Hi, I’m the new THAT blogger. My own anime blog is here. I like anime. A lot. Now I am going to write about it.
Originally, I was scared that the series wasn’t going to get subbed because it was so radically different from mainstream anime. So I was ecstatic when I found out that Ureshii and Froth-Bite has picked up the series. The amount of time and effort they put into their work is remarkable and it really shows through the excellent quality and wonderful subs in Kaiba. A big thank you to the people over at Ureshii and F-B subs. And now onto the spoils of their hard labor.
Short summary: The series is about a boy who wakes up in a strange world without any memories of who he is or how he ended up there. The only clue to his lost memories is a locket with the picture of a girl inside. This series has been described as a romantic sci-fi. I think it’s the best thing since I discovered Nutella.
Kaiba really took the concept of classism and ran with it. The stated facts are: the rich live above the clouds, the poor live underground. Now what about that ominous purple cloud separating them? A cloud is a cloud, a cloud is not a wall because a wall is something that is impenetrable. But a cloud is just water droplets in the air, just soft wetness on your skin. It is not a physical obstruction. But it’s still there as a perceived entity taking up space in your awareness along with all of your doubts and reservations. Now how do we get through this meta-barrier?
Villager X proposes that they fly there on a hot air balloon. But their makeshift, patchwork hot air balloon is what it is, just hot air, hasty goals, and clumsy dreams. There is no point in making it to the surface and then forgetting who you are or why you wanted to go there in the first place.
Let’s see if Warp will have more luck with that in the future.
In Japanese culture, purple signifies royalty and wealth, and is worn in different shades by the various characters who chase after Warp. During the scenes where they are in the club, the purple is volatile and so unnatural when meshed with green that it violates the eyes, forces you to see a world in infrared, a stark contrast to the earthly colors of the underground (clay grey, mud brown). The color schema here suggests that the rich are the abnormal beings because they are the ones who seek to bypass death and violate the order of nature. Whereas the poor live underground, so close to the earth, among the mud and dirt, that they themselves are extensions of nature. But beware of this natural vs unnatural binary because the world of Kaiba as a whole functions on very different standards and values from our world, intentionally so in order to encourage out-of-the-box reflection on our own societal norms. Therefore what is unnatural to us, may actually be ordinary to them, and that’s what makes the prospect of it so horrifying. That something so cold and so UGLY (like the harvesting of human bodies, like Neo-slavery) could be normalized.
I found the scene with the faces on the wheels extremely disturbing. Because of an individual’s debts, the whole family unit must collectively suffer for it. The face of the adolescent girl who said, “I want to fall in love,” the lack of privacy and the constant struggle to talk over each other and be heard, the future of little Momo who can’t even speak yet, all of these individual dreams and ambitions have been compromised by of the lack of a physical human body to carry them out.
My initial reaction to the people who shook their heads and walked away from the wheel, the same people who decided not to put big brother’s memories back in his body because he was a burden on them, was that they were cold fuckers. But then I finished the episode. And then I mentally kicked myself, really hard, for being such a high-minded bitch. It’s so easy to look down on those who are lower than you and condemn them for lacking in human compassion and empathy, for being something less than human. It’s so easy to ignore their circumstances and say that they deserve their plight because they don’t have the luxury of being generous or kind when there is a whole network of institutions in place that create these horrible circumstances. It’s not that people don’t give a fuck, it’s because they don’t know how they could possible help with their own hands tied behind their backs. People are just trying to make do with their own lot, and it must be hard when you live in a giant mud pie and the rich are after your body.
This girl is the epitome of perpetual discontent. She has the nice body, she wears the cool colors, but she’s still unhappy. Why is that? Does her discontentment hint at the problematics of wealth and beauty, that maybe those two things don’t exactly equate to happiness? Or maybe she’s just a greedy little girl who doesn’t acknowledge there are so many other people worse off than her, because at least she has the freedom to pursue the things that makes her happy even if she keeps failing. I think it’s interesting that her pursuit of happiness entails the changing of bodies. Her failure thus far indicates that her discontentment transcends the physical, that’s it’s something inherent within her and it follows her around as she keeps trying on different bodies. It’s vexing and heartbreaking and it’s all in your head.
The notion of being able to preserve memories and transfer them into different bodies is profoundly interesting to me. The idea that you will not end with death, that something so fundamental to you will live on after the rest is gone, will still exist in this world without the prospect of an afterlife. What a mind-fuck.
I give Kaiba two thumbs up for being able to convey and facilitate the multiple discourses that I have barely touched on in just the first episode. Looking forward to the rest of the series. I am not an episodic blogger, so I won’t write on every episode. But I will most likely post more editorials on Kaiba in the future. Thank you for reading. Do comment.