Alright, very behind, but here I am. The last two weeks have done a tremendous amount of work in pulling this show’s threads together – family, identity, childhood, belief, it’s all lining up and it’s all working great. The Neverland the main characters have inhabited is falling apart under the disapproving gaze of Asuta’s father, and pretty much everyone is fighting back in their own way. Kate’s dream has powered Zvezda’s belief so far, and last episode featured each member of the team in turn sacrificing themselves in service of that belief. On the one hand, this was very generous of them, and demonstrated how much the members of this family care about each other. But on the other, none of them really had a choice – as the Chief glibly stated, he’s only done what promised the greatest chance of survival. All of these characters have been thrown away, but up until last week, Asuta didn’t realize this – he thought he still had power, thought he held the trump card of still being valued. That’s not the case anymore – he is a member of Zvezda through and through, reviled by the real world and given purpose only by the girl who believes he has value in spite of all evidence to the contrary.
Girls, actually. Renge also believes he has value, and unlike Asuta, Renge actually deserted a family that truly valued her. White Light may have lost its purpose and surrendered itself to power for power’s own sake, but it still had a job for White Robin. In abandoning that, Renge may have made the first act of willful rebellion against the defamilyzing status quo – she’s not a misfit, she’s a beacon. That’s interesting, but I honestly hope it’s not relevant – what would it say if the people this inhuman structure valued really were more valuable? Better to be valued by Kate, who sees purpose in everyone, than to be the favorite child of callous, unfeeling parents. Better Zvezda by far.
Alright, that’s enough rambling. I like this show, you guys. Let’s see where it goes next.
0:11 – That’s pretty great. Her childish dream can only be dreamt by a child. Her confidence is her power and her curse
0:35 – Man, this show just nails its tone. Kind of dreamy, kind of creepy, capturing the whimsy and also the strange menace of storybook fables. The future she dreams into existence before her dissolves into dust as she passes
It’s a damn shame about the sleazy outfits. This is probably a show I’d recommend to a whole bunch of people if not for that. Damn anime shooting itself in the foot
2:34 – A generic apartment block with bars on the windows and a “No Trespassing” sign” – what our heroes have been reduced to. Compare that to Zvezda HQ, which was full of personality and loudly declared “Zvezda” right on its front stoop. Something that was great for a gag, but also struck at something more fundamental – that place clearly labeled itself a home
5:11 – Again, few shows can pull off this very strange mood. The Chief episode was another great example of it – it’s a series of ridiculous events, but it somehow sells it. There’s a lot of sadness in this show
6:14 – Nice line. A lot of this show centers on how the world devalues the honest experiences of the young – Natasha’s backstory was heavy with this, and Kate brings it up all the time
6:54 – Man, all the great details. Kate plays at being the tough criminal, Itsuka pays for the damn bananas
8:32 – The best tree fort
9:34 – And again. Jeez, this scene is heartless
11:54 – Really? Doesn’t seem possible his story would end here, but…
12:25 – Pretty great bit. Another piece of casual mockery, and “I’ve never been good at talking to a camera” is rich coming from the guy who’s trying to remove the personal element from all interactions
13:28 – The opposite of Kate. He says “you can do what you want,” but actually demands total loyalty, while Kate talks of conquering while granting her subjects any freedom they desire
13:34 – The shittiest dad
14:52 – And again, she’s the only one with a life to go back to
15:08 – Hah, that guy was the leader of West Udogawa. And again, the importance of family meals. He’s a far cry from “meals together are seasoned with the spice of conversation”
15:54 – Something Kate rejects. If your subjects are your family, you’ll never be alone. And if your family become your subjects, you have nowhere left to turn. So maybe his father’s as isolated as he made Asuta feel
17:07 – Again a direct mirror, going all the way back to the first episode. “He’s just a stuffed doll, Dva. You are irreplaceable.”
Man, this show’s so good
19:16 – He’s still young, but his new family have given him the power to become his own man. He’s not sure who he is yet, but he has the chance to learn
19:25 – Bingo. Whoever he turns out to be, he knows they’ll love him. Giving someone the confidence to believe that is what family is all about
20:38 – It may seem embarrassing, but just go with it. They love you for it
20:53 – Keep at it, Renge. Boys aren’t so good about this stuff
22:25 – Fair point
Ahhh, that was lovely. Great episode in a great last stretch of a great show. I was actually getting a little misty-eyed in that last Asuta section there – I don’t know why anime has decided to get so specifically good at telling stories about the importance of family, but these last three seasons have been kind of killing it that way. A strong tone of loss and despair that slowly morphed into Jimon’s confidence and pride, an endless parade of great reflections and parallels with ideas raised throughout the show, and a centering of all the pieces just in time for the grand finale. Sekai Seifuku, you are carrying this season across the finish line whether it likes it or not.