Casshern Sins – Episode 8

And we’re back with more Casshern Sins! The show’s last episode was one of my favorites so far, offering the most evocative setpiece yet in the form of that lonesome belltower in the sands. “Evocative” is really the word when it comes to Casshern Sins – the show is layered with vague thematic and visual ideas that gesture towards greater meaning without entirely solidifying into clear messages. The result is an anthology of melancholy fairy tales that perfectly strike at the show’s intended tone, vignettes instilled with biblical significance. Let’s see what this new episode brings!

Episode 8

Hm. Doesn’t look like we gained anything new in this episode’s flashback. I wonder if that means this’ll be another wholly self-contained episode – no new stones unturned at the start reflecting this not being an episode relevant to the overarching plot

Casshern Sins

And a new character – a red-haired woman in a striking green dress

More dutch angle shots of the wasteland. The mix of closeups and heavily tilted shots actually pull against the show creating a tangible sense of space – there are times when the show is able to strongly establish a specific setting, but there are also many times when it makes the ground these characters stand on feel as metaphorical as everything else. For a show that’s more of a fable or dream than a grounded narrative, it kinda works, but it’s a trick that would be seriously out of place in a more conventional narrative

The contrast between this director’s two Shinsekai Yori episodes actually represents that issue pretty perfectly. His first episode takes place in the middle of a messy, muddled war between rodents, and his directorial style doesn’t necessarily fit that – it makes it very difficult to tell what specifically is happening. But his second episode largely takes place in a melting world skewed by magic, and is dominated by a winding, tragic conversation between two of the leads. There, his style shines

Casshern Sins

“This way. Please hurry.” Robotic guards. This woman is being set up as some kind of harried royalty

“A Hymn of Hope”

An enemy reflected in one of the guard’s bright green eyes. A show about robots with inhuman bodies is also specifically appropriate for this director, who seems to see his characters’ bodies as landscapes to be admired and contrasted against each other

“Amidst the Ruin, hope cannot survive.” “Protecting hope is our duty.” The characters even speak in metaphors

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Destruction is always so beautiful in this show. This robot’s head and gears sailing upwards, like a bouquet of roses

Gorgeous reflection in this broken eye


A song about being a star or a moon. It’s honestly a bit too much of a trite pop song to carry the emotional weight it’s intended for here – it’d probably be better if it were pure melody, with no words at all. Though I guess to a Japanese audience, the fact that it’s in English probably makes it seem slightly foreign enough. But to an English audience, this feels too much like a generic pop song

Casshern Sins

And then Casshern saves her

Casshern can only stop violence through violence. His trail always looks the same

“Why did you sing?” Casshern always with the questions. That feels pretty important – the fact that he’s so curious demonstrates he still has hope for this world, still wants to learn more of its beauty. A lack of curiosity can signal acceptance or fatalism, “I’ve learned all I’m going to learn.” Seeking knowledge implicitly assumes belief in some kind of future

And she responds with “why did you kill them,” implying both of these are natural instincts

“I was born to sing. That is why I sing.” Yep. Robots fulfilling their functions

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“You have such power, and yet you seem uncertain of it.” Easy for her to say. When your programmed goal is “sing,” you can take pleasure in your duty. Casshern doesn’t want to kill, but it’s what he was built to do. The perils of having both clear programming and some kind of soul

“Everything in this world has meaning. It’s up to each person to find it.” The guardian of hope indeed

“I sing to live.” A very different sentence from “I live to sing.” Her “life” is expressed through her song, calling into question exactly what it means “to live.” Perhaps Casshern’s questions are more reflective of his “living” than his unbreakable body

“I’m sure you’ll find a reason to fight someday.” Even putting a positive spin on his nature. Just destroying has no meaning for Casshern, but if he could find something to stop or protect…

Casshern Sins

She’s seeking a place from her past. Some quick, evocative shots that seem to imply she had some kind of religious “upbringing”

“The Ruin spread across the world faster than I expected.” I’m guessing that implies the Ruin spread outwards from the death of Luna, which may be relevant

“For everyone needs hope.” This episode is pandering to me pretty hard

Casshern likes this woman. He almost cracked a smile for the first time ever

“May I travel with you?” A huge step for Casshern

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“Janice. The voice that makes people forget Ruin.” I love how all of these episodic characters have their own wider reputation and lore. It’s one of those things that feels simultaneously appropriate for this apocalyptic fairy tale narrative and also reflective of its sentai roots

“What are you so afraid of?” Janice knows Casshern better than he knows himself

“It’s okay. It’s not your fault.” The first person to actually comfort Casshern

Robots attack, and as usual, Casshern’s instincts take over. Those glowing eyes

Casshern Sins

“Everybody around here knows that you’re reaching Versa soon”

Janice’s attempts to bring hope actually bring destruction in their own way – people gather where she’ll be in order to find hope, and are then killed by those who’d seek their bodies to keep themselves alive

Once again, the environments feel less real than evocative. I love this shot of the old man’s car on the slope

The old man humming Janice’s song. Hope lives in the smallest ways

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“What’s Casshern doing now, I wonder?” “Oh, suffering.” haha this guy

“The Versa Music Hall.” Interesting. This is actually a concert venue, but the flashback imagery frames it in terms of a church, which the singer crying as they sing and clad in a long white robe

“The song was ephemeral, yet so powerful.” Pretty much the crux of Casshern Sins. To be ephemeral is to be beautiful

“The more the Ruin spread across the world, the more my song started to reach them”

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“Today I sing so that my song will reach your heart.” Man, she’s great

Ah man, all these decaying robots with their beloved instruments. A great moment

Vicious robots on the horizon. Casshern will protect this sacred place

Janice has even given him a reason to fight, at least for the moment. His destruction needn’t be a purely negative act – he can fight to protect, as well

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A classic and always effective dramatic trick – contrasting this performance against Casshern’s battle

Ah good, Casshern’s friend is helping

This is an excellent use of the child. Casshern’s fighting may seem hopeless, but the song he protects inspires this girl

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And Done

Whew! That was a great one. Episodes hinging on a conceit like that finale really need their songs to be good enough to carry the weight, and while I wouldn’t say either of this episode’s songs were truly top tier, they were definitely strong enough to make it land. And the execution outside of the music itself was excellent. Casshern Sins offers a strong platform for vignettes like this, and with Casshern himself becoming more of a fully realized person all the time, I think the show will only get better going forward. This has been a lovely ride so far, and I’m eager to see where it leads.

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