Casshern Sins – Episode 17

Hey all, and welcome back to Casshern Sins. The show’s last episode was probably the best episode of the second half so far, offering a rousing look into Ohji’s backstory that tied him and Ringo into the heart of the narrative. It also saw the show’s principal players congregating and moving ever closer to some sort of final confrontation, with both Casshern’s group and Dio now on the immediate path to Luna. Of course, we’ve still got a full third of the show left, so there are bound to be a few complications on the way. But as long as no bad thing ever happens to Ringo at any point, I think we’ll be okay. Let’s get to it!

Episode 17

Beginning with an entirely new cold open this time – flowers in bloom, and children laughing over them. The heavy white filter here seems to imply this is still a flashback, and these characters do look like they’re living before the fall

It looks like we’re actually getting Leda’s backstory? That’d be fantastic – she’s been one of the most underdeveloped characters so far, mainly just existing as a dark shadow behind Dio

I’m generally not a big fan of holding back basically all humanization of characters for the sake of some dramatic reveal. It can certainly work at times (hey Homura), but making it intentionally difficult to understand or care about members of your cast is a risky choice that is rarely more valuable for the sake of a twist than simply making your characters feel human in the first place. There’s a reason that Madoka Magica is often considered emotionally cold – that show makes the intentional decision to have characters like Homura and Kyouko feel much more human the second time you watch, which naturally can result in an emotional disconnect for first-time viewers. It’s a choice that shouldn’t always be avoided, obviously, but a choice that should be made with an understanding of the consequences

Leda, or whoever this is, is pregnant. So is this the robots-with-offspring success story? Did she once have children, and now only has Dio?

“A precious little life is waiting to bloom in here.” Following up on the Ringo story, we’re once again framing birth as directly oppositional to Ruin

Yeah, that was Leda. Welp, that pretty much instantly makes her more relatable than “but Mom, I want to be the strongest” Dio

Gorgeous shot of an old house framed through rock pillars. Even when the terrain is totally open, this show finds a way to create some kind of imposing closed space. Careful cinematography can create a specific tone almost anywhere

“How foolish”

Leda has other memories, as well. We see blood intermingling with water, echoing Luna’s death, and perhaps implying a failed pregnancy

“I just recalled a repulsive time that I thought I had forgotten”

“The Glass Cradle.” A cradle, implying a baby, but glass, implying fragility or danger

Ringo on the beach. Actual water has generally been a positive symbol in this show, in spite of it also implying rust, drowning, and general destruction. Ringo still loves water

“I get nervous when things are this peaceful.” Man, Casshern has become so much more of a person. And he actually confides in Lyuze and the others now

“My legs went stiff all of a sudden.” Show you are not allowed to pull this shit with Ringo you can NOT DO THAT

Dio and Leda arrive at the facility where Luna was born. Leda chasing her memories

And now Leda walks through hip-deep blood, emphasizing the contrast with the other party

An old piano floating in the blood. Casshern Sins can really swing for the dramatic fences sometimes

“Only fools dream fleeting dreams.” Perhaps that’s why she follows Dio – because he seems like something permanent, unlike her old dreams. But Dio’s fragility has already been well established

The show is contrasting the memory of Leda’s lost children against images of Ringo in ways I am NOT AT ALL COMFORTABLE WITH

The gang meet some kids who know Luna. “Luna’s their mother?” “No, it’s more likely they were built by the same scientists.” Motherhood is inescapable this episode

“This must really be Luna’s birthplace.” They must be close to Dio

Hoti, Hoto, and Holter. Scientists aren’t good at names

Holter “can’t speak, but has true vision”

“This is the only place we can live, because we’re rejects”

The three kids go home and walk straight into Leda

Leda’s got a great wolf grin while talking to these kids. This episode has done wonderful work for her – I still don’t give a crap about Dio, but Leda feels real and sympathetic now

Leda mentions the glass cradle

The blood pours out of the structure, like the building itself is a dying organism

A great green sphere with a dark shadow inside it, like an artificial womb. Leda moves her hand to her stomach, making the inference clear

“How short-lived. How foolish.” Leda shared the dream of the scientists who created her. She believed in it

“Entrusting the future to children is just…”

“I’m going to get some fresh air.” Dio is actually made uncomfortable by Leda scourging her past like this, and doing the ugly work necessary to find Luna

Leda is abusing children, but hey, I’m still a fan. These kids are narrative devices, whereas it’s clear that everything in this place reminds Leda of her lost hopes, and thus is painful to her

Oh damn, Holter rallies the gang! Great work, Holter

“Eternity doesn’t exist for those who don’t love anyone.” A cruel line to tell Leda. It’s true – our only hope of capturing eternity is passing on our feelings, learning to accept our transience and instilling our spirit in those left behind. But for Leda, the hope of that kind of eternity was trampled by the assumed death of her children. You can’t tell someone who’s lost children that hope rests in the people we leave behind

“I love myself more than anybody!” A lie she tells herself to feel better

This is a messy, brutal fight. The enclosed space of the lab feels like a constant concern

“Only I should be beautiful. Only I should live on!”

Leda killed the scientists who betrayed her hope

“I pity you, Leda.” Aw, Casshern said it

The array of characters here makes another tight alleyway, directing our vision towards Holter and Ringo

“We have a present for you.” What the hell, these shitty kids WERE hiding something. Leda, get back in here and wreck their shit

Aw jeez. Looks like the kids themselves were some kind of key, and now they’re going to destroy themselves to bestow Ringo with something. Even though Leda probably saw them as hypocrites, they really were ready to embrace eternity at any time

“I’ve lived for too long. Now I can finally go to sleep.” The children find peace in their own ends

The gang acquires Shiny Rock

Luna’s nanocells! They may actually have a way to stop the Ruin

Ohji elects to stay behind and study the nanocells

And Done

That was a great episode! I was extremely happy to see Leda get so much dedicated material, which I certainly wouldn’t have guessed before this episode – but as it turns out, giving characters clear passions, formative events, and motivations really helps make their stories interesting. I was actually sympathizing with Leda all through her terrorism of this episode’s strange children, and though that may just stem from my general dislike of children, it’s still a “good” sign. Plus Leda’s material was gracefully integrated into an episode that also pushed the plot significantly forward in a variety of ways. Casshern Sins is going strong!

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