Casshern Sins – Episode 24

At last, it’s time for the final episode of Casshern Sins. Casshern’s long journey has taken him through countless miles of wasteland, and introduced him to dozens of people who’ve all shaped his view on the world. From not understanding his past or his purpose, Casshern has come to terms with his own nature, and learned to appreciate the beauty of our finite existence. Casshern has met and rejected Luna, and gained friends who’ve come to love him for who he is. Outside of Casshern himself, Lyuze, Ringo, and Ohji all seem to have found a kind of peace in this world, while even Dio and Leda have come to understand themselves. The final figures of the old world, Luna and Braiking Boss, now stand as sentinels over the new. Let’s see where this story ends.

Episode 24

Beginning right where we left off, with Braiking Boss and Luna facing down at the end of everything. Casshern Sins’ signature too-close portrait shots lead us in

“Luna has stopped the Ruin with a life that even eternity couldn’t contain”

“Is this the will of God?” Braiking Boss seems to be the only character who can imagine a higher power outside of Luna

Luna’s tower seems to have changed its geography

Now Braiking Boss and Luna seem to be working together. Though Braiking Boss doesn’t really “work with” anyone – he mostly just lurks around them and mutters cryptically

Luna’s healing seems to be hurting her even more now

Having seen the whole series, the opening song pretty directly interrogates the show’s core questions – the value of existence, and how we can find meaning in our relationships with others

“To the Wandering, Blooming Flowers.” The flowers have solidified into an icon of honest hope, ephemeral life surviving in the Ruin. This episode seems dedicated to all the creatures that still live in this world

We open the episode proper with shells on a beach and Ringo, a callback to the events of the very first episode

And then she finds a flower surviving on the edge of a cliff, life prevailing in the harshest conditions

This episode is even more dedicated to Casshern Sin’s hyper-closeups than usual. It’s a very effective style

Lyuze and Casshern are actually raising flowers now, literally growing hope of their own

“More will bloom next season.” Lyuze has dreams of the future. The flowers give them a continuing purpose, perhaps the only way to truly subvert the Ruin

“Ohji is researching fertilizer.” D’aw, that old crabapple

Jeez this place is beautiful. And so suffused with light

Lyuze and Casshern sure are doing a lot of smiling this episode

Oh no Lyuze is collapsing goddamnit

Casshern princess carries Lyuze to the sea. This is a good show

Ohji also seems to be falling apart. Shots of Ringo’s vitality and the bright blue sea are contrasted against Ohji’s shadowed cabin and hunched figure

These shots of his cabin are just as gorgeous as the shots of the flower garden, though. So many alluring details

Oh no, has Ohji finally passed away? He gets a final speech about his love for Ringo, and then this long, tragic pan as Ringo describes her favorite things. The building fades into bright colors as the pan continues, as if we’re mirroring his own fading from consciousness

Meanwhile, over at Luna’s place it’s all suffering and death. “Keep the Ruin away from me!”

We’re getting some very fluid animation for this finale. Luna almost over-emotes her disgust at being touched by the Ruin

It’s a very intentionally sharp contrast, of course – Ohji dies peacefully, surrounded by the people he loves, because he was willing to accept his life’s end. These robots die in terror, pleading with a woman who wants nothing to do with them

“Death is a tainted evil. I must destroy it.” “But destroying death is death in and of itself.” Don’t give me your semantics, old man

A very strong contrast between Luna’s tiny, white-themed body and Braiking Boss’s massive, shapeless black cloak

Lyuze is having even more trouble walking. Carefully animated closeups of her hands and feet demonstrate the clumsiness of her body now. It’s difficult to watch

Lyuze now wants to live, paradoxically, because she was able to find a happy life by accepting this world, and making the best of it in their garden

THEY BETTER NOT KILL LYUZE GODDAMNIT

And back to Luna, ensconced in her blue cocoon. As before, Casshern is associated with the red of blood and vitality, while Luna is associated with the blue of water and Ruin

It looks like we’re reenacting a version of the time Casshern first killed Luna, this time for the sake of Lyuze

Luna’s defenders pour out. One last battle

Ringo and Friender wait silently for his return, guarding what appears to be Lyuze’s grave. What can Casshern possibly do now?

“If you forget death, why do you forget life as well?” That’s a more convincing way to frame Casshern’s conviction than his prior attempts

Braiking Boss finally makes his entrance

“There’s no reason to fight you anymore, but I bear responsibility for the ones I brought here.” Braiking Boss truly does have a kingly perspective on life and death. He is consistently willing to bear the responsibility of leading his subjects into action, taking their suffering as a weight upon himself

Braiking Boss’s movements are slow, sturdy, and fluid. He leads Casshern into a fight fought at his pace

I like this episode’s habit of conveying shading through very loose, wild linework. It’s unsurprising that they’re pulling out all the visual stops for the finale, but it’s still very nice to see

Terrific shot of Casshern crashing into the wall of Luna’s tower. The blue and crimson color scheme are giving this fight a real apocalyptic tenor

“Meddling with life and death made this world go mad”

Casshern defeats Braiking Boss. He makes one last request: “Kill Luna, and her alone.” Loyal to his subjects to the very end

And so we return to the very beginning, with Casshern storming Luna’s castle, preparing to kill the woman who has defeated death

Luna now framed as a mix of deep blue and red, the colors aligned at last

Casshern at last accepts his role as the avatar of death. Casshern has been framed as a figure of death all through this series, and after initially railing against it, he sought Luna to prove his own innocence. Having met Luna and realized he believes life loses meaning without death, he at last embraces the role that was once thrust upon him. If the people of this world forget death, he will return, and prove that life is beautiful precisely because it exists in the shadow of death

“Casshern became the death of those who do not know death.”

Grown-up Ringo! RINGO LIVES

“I think I became the first to gain a life that will someday end in death.” Luna and Casshern’s initial meeting, and their crossing of blood, corrupted the relationship between life and death. Ringo represents the escape from that era

And Done

It truly is done. That was just as climactic, and even more tragic, than I could have expected. We lost Lyuze, we lost Ohji, we lost Braiking Boss… even Casshern ultimately walked away, content to wander the world as the absent specter of death. And yet, all of these lovely characters came to terms with their own nature, and ended their journeys in a place of happiness and peace. Casshern Sins was at times a difficult journey, and its rambling narrative experienced highs and lows along the way. But in the end, this show was a singular, gorgeous, heartfelt, and infinitely memorable thing. Casshern Sins will stay with me.

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