A somewhat light weekend edition due to the lack of any Kakegurui or Ballroom e Youkoso!. Note that the former did have a 5.5 episode, which is a look back on the show’s events so far with comment from the seiyuu. I haven’t watched it, but if I do and find interesting things, I’ll make sure to mention them next time a “proper” episode airs. With this out of the way, let’s get into the three shows I watched for this AniDiary entry!
Centaur no Nayami
I was rather pleased – although sometimes slightly disturbed – by this entry. The part about the film was interesting because it tackled the issue of negative and discriminatory clichés: the Antarcticians were being discriminated against through misrepresentative movies which created misconceptions about them among the human population. When they watch the movie, our main Antarctician is clearly annoyed by the misrepresentation; and at the end of the day, Hime was capable of learning and became enthusiastic about getting along with her new friend. Furthermore, the explanations that came afterwards the movie were interesting, and even cleared up some of the misunderstandings our protagonists held. Genuine, open-minded interaction helps create a more inclusive environment; this may be a somewhat overoptimistic vision, but a pleasant one to see indeed. As for the news involving the Antarctic with the United States, it’s somewhat unclear what exactly happened, but there’s a nice criticism of guilt by association when they dissociate their friend from the incident. The ending implies that we still have stuff to learn, but the mood is good and the relationship between Hime’s group and the Antarctician has visibly improved.
Overall, this was one of the less fluffy and more straightforward episodes in tackling issues of discrimination; this is definitely the type of stuff I’d expect from Centaur no Nayami when it’s not busy being all cute and weird. A good episode that shows the series at its best.
Hitorijime My Hero
As expected, Setagawa can’t run away anymore: the first part shows a lot of him being depressed over his inability to forget his kiss with Kousuke. Yet the introspection comes mostly from the teacher himself, who reveals his attraction for his student. It’s an interesting thing, almost a reversal in positions: Kousuke, who’d always shown himself as a distant teacher willing to take the lead and torment Setagawa, shows his vulnerability here. As a high school student who’d accepted Setagawa into the house, he’d found himself disturbed by his attraction toward the young boy, and left the house partly to escape these feelings. Although they’re supposed to be teacher and student, it’s sometimes hard to remind myself of this: the one disturbing display of age difference comes during the flashbacks, as Setagawa looked really young back then. At any rate, Kousuke has to realize what he’s doing, instead of denying the consequences of his behavior toward Setagawa, as his friends point out; and since the boy’s been found by his old “pals”, Kousuke will have to reenact the goold ol’ days when he became Setagawa’s hero, which may lead to interesting developments. Hitorjime My Hero remains a nice show even in its slower moments, and I’ll be looking forward to what’s next.
Made in Abyss
I don’t have much to say about this episode, as it’s mostly exploration through the second level of the Abyss, some of which is hard to interpret for now (how will the weakening of the curse as one goes farther from the center of the abyss come into play?). However, there were still a couple of details which struck me.
First was Regu’s newfound ability, which provokes a shocked reaction from him. He’d had always been treated as an interesting little thing; his inoffensiveness being underlined by the treatment reserved to him, notably when his precious parts got stared at with a blush as his only reply. Yet here, he shows destructive potential for the first time. This is a slightly surprising bit as it puts a halt to my candid impression of him: all of a sudden he loses some innocence, and this raises further questions as to the nature of the beast.
I felt mixed about this moment of the realization, however: on the one hand, I was interested in what could come out of Regu discovering his potentially brutal nature, on the other hand I was somewhat stopped in this excitement by Riko’s happiness. Hopefully this isn’t simply brushed aside: the struggle for survival aside, it’d be nice if the show didn’t go on without any questioning of its protagonist’s violent possibilities (especially so as, being a robot, it means someone designed him that way and that there’s a purpose behind this decision).
The other detail was obviously the meat. As other pieces have pointed out, Made in Abyss’ world is steeped in the legends of those who died exploring the abyss: Riko and Regu notice this as they eat the meat of animals that have, in the past, devoured more than one explorer. They seem to easily accept the fact, however; even Regu, who is clearly foreign to this acceptance of death (and, one may say, admiration for its hypothetical heroic value), ends up eating the meat after a quick mention that some of his nightmarish visions are mere routine in for the explorers. This is a disturbing element for sure; one that makes me wonder if I wouldn’t like to see the characters questioning the setting’s status quo. Maybe Regu’s realization is a first step toward this? Riko has clearly accepted that death is her fate, and the only hope is a hypothetical posthumous legend. Beyond her individual behavior, her positive rapport to this meat is striking for the greater implications it holds: the fantasy that the dead “give strength” to the current explorers by way of this meat is a poor way of hiding a cruel reality that strikes all those born around the abyss. And yet, people like Riko can’t question any of this, having been educated that way. But Regu can do help bring these questions to the table, which is why I’m hoping he doesn’t brush that aside as well.
The ending was an exciting one, and I’m looking forward to meeting the first white whistle. Made in Abyss remains a mysterious world, one full of elements I can’t help but question; hopefully the show will bring enough answers to satisfy me.
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