Children of the Whales Ep. 9: Whale-hunting

Ooh, no OP this week. Does this mean we’ll get right down to business? Sort of. Ideally, this episode should only focus on the following: Ouni’s awakening, the fall of Skylos, and the aftermath. But I guess at some point, J.C. Staff realized they came up roughly four minutes short of a full episode. As a result, we get a throwaway scene featuring a pair of underdeveloped characters. The only thing I know about Kuchiba is that he had feelings for the late Lady Taisha. He has no thymia, so he’s kind of useless. As for Masoo, I actually can’t remember who he is at all. I’m sorry, but the show has too many characters. That’s fine, but they don’t all need the spotlight. It’s okay to keep a few them firmly in the background. Anyway, these two briefly share the stage as they discover that their enemies are really just pitiful child soldiers. That doesn’t stop Masoo from murdering one in cold blood, though. Negative emotions aren’t necessarily bad for us, but vengeance is probably one that we can do without. Probably. But enough about these nobodies! Let’s get back to the main attraction!

We return to Skylos where the bad guys have the good guys cornered. The enemy commander (again, these characters are too unmemorable for me to remember their names) tosses a sword at his bald henchman, and the latter proceeds to deliver a few painful blows to Ouni’s body. What are they attempting to do? Awaken the daimon inside him? Seeing no reaction, however, Baldie thinks to himself: “The daimons of Falaina… I suppose they were just a superstition.” Oooh, the show is so predictable, it hurts. We all know what’s going to happen next. You know it, I know it, we all know it: in order for hero characters like Ouni to awaken to their true powers, there must always be a sacrifice. Someone close to them must always die a painful death. And guess who’s still alive… that’s right! It’s Nibi. Who better to kill off than the hero’s best friend! Once Nibi is dying in his arms, you’re guaranteed to activate Ouni’s s-cel-… eh, thymia.

So that’s exactly what happens. Nibi shows up and says a few brave words. For some reason, the enemy soldiers stand completely still and do nothing during the kid’s mini-speech. I guess when a nous ate their emotions, it ate their common sense as well. As a result, Ouni and Nibi proceed to kick ass for a short while. Even Baldie bites the dust. What happened to all the soldiers with guns? I thought everyone else was ambushed with guns. Did they run out of bullets or something? No matter. Once Nibi’s gotten his extremely short time in the spotlight, it’s time for him to die tragically. So right on cue, the enemy commander conveniently takes out a gun and shoots the kid in the back. Surprise, surprise… Ouni goes SSJ all daimon on us. You’re not supposed to be able to use your thymia powers in and around the nous, but Ouni starts cutting everyone up with purple blades of… thymia? It’s kinda like the conclusion to Carrie, I guess, but less interesting somehow. It’s less interesting because you generally only have two options as an anime character who’s gone mad. You can either completely ham it up and overact, or you can just stand there emotionless with those empty eyes. Guess which one Ouni opts for.

Eventually, Ouni’s destructive power reaches the nous, and the little girl equivalent to Ema is cut down. All of a sudden, those same fluorescent arms that we had seen on Falaina in last week’s episode explodes out of this nous and takes over the entire enemy ship. The floor, the walls, the ceiling — everything is now covered with… something that resembles underwater sea fauna? That’s the best description I can come up with. Visually, this part of the anime is legitimately pretty darn impressive. I gotta give credit where credit’s due, and Children of the Whales has always been a splendor to behold. Well, for a TV anime anyways.

On the other hand, the storytelling continues to be iffy. In the real world, Ouni has passed out. But in a dream world — or maybe a plane that exists between life and the afterlife — he gets to have one final conversation with Nibi before ultimately saying his goodbyes. The latter confesses that he was actually happy to stay on Falaina with all his friends. Unlike Ouni, he doesn’t feel as though their lives are empty unless they could escape the mud whale and see the outside world. Hearing this, our hero can’t help but admit that his friends mean a lot to him too. It’s the ol’ existential affirmation: if life feels meaningless, go out there and create your own meaning. Is Ouni really talking to Nibi’s spirit, though? Or is this his guilt playing tricks on a fevered mind? The guy is unconscious, after all. Ah well, it doesn’t really matter in the end. Anyway, this should’ve been an emotionally charged scene, but it doesn’t work. Children of the Whales hasn’t done the legwork, so there’s no payoff. We’ve only just gotten to really know Nibi about two episodes ago. Hell, the story has kinda rushed Ouni’s backstory in general, so the only reaction I have is apathy. I don’t care about any of these characters.

After that is done and over with, the focus finally turns to Chakuro. He’s about to escape Skylos with the remaining survivors, but the little magical girl (it might be a boy) shows up with a deal to offer. Introducing herself as Olivines, she wants Chakuro to sacrifice all the emotions of Falaina’s people in exchange for a kokalo, which looks like some kind of magical seashell. According to the girl, the kokalo will allow Falaina to advance to a new stage. First, why would we believe anything Olivines has to say? Its nous is about to die, so you can probably assume that the girl is desperate. Second, Chakuro has no clue what it means for Falaina to advance to a new stage. Is it a good thing? How can he be sure? Anyway, as the two of them are talking, Chakuro finds himself in some sort of surreal space filled with sand, giant clock faces, and equally giant books. This is probably not an actual space at all; Olivines is likely just feeding him delusions.

After all, when Chakuro is reluctant to accept the offered deal, the girl makes him see made up memories. The argument here is that, again, negative emotions are bad. Let’s just erase them and keep the good ones! The good ones aren’t authentic, but they make you feel good! And oh yeah, you’ll also have to forget everyone and everything associated with the negative emotions. So uh, your dead girlfriend’s gonna have to go. Naturally, Chakuro would never accept such a deal. So in the end, Olivines relents and gives the kid the kokalo anyway. Why? Cause she wants to see what results Chakuro’s decision will lead to. Uh-huh. Again, why should we trust her? What if this is a trick? What if handing Ema the kokalo will spell doom for Falaina? But Chakuro’s naive, so he seems to eagerly stick the mysterious seashell under his tunic for safe-keeping.

As the good guys make their way back to Falaina, it almost feels like a happy ending… but the anime series isn’t over yet. There’s still unfinished business with Lykos’s brother anyway.

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2 Replies to “Children of the Whales Ep. 9: Whale-hunting”

  1. I wish this anime is much more over-the-top and camp. It’s almost a parody of its ilk. What a shame. It could be the best comedy of this season.

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