Casshern Sins – Episode 19

Let’s return to Casshern Sins. It’s been a while since the last episode, at least on my end, but I’m very happy to get back to it. The last two episodes were both important ones for the series, cementing both Leda and Lyuze’s characters while also pushing us towards show’s endgame in concrete ways. I’m a little worried for Ringo’s sake, but otherwise happy to see the show revealing a few more of its secrets. Casshern Sins has generally been at its best when embracing episodic storytelling, but much of the relative weakness of the main narrative has come down to the fact that it’s been so cryptically illustrated that it’s really hard to hold on to anything. With Leda’s goals becoming clear and Casshern’s friends having clear objectives of their own, that’s now less of a problem, and the events of these upcoming episodes will hopefully land with more impact. But hey, this is only episode nineteen, so there may be some episodic stragglers yet. Let’s get right to it!

Episode 19

Opening with rain falling on a field of flowers. Water and flowers are two of Casshern Sins’ most persistent motifs, with each of them possessing a degree of ambiguity. Water is often tied to renewal or rebirth, and blue water in particular reflects the vivid past, but it’s also been used to imply the rust of machines, and how this world naturally works to tear them down. Flowers, on the other hand, are closely tied to Ringo, representing both hope for the future and also a kind of fragility. There are few images in this world that are unambiguously positive

Rain makes the flowers grow, though. The images kinda counterbalance each other

“Casshern’s eternity… my Ruin.” Lyuze reflecting on the doomed nature of her love. C’mon Lyuze, everything is doomed here, at least find some joy where you can

Lyuze’s face, in one of those signature Yamauchi hyper-closeups. The crumbling metal blows across her face, echoing the same point

God, this show’s backgrounds are gorgeous

“Believe in the Flower that Lives in your Heart.” The episode title makes the flower’s significance as a symbol of hope absolutely clear. Even if this world can no longer support flowers, they can still live on

The texture of these backgrounds is so detailed. Having just watched Yamauchi’s Penguindrum episode, that too seems like a marker of his style

The ground itself is crumbling

Nice composition of Lyuze falling into Casshern’s arms. Lyuze is aligned diagonally with the edge of the cliff, while Casshern is standing straight upright, emphasizing his strength in the face of the world

Instead of pushing away from him, Lyuze actually smiles at this, and acknowledges this is a difficult path. Learning to be vulnerable is its own kind of strength

It’s Ringo who actually discovers the castle

A new character appears, and is introduced staring at her own reflection

It seems like she’s in a battle with a giant knight. She seems totally unconcerned, implying she’s quite powerful. Her graceful body is contrasted against his sturdy limbs in a series of hyper-closeups, again making a strange geography of their forms

Her design is all smooth lines ending in sharp points, an effectively menacing choice. Her hair in particular, framing her eyes, makes her seem naturally dangerous

Ah, seems like the knight and girl are allies

It’s been a while since I watched this show. I forgot how much of it was composed of people staring moodily at each other

Love this classic duelist shot of the new girl setting her foot against the ground before charging

I really like how this woman moves. All of her attacks are part of large, looping swings that carry her full body through. The animation is just good enough to convey her consistently fluid movements

Her eyes have no pupils, making her seem that much more menacing

“There’s no meaning in fighting you.” Is she like Dio, then?

“You can’t even live without someone to protect you.”

Once again, the geography of the background is matched with the lines of the characters to create a greater sense of impact. It’s as if the rocks of this bridge are conspiring with this woman

The animation of this sequence is all very fluid. It’s a nice change

Also really happy Lyuze is getting a chance to demonstrate she’s just as important and self-driven as Casshern, even if she’s currently getting the shit beaten out of her

The whole color scheme changes when Lyuze mounts her counterattack. Some Monogatari shit here

Both Casshern and Lyuze feel sympathy for their opponents

Once again, Ringo is tied to the water

Ringo tells a story of a hydra that couldn’t die, and Lyuze says she’s jealous of the monster. Obviously echoing her feelings towards Casshern

Beating that woman seems to have reminded Lyuze even more of her mortality. She sinks backwards into the water, the place of rebirth

“I thought the Ruin wouldn’t matter if I took revenge on Casshern. So why do I feel this way?” Forgiving and falling in love with Casshern has given her a reason to live. She previously possessed the same kind of certainty that blessed Dio with an army – the certainty of desperation, certainty that there is nothing else to live for. But hope and love are cruel things. They make us want to fight on, even when it’s impossible

But in the midst of her despair, they come across a field of flowers

“I can’t believe there’s still a place like this left”

“It may be a fairy with feathers on her instead of a monster”

This place is beautiful, but this music is so menacing. What is Lyuze thinking?

She can feel herself rusting, and is returning to that fever dream state. These butterflies echo her sense of being overwhelmed

She collapses, and awakes back in the cave

“We should wait until this rain stops.” And the rain is again associated with Ruin

“I’m just worried about you.” FRIGGIN’ KISS ALREADY. OH MY GOD YOU TWO

“If there is no salvation left for me…”

Oh god, a part of her neck falls off. LYUZE NO

And now she attacks him. Jeez. Either forcing him to kill her, or trying to return to the certainty she once had

“Am I just to wait for the Ruin, without even being able to fight?” For these robots programmed to battle, that feels like such a sad and meaningless death

“Am I unable to see what becomes of these feelings and of you?” NOOOO. YOU WILL LIVE, GODDAMNIT

“If nothing else, release me from this pain.”

He accepts her blade with an open palm. He accepts all of her

“How many times did I feel the same way?”

YES. HUG. KISS

The woman from the opening returns to tie a thematic bow on this episode, with Lyuze pledging to live for her sake. That’s thematically nice, but goddamnit, she interrupted such a good moment

And Done

Holy shit did that episode have me stressing. Lyuze is my favorite character in this show, and I absolutely love her relationship with Casshern, and I WOULD NOT ACCEPT the show killing her here. We’ve lost too many good robots, goddamnit. Fortunately, the entire dramatic thrust of this episode was “Lyuze finds a reason to live until the end,” so I can’t really see the show killing her off for a while yet now. You’re tearing at my heart here, Casshern Sins. I can’t take much more of this.

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2 thoughts on “Casshern Sins – Episode 19

  1. Reading this post put a huge smile on my face as these last two eps were some of my favorite back when i was watching the show. Lyuze is my favorite character so it’s nice to see someone else highlight my thoughts exactly to why that is and why she’s so compelling to watch; especially with the directorial acumen on display within these past two eps

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