Hey all, and welcome back to Casshern Sins. Casshern has finally arrived at something resembling a clear goal now – discover the true fate of Luna, and through doing so perhaps save his world. Meanwhile, Casshern’s vague “antagonist” Dio and his confidante are building forces for their own attempt at saving this world, one which would likely necessitate destroying Casshern. Given the last episode focused solely on Dio, I’m expecting us to return to a Casshern-side vignette here, which I’m perfectly happy about. The show’s vignettes have in general been stronger than its overarching narrative, so let’s see what we’ve got!
“Luna, just what is your blood?” Another step forward in our framing scene. Speaking not just to Luna’s symbolic nature overall, but to her blood as some kind of special elixir. Dio’s plan to destroy Casshern and discover from his innards the secret to immortality hovers in this same sort of space, where the thematic vagueness of specific figures as symbols of life or death rubs against their mechanical nature as well-designed machines with specific abilities
Some kind of green prysm-obelisk on the ground. Straight angles imply this is not a piece of nature. Friender seems interested in investigating it
As usual, Casshern has made a lot of unwelcome friends
The direction and color design for this fight is unusual for the show. Shots that isolate Casshern or Friender against a blue sky with speedlines seem more evocative of traditional anime fight scenes than Casshern Sins’ usual, more beautifully composed shots. Isolating violence from this world and putting it in a generic “action space” is something the show is understandably hesitant to do
Still very dynamic though, and there are some great impact frames
As often is the case, the violence is framed from the perspective of Casshern’s opponents. Casshern is very rarely in danger, and his terrifying nature is what the show actually wants to emphasize. Who you choose to position your perspective on drastically impacts the dramatic stakes of a fight
The show really likes these sets where Casshern is trapped beneath an enveloping background, be it this prism, a cave overhang, or a canyon
Friender has become a stalwart fighting companion at this point. Casshern rushes to assist him
I like the afterimage of the glow from their eyes. That classic Akira motorcycle trick
And the prism falls
The rocks attached to this prism look like coral outcroppings. This world often looks like a dried sea bed
Casshern is trapped beneath the prism. Is it time for Friender’s Big Adventure?
“By One’s Calling”
Oh dang, it’s a caravan of humans
A baby is unsurprisingly having trouble surviving in this world. New life isn’t welcome here
Gido, the bloodstained man, and Toro, the boy
Jin is a robot in their company – in fact, he’s the leader
“You don’t have to be scared”
“Will you be my friend?” Well jeez dude, it’s his dang name
They’re also looking for Luna
“Luna gives life to both robots and humans equally.” So she was a symbol of peace that crossed races, or perhaps even specifically the symbol of that kind of peace
“We don’t know if Luna exists. But we’ve decided to wait for hope, rather than simply wait for death.” Luna continues to straddle the gap between symbol and physical object
“That belief is what keeps us alive.” And leaning towards the symbol end, Jin presents hope itself as a source of life
Ah, Gido’s actually a fraying robot
“All of your parts are handmade.” A very unique compliment
It’s nice to see how terrifying it is to be a human in this world. They can only cower and hope the roving robots don’t find them
It seems news of Casshern’s demise has spread
Jin fought for the humans back during Braiking Boss’s empire, as well
The bandits leave. The very first fight we see without Casshern present is avoided, reflecting again how in spite of his ostensible wishes, he always summons violence
Gido disappears, and Friender leads them back to the prism. They’re very accommodating friends
Gido is tempted by the allure of Casshern’s salvation. His earlier concern for the human boy here offers weight to his choice – he actually does care about others, and feels this is the best way to help them
There are more prisms in the distance. Apparently those are just part of the landscape here
Casshern awakes, and the violence is instantaneous. In a fury he destroys the bandits and then attacks Jin
Friender’s role has become what I expected – he’s the only one consistently able to save Casshern from himself
Even the humans believe devouring Casshern might grant them eternal life. Jin stands as the conscience of the group
“We don’t have to do that. We just have to find Luna.” Believing in the hope of Luna over the immediate salvation of Casshern in the most desperate circumstances
Jin is briefly swayed, but Friender resolves him. Friender is a good dog
“I can’t sacrifice someone else so that we may survive”
“I want to bring back a world where humans and robots can live in peace together.” Jin is the closest thing we’ve gotten to a traditional hero so far. I hope he survives the episode!
“Casshern was real. Just like the rumors said.” Like with the human perspective, it’s nice to see the general perspective of those living in the shadow of this show’s central, fundamentally mythic figures
Toro promises to grow up and save Gido. It’s a lovely moment of Jin’s philosophy in action
“Maybe the ruin can’t touch those with a strong belief in something.” Jin’s lieutenants are sharp. And they haven’t even seen the prior ten episodes!
“If I stay with you, I might someday decide to kill you.” Jin is a remarkably self-possessed man
Welp, that was a fine one. I figured we’d be getting back to Casshern this time, but instead Casshern spent the vast majority of this episode’s running time stuck under a rock. And so we got the adventures of Friender and Jin! It was nice to see someone else holding to strong ideals in this world, and even nicer to see the episode end without that character being dismembered, crumbling into dust, or dying of some vaguely defined illness. See Casshern Sins, you can pull off a mildly optimistic episode if you try!
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