Casshern Sins – Episode 14

Let’s get back to Casshern Sins! Last episode offered the most dramatic and fully articulated set of reveals yet, as we learned the true nature of Casshern’s design, as well as the secret of the old man. Casshern seemed kinda shattered by this revelation, unsurprisingly, but I hope he manages to pull himself together soon. Thoughtful, goal-oriented Casshern has been a joy to follow, and learning the truth of his past shouldn’t dictate his destiny. Of course, this is Casshern Sins, so he may also just spend six episodes wandering in a bitter malaise. I guess we’ll find out!

Episode 14

Opening with Ringo standing in the water this time. It seems we’ve moved beyond the Luna flashbacks entirely

That image of drops falling and disrupting the water is pretty consistent in this show, and frankly in anime overall. It’s a solid tool for conveying building anticipation, but I’m not sure if it has some deeper cultural resonance

The rain is an ambiguous instrument. Ringo finds it beautiful, but it heralds decay for robots

“It’s not your fault.” This show loves its repeated lines. Ringo again acting as a kind of Greek chorus, as if she’s one of the contradictory voices inside Casshern

“Don’t come any closer to me!” Casshern’s war with his own nature continues. He’d come to terms with having to fight his natural instinct towards self-defense and destruction, but hearing about his design has made it hard to deny his destiny in an emotional sense

And here’s Casshern himself reflected in the water. His own image below, Braking Boss probing him from above, his identity in flux

Ringo is also chasing him. His two shoulder advisors

It was easier for him to have hope when he was ignorant

“The Truth Illuminates the Darkness.” A hopeful but ironic sentiment, given the truth has cast Casshern back into darkness

“I’m sure your sorrow will be healed, too.” A robot with the Ruin visible on her face tries to comfort Ringo. The ignorant but doomed still have hope

“If he needs healing too, he’s probably already on his way to see Luna.” Luna as a person versus Luna as a metaphor. In the modern world, she represents hope itself – a goal to seek and salvation to find, even if there’s no actual destination. Casshern was happy when he had that hope, and being happy in this future may be all anyone can hope for

The camera emphasizes this robot’s decay, and her efforts to hide it. She seems to understand the importance of ignorance

“Luna is in the town up this road.” Well jeez, that’s a little more tangible!

Beautiful shot of this robot staring ahead in profile. I love the sharp, variable line density used for the lines of her face – it’s a great way of conveying the relative strength or delicacy of specific facial features

The professor is desperate to find Ringo. His investment here makes him no longer a spectator and commentator, but a participant in the show’s drama

“They’re being tricked by an impostor”

The show is building anticipation through the professor’s panic, this woman’s speedy deterioration, and Casshern’s disappearance

Leda suggests killing this false Luna

This is definitely a slow episode, for understandable structural reasons. It’s all one buildup to meeting this new Luna, but that means not much actually happens

Jeez, this is some monstrous violence. Framing robots as humans allows this show to get away with some brutal on-screen deaths

And Ringo’s new friend is torn apart, begging for her life as she goes. This is a brutal episode!

With Ringo in danger, we finally jump to Casshern. C’mon buddy, pull yourself together

Of course, the fact that the episode has been set up this way means we know he will pull himself together. He’s the only plausible narrative “solution” to the dramatic problem this episode has established. If he had actually been with Ringo up until now, there’d be a solid chance this would be a further negative breaking point for him – but by isolating him and Ringo, they’ve made his dramatic return inevitable

The professor gets to be a big damn hero!

Leda once again acting as Dio’s ego

The light returns to Casshern’s eye

“I fall prey to madness and massacre people. I will destroy the world.” But this isn’t despair, like before. This is him working through his nature

“I no longer wish to kill anyone.” “There will be even more death if you don’t go.” Braiking Boss doesn’t seem evil so much as callous and resigned. He’s told Casshern some awful truths, but he hasn’t mislead him in any serious ways

“It’s up to you to choose if you want to go save them or not.” He’s even emphasizing Casshern’s agency

“While you’re struggling internally, people are dying.” Fuckin’ drag him Lyuze. THIS IS NO TIME FOR SOLEMN INTROSPECTION

Nice cut of Lyuze flipping through enemies. This show is able to convey both brutal, ugly violence and violence as a kind of dance

Dio and Casshern fight again. Frankly, this part of the narrative does very little for me – I’ve never felt any real reason to be invested in Dio, and his segments with Leda almost always drag. Casshern Sins repeats its conflicts ad nauseum, but at least with characters like Casshern and Lyuze, there’s a poignant human element to their conflicts. Dio is simply bitter about not being Casshern, and that doesn’t make him sympathetic or interesting to me

I love Braiking Boss’s giant coat. It looks kind of like a black version of the outfits worn by the Cyborg 009 characters, which certainly works for this show’s aesthetic

“I’m sick of looking at your back.” Yeah, this is Dio’s core conflict. And I mean, c’mon man, people are dying out there. Your resentment of your brother can take a back seat

“Killing you validates my claim as the strongest in the world.” I suppose there is some tragedy in the fact that Dio is still operating according to simplistic ideals of robot anime in a world that’s moved past such frivolities. And I like that Casshern is standing up for himself now

Casshern has moved past his brother yet again, into a set of ideals that extend beyond himself

Braiking Boss questions Leda’s loyalty to Dio. Braiking Boss has turned out to be a pretty great addition to the cast, acting as a far more ambiguous figure than I’d expected

Lyuze finally accepting the hope of Luna still being alive. A major breakthrough in her personal development and also her relationship with Casshern

“If I can just live quietly with you, that’s all I need.” The professor has accepted the terms of this world


And Done

Well, that was a somewhat middling episode. In the aftermath of last episode’s major revelations, the show mostly just spent this one building Casshern’s ego back up. Dio still isn’t particularly interesting, but I was happy to see Casshern overcome his funk so soon, and even arrive at some new and very positive resolutions. Things slowed down this time, but it seems like the crew will be hitting the road again for the next episode. We’ll see where the journey goes!

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