Casshern Sins – Episode 15

It’s time for more Casshern Sins! The show’s last episode was… well, not the best. In the wake of the show’s halfway point revelations, Casshern Sins spent basically a full episode letting Casshern shake himself out of his I’m A Monster stupor, climaxing in another battle with Dio. Dio and Leda are easily the show’s least interesting characters, and having them just continuously repeat their motivations didn’t really do all that much for them. Still, it’s nice to see that Casshern is out of his funk again, and I’m certainly interested in where the show will go now that the new Luna has been formally introduced. Let’s apocalypse!

Episode 15

Opening with dripping water again. One of the show’s most consistent motifs, alternately evoking the fragility of robots and the blood of renewal

It lands in a red pool, further echoing the idea of Luna’s blood

And now we see a stranger. This is again a new scene

Blood pools across the moon’s reflection in the water. Pretty direct

Ah, this is that bodyguard of Luna that Dio fought before

It seems he’s remembering the moment of her death. He’s really undergone quite the transformation since then – it seems like he has an entirely different head, having traded in his beautiful human one for a vaguely defined metal skull

“The God of Death, Dune.” I guess we’re getting his story

Casshern’s struggling with the same memories, making for a graceful transition

Having learned more of his nature has helped unlock more of his memories. That repeated, tiny fragment we were getting at the beginning of each episode was apparently what Casshern himself was struggling with, always haunting him regardless of what each individual episode would bring

I do hope we get back to more episodic stories, though. Those are just more interesting than the Luna material, which moves at such a glacial pace it’s hard to stay invested

“What was I trying to grasp that day?”

“There are certain things that you don’t need to say to be understood.” Lyuze is a good traveling companion for Casshern. God knows he could use more friends

Lyuze falls and Casshern catches her. This close emphasis on her limbs feels somewhat sensual, but it’s undercut by the thought that she might be falling apart too

Lyuze seems legitimately happy now, which is nice

“That’s all we want, even the robots. We want someone to think about us”

They keep emphasizing this one pink gem tumbling, sliding across the glass plain like it’s an ocean

“I cannot die. Not until these hands grasp something…”

At times, Casshern Sins risks falling into total metaphor land, where its overt narrative beats only matter insofar as they gesture at its Big Themes. The show loves that stuff, but if your big ideas don’t have any physical grounding, it’s also hard to invest in them on the metaphorical level you’re striving for. And the power of fiction is that it can put those big ideas in specific human contexts. The show’s individual episodic narratives are generally good about putting ideas in the context of sympathetic characters’ lives, but the overarching narrative, the stuff with Luna and Dio and whatnot, can feel frustratingly ungrounded

“What is he trying to attain?” On an actual narrative level, it’s presumably closure regarding Luna’s death. But this is framed as a Big Question, and there’s just not enough there to support these

Look, if adding Lyuze to the party just means she and Casshern are going to philosophize at each other as robots die beside them, she can go back to being mad at Casshern

“I understand you less and less each day,” she says with a smile. That is grounded, because we’ve watched her relationship with Casshern develop across a dozen episodes, and her feelings of warmth here come from an understandable human place. And it naturally reflects the ambiguity of these robots in a larger sense without having to be phrased as an answerless question

“When we find someone we have to protect, we become weak.” With ‘weak’ linked to the soul. Heh

Ringo has a silly hat

Aw man, her and the old man are being so cute

“Don’t you find it hard to breathe if you do that?” “I’m fine. The wind feels good.” The impossibility of being both safe and free

We’re getting some lovely backgrounds this episode. Both Dune’s grave and this meadow are beautiful settings

And we even hear the old man’s internal thoughts, his concern for Ringo. The revelation of his role in Casshern’s history has allowed him to become a more active player in the narrative

Lyuze recognizes Dune

Welp, here come some robots to spill the beans on who Casshern is to Dune

There’s no ambiguity in Luna’s death now. We see exactly how she died

The past and present intertwine as Dune’s memories are contrasted against Casshern’s current violence. An effective way of demonstrating how Dune has lived forever in that moment, while also building up the tension until he actually moves to engage with Casshern

“Dune, live on…” Seeking vengeance would prompt his destruction. He was told to live on, and so he’s struggled to

The gem shatters in the air as Dune charges at Casshern. A fragile hope lost

The color shift here is terrific. From a somber blue palette only briefly interrupted by Ringo’s meadow, Dune’s rage is matched by a bright yellow background that echoes the shimmer of his blades

“You survived. There’s no reason for you to fight now!” Dune demonstrates that being slaves to our function extends beyond actual programming. Luna was the woman he loved, and so he has no choice but to fight

Casshern isn’t going out of control anymore. He’s fighting because he has to, because he sees value in his own life and wants to survive. His physical actions amount to the same as when he was acting according to his programming, but this is a far healthier place to be. And he can actually hold back now

New Luna appears again! And jeez, doesn’t she have an evocative home. An isolated white tower at the end of a lonely road

“There are also some who blaze their own path towards Ruin”

“Don’t cry, Dune. I have to go on living. For the sake of the dead, as well.” An interesting thought, and fitting, given Luna is aligned with hope itself

“My hands were seeking… Lady Luna.” He finally realizes he wasn’t seeking revenge. Mirrored with Ringo and the old man, who seek to protect each other as well

“When you find someone to protect, you become gentle.”

“What people seek in despair and death might be the silhouettes of the ones they love”

And Done

That ended up being a pretty solid episode! The first half was once again a very slow and somewhat repetitive build, but it actually rose up to an excellent climax and a clear thematic point. It does seem like the show is getting a bit more on-the-nose in its second half, but that’s to be expected – it’s spent a full season being cryptic as all hell, it’s definitely time for some answers. Plus the episode was quite beautiful, in spite of taking place almost entirely on the desolate plains. Casshern Sins can find beauty in anything, a truth of its production that doubles as a key thematic point.

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One thought on “Casshern Sins – Episode 15

  1. This is really is my problem with this show, the presentation is phenomenal, but the narrative simply cant hold it up. The more the show reaches its climaxes, the more it starts to repeat itself and the plot revelations are very weak and not as interesting as the episodic format.

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