Casshern Sins – Episode 13

And we’re back for more Casshern Sins! The last episode was an absolutely terrific one, as Casshern’s brief friendship with a painter offered a clear portrait of how far our hero has come. Casshern’s journey out of purposelessness has felt almost like a classic escape from depression – from cursing his nature and not seeing any point in his own survival, he’s come to find great value and even joy in the world around him. The world is sculpting Casshern, and even in a place this destitute, it’s giving him reasons to live. Let’s see what he runs into this time!

Episode 13

Oh man, entirely new cold open! This one focuses on red blood spilling over a white background, a mirror of Casshern’s own color scheme. There’s also a flower floating in the blood, echoing the episode about Luna’s keeper. And this time the only figure we see is the little girl, implying this one may actually be in the future. Does this mean we’re done getting snippets of that original memory? It could also imply, though this seems somewhat less likely, that the original “memory” was actually foreshadowing as well

“It’s not your fault, Casshern”

“If I believe in her, she’ll stop it” contrasted against closeups of this robot’s fingers crumbling. It’s a naturally evocative image, playing on the way our enfeebled hands are often used to evoke the terror of aging. Our hands embody our dexterity and control of the universe – when they start to shake and can no longer perform precise tasks, it feels like we’re losing our grip on the world itself

“Be healed by Luna!” Luna now has her own prophets, though they seem like madmen to us, who aren’t driven desperate by the fear of Ruin. Religions must satisfy an existential need to easily take hold

“The Past Rises Before My Eyes.” Man, this episode feels pretty important

Yeah, they’re framed basically as religious pilgrims – all in shapeless cloaks, marching silently towards presumed healing

The Ruin seems worse than ever now. It dominates the features of these robots

Lyuze seems unwilling to let Casshern join the pilgrims. Having killed Luna himself, he doesn’t deserve the false hope of faith

“Do you think your sin will be cleansed if she’s still alive?” Lyuze isn’t really aware of or interested in Casshern’s growth as a person

“Do you not wish for Luna to be alive?” What a cutting response. Having gained some confidence in his own beliefs and goals, Casshern is able to take Lyuze’s statement not as an unquestioned reflection of his own sins, but as a representation of Lyuze’s own personal desires. Coming to know ourselves is the only way we can hope to understand others

The truth comes out – if Luna is alive, Lyuze’s sister died for nothing, and Lyuze’s own vengeance is meaningless. Even though Lyuze’s goal is tragic and fatalistic, it’s still a goal, still something to drive her. Casshern has found purpose in this world in the pursuit of Luna, but if that pursuit is a meaningful goal, Lyuze’s is not

“I’m going to see Luna. We’ll talk after that.” Casshern actually understands what Lyuze is going through, sympathizes, and is willing to help – but he has his own priorities first. Casshern really has grown so much

Lyuze draws out one of her blades, and holds it uselessly into the wind. Her strength can’t bring her any catharsis here

“All fugitives will be killed!” The hope of Luna is drawing away Dio’s supporters. It’s hard to build an army of hopeless followers when they keep getting all this inconvenient hope

“That Luna girl survived.” It feels a lot more authoritative come from the show’s ostensible “villains.” They have little reason to hope or lie to each other

“She heals both humans and robots alike.” The relationship between humans and robots has very rarely come up in this show – Luna represents a peace that almost feels irrelevant in this doomed age, where only a few fraying robots survive

“I never understood why Braiking Boss ordered Luna’s death.” THAT SEEMS LIKE AN IMPORTANT POINT TO JUST CASUALLY MENTION

“There can only be one king”

A cute moment between the girl and old man, somewhat spoiled by the fact that we can finally see the Ruin beginning to affect her. Ringo better survive this show!

Lyuze asks what happens if Casshern is wrong. “Aren’t you afraid?” “I would have been before. But not now”

“I want to stop it. To accomplish that, I first have to figure out what happened.” Casshern isn’t hiding from the truth anymore. He’s always wanted to know his own nature, but there’s a new certainty there

And Lyuze wants Casshern to be a figure she can despise, but he can’t give her that

The old man complains about getting a flat in the rain while Ringo dances in the puddles. Their dynamic in one

Whether it’s the rain or this abandoned bottle, Ringo finds beauty in all the world’s refuse

Some nicely understated character acting for the old man here. A lot of personality in his shoulder movements

Casshern and Lyuze as Ringo’s fretting parents is very good

The whole gang is escaping the rain together! Another sign of us moving into the series’ second half – treating the main players as a solidified group

Casshern and Lyuze see how the Ruin has advanced on Ringo

The water is used very effectively to emphasize this dramatic buildup to the stranger’s arrival. Already framed as an ominous event, we jump from the empty bottle to deep water to the rain cracking through their ceiling, then parting like a curtain to reveal the newcomer

Water has always been a bit of an ambiguous symbol for Casshern Sins, from the opening song on down

The stranger is Braiking Boss. Even just recognizing him sends Casshern into fits, like when he’s fighting against his programming

“Isn’t that right, Professor?” Even the old man is a key player!

Apparently he actually created Casshern

And we see that Ringo is something different – she may be a robot, but she also bleeds. The seed or fruit of a new era, appropriate for her name

Long ago, both humans and robots had defeated death. But only humans could reproduce

An interesting reversal of the usual assumption. In fiction, our inability to live forever is often countered by our ability to live on through the people who survive us, and specifically through our children. But robots actually do live forever, and cannot have children

“We could become gods”

Casshern, Dio, and Leda were the three robots created for this project

The Professor claims he had nothing to do with Casshern’s immortality

“The only use they served was as highly durable killing machines.” Intended to create life, Casshern was ultimately only capable of ending it. Even his creators didn’t wish for his programming to turn out this way

Well, we can certainly understand why the old man holds a grudge towards Casshern now. He is his failure of a son, a reminder of his own failings

“It may have all begun once Luna appeared.” Jeez, we are getting SO MUCH information this episode. I’m not really sure the show will be able to go back to its conventional structure after this – with nearly all of the show’s mysteries solved, we may be moving into a more tightly structured narrative now

“Everyone eventually tired of eternal life. She healed that and gave us the strength to live.” Extremely, intentionally ambiguous phrasing. The show’s storybook phrasing allow it to maintain mystery even while explaining its secrets

Oh my god, this frame of Casshern learning the truth is so gorgeous. This episode is really bringing all the beautiful, melodramatic framing it can to this climactic event

The order to kill Luna still reverberates in his memory, like post-traumatic stress, urging his body to move

The rain forms the tears he cannot shed himself

And Ringo’s faith in him brings him to actual tears. What a tender moment

And Done!

God damn. Welp, this was another serious backstory episode, but this time the information we learned was both emotionally loaded and beautifully articulated. Everything this episode revealed actually reflected directly on Casshern’s personal journey, and Ringo’s embodiment of charity and innocence was used to gorgeous effect. I might have been worried about the show shifting into a more straightforward, continuous narrative before now, but if it can maintain this level of execution, I’m ready for whatever comes next.

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