As I’m watching this episode, I’m reminded of a post I wrote a long time ago. We know everything about the good guys, and yet, we know nothing about the bad guys. From a narrative point of view, this makes sense. After all, the story follows the children’s perspective, and other than Lykos, none of them should know a thing about the invaders. And yet, this sort of storytelling conceit can be ideologically dangerous from a broader, meta perspective. It can be used, for instance, to justify children taking up arms. “We have to fight! They just want to destroy our way of life! They hate us… ‘cause they ain’t us.” Seriously, though, don’t tell me it isn’t disturbing to see kids as young as possibly 4 or 5 pick up a bow, beaming as always with their cherubic smiles. They can barely enunciate, and already, they’re having to fight. But what can Suou do, right? If they don’t teach the children to kill, then they might die. They might die anyway. After all, the invaders are just faceless, heartless nobodies. Hm.
This week’s episode is the calm before storm, so it’s the perfect time to take stock and reflect. Suou isn’t blind to the fact that he’s making the children fight, but the elders’ solution, i.e. mass suicide, isn’t exactly amenable either. That old lady can accost him all she wants, but there’s no time to come up with another plan. All they can do is fight. His motivations and actions make sense within the context of the story, so I’m not quibbling with that. I’m just troubled by yet another story that opts to paint the enemy in such broad, simplistic strokes. Maybe that’ll soon change. Maybe when the special elite team infiltrates Skylos, they’ll find that their enemy has a lot more depth than they currently appear to possess. But I’m not going to get my hopes up. It’s just unfortunate that everything rests on the childrens’ shoulders. Maybe they should invest more in those wacky inventions. That pocket sand device might actually be more effective than they think.
Ouni gets a little more character development, but not really. It’s more like a backstory for his friend Nibi. We learn how he came to hang out with his current gang, and how Nibi promised to take him away from the island. Even as a kid, Ouni felt imprisoned on the island. What’s odd is how he just showed up one day. No parents, no siblings, no friends, no anything. All he had was the clothes on his back. Nobody knew who he was. How can a kid just pop up out of nowhere on such a small island? Unless the flashback is deliberating misleading us for some reason, what’s worse is that nobody seemed to care either. You’d think one of the unmarked adults would’ve taken the kid under their wing and whatnot, but I guess this island paradise is not as wonderful as it seems. In any case, Nibi was once the leader of their gang, but Ouni is such a badass, he kinda just assumed that role over the years. Not wanting to feel left behind, Nibi insists on following his buddy on the special infiltration mission. I have a feeling someone’s going to die soon.
As for our archivist, feelings are starting to deepen on Lykos’s side as they are wont to do. She clutches her heart in anguish shortly after gifting Chakuro an outfit that she had sewn herself. Unfortunately, Sami’s death is still fresh on everyone’s minds, and this includes our boy hero. And even if he didn’t have that baggage to deal with, he’s the sort of anime protagonist to be completely oblivious to a girl’s feelings unless she spells it out to him in big, bold letters. So around the final minutes of the last episode, probably. Luckily, the other young girls have taken to her, so she can always just complain to them about how Chakuro is so insensitive and blind to her feelings (if they’re still alive in a couple episodes). Boys just can’t understand a girl’s heart, am I right? But to be fair, he’s got bigger mysteries to deal with, like Neri’s supposed twin sister Ema. She makes him promise to protect the island, but refuses to answer to any of the kid’s questions. It’s not time for the audience to know yet, so um, yeah… just fly around with those fancy wings and laugh like a maniac. She always does it when nobody else is looking, so even if Chakuro tries to tell people about Ema, they’d just think he’s crazy. Ironic… considering how the girl’s definitely got a few screws loose up there.
There are other loose ends like eyepatch man treating his wife Sienna like dirt, but I know nothing about either of them, so the scene just felt kinda odd. Who are these guys and why should I start caring about them? What are the rest of the elders doing? Just living their final days in fear? Oh well, they’re not that important either. The world-building is iffy sometimes. I get it. You guys live in and around sand. Nevertheless, sand throwing looks like it could seriously damage people’s eyes and lungs. Ah, they’ll all be dead anyway. We’ll finally get some action next week, but I’m more interested in the answers.
I was hoping we’d see more of Lykos’ point of view in this episode. She wants to save the people of the Mud Whale, but her people will have to die as a result. Since she’s gaining emotions again that should be something she’s struggling with.
I think the show is only conveniently emotional. Which is a shame. Easily the best looking show of the season, but the narrative leaves so much to be desired.
It’s unfortunate that this anime doesn’t live up to its potential. It got an interesting premise and visual, but the characters and narrative just sucks.
Do the creators of this anime seriously think people will care about the world and the characters of this anime with this kind of half-assed effort? It’s like they seriously think cute anime character design automatically make people care. I can’t help but feel that no serious effort or consideration go into the creation of the story and characters of this anime.