Because I felt that this week’s episode was just a crazy mix of everything, I’m going to let loose this week and just write a jumble of thoughts. Normally I have a central thought that guides my writing, but this week I’ll try this with no structure – just a giant mind dump. Here we go!
For the three weeks that I’ve been blogging this show, I’ve been attacking it pretty hard. I’ve had almost nothing positive to say about the series, and the few paragraphs of analysis I’ve tacked on to my last post was literally a drop in the ocean of my confusion and disbelief at just how absurd the show has gotten. I had such high hopes for episode 12. This episode could go a huge way in solving the mysteries of the world, as well as providing a much deeper characterization to the key characters involved in this comedy… errr… drama… err.. yeah. Instead, only one word dominated my thought process for the majority of episode 12: HUH???
Episode 12 was a gigantic jumble of confusing monologues and random scenes that made me even more confused about the show than I already was. The beginning of the episode, I felt, was definitely the strongest part of the episode. The action scenes were great, TK was awesome as always, and the show was mostly mindless fun. I don’t know why the shadows this time around died with one shot, while in episode 11 it took a ton of bullets to kill that one shadow. Well, I’ll suspend common sense for now. After all, apparently all the shadows were everywhere else on campus. Just not where the SSS brigade members were! What a coincidence right? Anyway, I was also wondering… Did the remaining members of GirlDeMo seriously disappear after that short speech? That was much more anti-climatic than I thought, but it did emphasize a point that the series has been driving in: Move on by living in the present, not the past.
Sure it’s a rather cliché theme, and sure I think it’s naïve and I completely disagree with it, but whatever. Like I mentioned last week, the focus of the show has been on the present. The here and now of the world… for the most part. There has been a rather large disjoint between the background stories given for Naoi, Otonashi, and to a certain extent Yuri when compared to Yui or Hinata. Even still, after their backstories were presented, they were mostly left alone. There hasn’t been a reference to Naoi’s or Otonashi’s past since the episodes when their backgrounds were introduced, and that only further strengthens the idea that the show is trying to emphasize the camaraderie and the interesting times the SSS brigade is going through.
Of course, the specter that continues to haunt the show remains Yuri’s past and determination. And this week’s episode tried to expand Yuri’s character, which I believe failed miserably. Not to mention the confusing lines and monologues that seemed to come out of nowhere. I’ll just block quote one example:
Angel… No, I wonder if Kanade-chan is doing well. I should have come to understand sooner. We might have become friends, since we’re both girls. Even in this world, maybe I could have found clothes which suit her… But in the end it’s impossible. ~Mazui Subs
Huh??? I checked this translation through another fansub group, UTW, and it’s apparently accurate. I must be missing something here. Random line out of nowhere… Moving on…
One of the most important parts of the episode in terms of expanding Yuri’s character undoubtedly came from her speech while being captured by the shadow. I thought that her little speech also was a better explanation for adding onto what I was talking about in my episode 9 post. The reason why I really disliked how I thought the show was going to handle the “graduation” of the major characters was because the genius of the show has and always will remain the crazy characters that comprise the SSS brigade. Each character is defined by their past. I didn’t like the way that each character’s individual past was just brushed aside in favor of living in the present. But I digress, and that’s going into personal opinion.
But you know, the scene that really made me confused was the entirety of the conversation Yuri had with the controller of the shadows. I was expecting a far more revealing conclusion to the shadows arc than that. We learned almost nothing about the world they live in, and the entire thing brought up far more questions than it answered. Who is this mysterious programmer? The controller said that he has amnesia, so the obvious candidate is Otonashi, but he’s not an NPC. How did Kanade get her hands on the Angel Player software? What is this world? None of these questions are answered. All we know is that you can change this world based on your will.
Speaking of that, if there was something just completely unexplainable that I found in this episode, it was the “god complex” moment that Yuri experienced. A screenie so you won’t get confused as to what I’m talking about:
Where did this come from? This can’t be a ploy to deceive the controller, so the only explanation would be that Yuri actually considered being the world’s God for a moment, and that thinking of Kanade made her return to reality. Are you serious? I don’t remember Yuri ever having an inkling of power-hungriness inside of her. I don’t remember her being bipolar either. I’m just so confused. Someone help me with this.
Anyway, the biggest problem I had with the conversation was how “love” was brought into this. It was a rather strange concept to put into the show, especially thematically. The implication that the discussion on love is that in order to truly pass on from this world, you also have to forfeit your friendship and any current connections you may have. I never really thought about that implication before, and it made me dislike what Otonashi is doing and even the world that they’re placed in even more. Love is supposed to be the binding force that keeps everyone tied together, and a deep sense of camaraderie is the bond that ties the members of the SSS brigade together. To actively attempt to break those bounds seems rather cruel to me. If this world is truly meant to allow those with terrible pasts to live in the present and forgive their pasts, then I don’t see what’s wrong with letting the children experience true love – something that almost certainly never occurred in their previous lives.
Oh, and a note for people with didn’t catch it, there’s a dichotomy between the words “koi” and “ai” in Japanese. When Yuri was talking with Hitomi, she used the word “koi” to refer to Yuri’s love for Fujiwara-kun. Koi is a rather childish and perhaps even selfish or one sided love. The kind of love referred to in that fake paradise that Yuri experienced is contrasted with the “ai” that the controller talks about. Just something I found interesting.
By the way, did anyone feel super trolled by the ending given before the credits? I could have sworn for sure that Yuri would have disappeared at the end. Also, did anyone feel that Yuri’s crying sounded and looked completely fake? But whatever. I suppose the last wish she has is to be with the people who she loves. Reasonable.
Whatever. Next episode – Graduation.
I assume that the plot in that episode will be non-existent, and that we’ll leave the Angel Beats series not knowing anything about anything, and all the characters will leave the Angel Beats world simultaneously… Or they’ll leave Kanade or Yuri behind while it snows or something. Considering the rest of the show, I wouldn’t be surprised if something like that happened with no set up whatsoever.
I hope you enjoyed my emulation of the Angel Beats writers! If it wasn’t chaotic enough, I apologize. I’m just not as good as them.