Casshern Sins – Episode 18

Let’s gather round for some Casshern Sins! Last episode was a pretty crucial one for the series – not only did it basically set Casshern on a direct, overt quest to save this world, it also provided critical context for Leda’s character. Leda is no longer the show’s most threadbare central pillar, and now actually feels like a pretty reasonable person. I’m still not really sold on Dio’s conflict, but everything else here is resolving Casshern Sins’ apocalyptic storytelling in suitably mythic fashion. The old man has received the key, and now Casshern must journey to find the truth about Luna. Let’s head out!

Episode 18

Distinctive, skewed shot of children running across a natural blue shoreline. We rarely get a deep blue like this for water, but any sense of normalcy is undercut by the ominous angle of the shot, like these kids are slipping off the world

“We have to protect her.” More of Luna’s “children?” Ringo in particular has been a continuous symbol of hope and renewal in Casshern Sins, and now it seems like children in general are going to embody that role in a narrative sense as well. These faux-children all offering clues to a happy future

Repeating their one line like a prayer. This show sure loves its repetition

Holy crap. Heavily filtered live action photographs, framed as if they’re coming from a time long ago. We are going places!

What the heck am I supposed to make of this!? Eighteen episodes in, we get some fragments of live action footage? Whaaa

“The Time I’ve Lived and the Time I Have Left”

It’s been a little while since I’ve watched Casshern Sins – I forgot how intricate the textures are in this show. In contrast with something like Ojamajo Doremi’s “felt” backgrounds, which create an impression of softness and comfort, the rocks here are filled in with splatters of paint and sharp lines, creating a sense of conflict even in the base elements of the terrain

Lyuze: “I’ve been dreaming lately, over and over. And it’s always more or less the same dream.” Tumbling, discordant piano keys accompany her confession

Lyuze’s dead sister urges her to kill Casshern. Her programming, or something else?

Nice match cut of Lyuze sinking into the sea segueing into this child falling on the beach

And it’s the exact same scenario as the episode’s opening, creating a sense of cyclical fate or entrapment. This whole episode has felt even more dreamlike than Casshern Sins’ usual fare – Lyuze seems to be fighting through a nightmare landscape, where even the earth itself rises up to stop her

“We’ll watch over Luna forever and ever.” Yeah, as I expected. This show is stuffed with creepy quasi-children

“Lyuze, kill Casshern.” Ah, this is Lyuze and her sister as children. So is this the dream?

The line “kill Casshern” is contrasted against Lyuze’s sister slicing through sand with a spade, creating an unnerving implication of violence

Her sister briefly creates “Luna,” but her accomplishment is washed away by the tide. Luna remains stranded between hope and reality

This episode’s structure is wonderful. Casshern Sin’s style of storytelling naturally lends itself to this kind of passing-between-dreams setup, and it’s already clear through match cuts and repetition the relationship between current Lyuze’s feelings and this repeated dream

Ah, Liza was Lyuze’s sister’s name

“Do you pity me?” This dream’s Casshern only stares, offering no answer

She kills this Casshern, and the body is her sister’s

“Waking up” is dramatically aligned with the blurred photographs. Discovering the true reality

Some great use of color here. We get brief spurts of brilliant colors, but only in the aftermath of great violence. The world briefly acquires a vitality and resonance at the moment of death

“Casshern’s hand pierced my chest. My chest is burning…” Between the visual framing, music, and ambiguous nature of the dialogue, “destruction” is here framed almost as an act of love, or at least intimacy

The character acting in this scene is terrific. There’s really not much animation, but Lyuze’s expression shifts and little physical gestures still capture the romance of this moment

And now she doesn’t want to wake up from the dream

More sparing use of gorgeous colors

Casshern up on a tower, the most direct of metaphors

This dream Casshern cannot answer Lyuze’s questions for her

Some wonderfully decrepit buildings here. Details like the chain link fence and water tower make this feel much more like a realistic human city than the fantastical places we’ve visited. Perhaps that ties into the photograph

This episode is certainly stuck on one idea. When a show as dreamy as Casshern Sins has a “dream episode,” I guess that’s what happens

Now Lyuze appears in these grayscale memories, passing judgment on Casshern’s deeds

Is this secretly a recap episode?

More artifacts that bring to mind an actual real-life city – street markings, fire hydrants

Lyuze sees a vision of herself naked with Casshern. C’mon Lyuze, your crush may have murdered your sister and destroyed the world, but that’s all ancient history, and he doesn’t even remember it. YOU TWO NEED TO GET TOGETHER

A suspicious man appears. “I’ll grant you your wish.” His words lend a sense of impropriety to Lyuze’s new desires, like it’s a sin to embrace her current feelings

It feels like Lyuze is simultaneously living out all possible directions she could go from here, and idly shifting between them as she glances between selves

Once again, sex and violence directly conflated

“The blood that flows out of men…”

“If I were human, would I recognize what these emotions are?”

“I’m in love with Casshern.” SHE SAID IT

“My sins…”

It is a rare show that can get away with this much dream-logic

Liza arrives with the rain, seemingly to grant Lyuze her blessing

This fighting seems joyous now. Lyuze has resolved herself

“Will I also fall to Ruin?” I guess that really depends on how metaphorical the Ruin decides to be. If hope and a reason to live are the true escapes from Ruin, you’ve certainly got those!

“Farewell” with a smile

And Done

Huh! That was certainly an interesting episode. I guess I gotta expect Casshern Sins to devote a full episode to Lyuze resolving her contradictory feelings, and I think this one handled that as well as I could reasonably expect. I really liked the ways this episode transitioned smoothly through the different phases of Lyuze’s feelings, even if an episode stuck in her head also compounded the show’s issues regarding pacing and narrative repetition. But Casshern Sins is Casshern Sins, and I think this episode successfully sold Lyuze’s new sense of closure. I’m not expecting six straight episodes of Casshern and Lyuze being lovey-dovey now, but, y’know, I wouldn’t mind

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