached. Which is why we need people like Masaaki Yuasa to come along and say Fuck That
14:39 – Those beads are a great trick on the narrative end. A wonderfully natural continuous reminder of his nature and his cage
16:20 – I was struggling to tie the death of this world to the personal conflicts, but here’s a gimme. Whether through creation or destruction, your actions are never just your own – the plot up until now has been a consequence of the Head Monk’s careless creation, and we’re now seeing the results of Koto’s careless destruction
17:58 – Our monk steps up, acknowledging his responsibility and destroying the mask he inherited from the priest
19:13 – Loaded words here
20:12 – Jeez. Family really is suffering!
20:24 – Beautiful destruction
20:27 – Oh god
21:07 – Go Myoe!
21:27 – These two are the best
23:28 – Hostages! The solution to everything
Hm. Didn’t like the second half of that nearly as much as the first half – the Head Priest strikes me as an actual villain, and the destruction of the Mirror City more evocative than poignant, whereas my interest in the show lies firmly in the resolution of the desires of the four siblings. The moments within the family itself were still great here – Older Koto finally getting fed up with the Head Monk’s refusal to act responsibly, the two brothers rushing to help their mother, Myoe snapping Koto into shape, Myoe’s early realization that he really does care about this place. But yeah, them “defeating” the Head Priest just isn’t that interesting in a character sense, and this is very much a character story (like, in my opinion, most worthwhile stories are). We’ve still got two full episodes left, so hopefully they’re not so busy with Things Happening – we’ve still got a lot of emotional baggage to resolve.