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Grisaia no Kajitsu – 11

「エンジェリック・ハウルII」 (Enjerikku Hauru II)
“Angelic Howl II”

I was all planning to talk about the way Japanese handle horror compared to the West and discuss the way Angelic Howl portrays the erosion of the psyche etc, etc, but then my thought process gets completely derailed by surprisingly steamy episode of Grisaia no Kajitsu. I guess it’s actually a good sign; with more episodes of Angelic Howl than any other route, it seems that the staff feel that they have the time to build a stronger rapport between Kazuki and Amane. A rapport, and perhaps something more. We’re seeing the beginnings of the transformation of the awkward, introverted Suou Amane into the crazy glomp monster that she is today.

It’s only skinship

Despite all the cute blushing our two heroines were doing this episode, I’m not entirely convinced that they have the One True Yuri Love going on here, though it’s never easy to tell. The thing is, right now Amane is in very vulnerable emotional state, and will imprint onto anything. The collected Kazuki is her rock, and Amane becomes increasingly reliant on Kazuki’s stability. Amane’s complete dependency on Kazuki combined with Kazuki’s alleged devotion to Amane’s safety makes the relationship feel almost maternal (alternatively, I’ve been blogging too much Mushishi). It’s interesting that now at Mihama Academy, Amane tends to play a maternal role herself; she does tend to baby Yuuji. Or she could just be Kazami-sexual. It could be anything.

We are what we eat

Eating dog is not taboo in all areas of the world. In particular, in poorer, rural communities, protein is protein. The difference between a domesticated dog and a domesticated pig, really, is how much attachment we allow ourselves to form with them. Sure, a cow’s not going to play fetch with you but I’m sure if you spend enough time nurturing your pig you’ll feel bad eating it too. Watch Gin no Saji, folks. It’s educational.

I don’t blame any of the girls for shying from butchering poor Alione though. It’s not wrong to feel attachment to animals, when we care for them like our own. But we must admit that having a pet simply for the sake of companionship is a relative luxury, and not one that everyone can afford. From a pragmatic standpoint, the dog should have been put down from the start. Weighing between a human life and an animal life, the ethical choice weighs towards the human every time. Hence animal testing. The useless little lapdog never had a chance. I found its death and funeral rites one of the more powerful scenes of this anime, as it neatly summarised the twelve days of struggle the girls have gone through. Being able to care for a pet is a luxury, and as with other luxuries like a soft bed or basic hygiene, it is brutally stripped away. Remember, these are not hardened survivalists. These are just young girls. They’ve been brought up within the comforts of civilisation, and those comforts form a part of what they are. Losing them so violently is a dehumanising experience.

Peeking outside the garden ~ looking ahead

I’m pleased that we’re getting all this time for Angelic Howl, because I feel that it needs it even more than the other routes. The essence of Angelic Howl is oppression, and its slow grind on the psyche over time. The deterioration of the camp’s conditions, the loss of hope and vitality and the slow but inexorable descent as recorded in Amane’s diary needs to be played with care. Some of the girls are already losing their will. Kazuki’s role as the sole competent becomes more and more pronounced, but since we’ve only seen her from Amane’s point of view she is still, in ways, inscrutable. Amane trusts her unconditionally. It’s usually not healthy to trust anyone unconditionally. But there are very few sources of faith left.

I hope that the budget is going to last us, because it already looks like it’s running out. There was actually relatively little actual animation this episode, just a lot of pans (look how many full-lengths I took!) and I would prefer to believe it to be a sign they’re saving for something big rather than the wallet drying up. Despite the tight budget, though, I still think Angelic Howl is shaping up relatively well. I’m assuming it concludes next episode, and I can imagine various ways it can be done. I’m looking forward to seeing how Part III plays out.

 

Full-length images: 01, 07, 08, 11, 15, 17, 19, 24, 32, 35.

 

End Card

December 15, 2014 at 10:51 am
21 comments »
  • December 15, 2014 at 11:24 amKabble

    Dunno if there simply was no care for the previous characters, or the lack of Yuuji makes for a good story, but the narration for Angelic Howl is significantly better than everything before it. These last two episodes have had more depth than the ones that came before and it’s a lot more believable too.
    Me like…
    Still, can they just make a whole separate anime about Kazuki and Amane? This is some interesting stuff. Like some Lord of The Flies shtuff

    • December 15, 2014 at 11:54 pmHelvetica Standard

      It’s a matter of debate and I could be flamed by Hardcore Gris fans (I’m a fan too, kill me painlessly please) But Angelic Howl is easily the best part of Kajitsu. Sure the other routes are good too, (specially Michiru’s and Sachi’s) but Amane’s route is simply the best just because it has Angelic Howl in it. You’re not wrong and you’re not thinking too much, Angelic Howl is just so well written and so raw and realistic that it’s sure to leave a lasting impression on any reader/anime watcher. So far 8bit is doing a fine job with AH btw.

    • December 16, 2014 at 3:41 amAndmeuths

      Considering how large Kazuki’s presence looms (it’s easy to extrapolate from these episodes how Yuuji probably interacted with Kazuki), a spinoff on Kazuki alone would probably be epic. It’s easy to see how Kazuki overshadowed Yuuji so much. And I am now sold that Amane clings to Yuuji out of obligation to his sister. In-fact, I wonder whether Amane’s aggressive sense of sexuality emerged from that accident.

      I wouldn’t be surprise, if Kazuki was theoretically alive and in a position to give approval to a preferred member of the harem for her little brother, she’d go for Amane Suou.

      Another interesting note: this is the only arc in the anime where the girl openly confesses, and Yuuji conditionally accepting the confession.

      Show Spoiler ▼

  • December 15, 2014 at 11:41 amgawrshness

    Ah a route that can finally be connected to. Though at the same time it is also hard to watch seeing the girls lose all hope and in some cases their sanity. This episode was particularly heavy to stomach and that’s a good thing. Imagine if they had crammed this and the previous episode into one. The only thing I have to pick out is this show’s apparent desire to repeatedly show girls wet themselves, does that happen this often in the VN? Just curious…or is this the anime’s weird direction? I understand that you can probably end up doing that if you’re scared or going insane and all but seriously I feel like there is too much emphasis on it in this show.

    • December 15, 2014 at 7:08 pmPasserby

      Nothing is really shown explicitly in the VN (probably because of limited art assets), but Hirooka-senpai’s scene was a fairly important one, and diarrhea from unclean food and water is mentioned. I suppose the effect is to show the girls’ living conditions becoming increasingly filthy.

    • December 18, 2014 at 2:46 amSmokex365

      Well I think the studios have picked up a new fetish because there’s been multiple scenes of female characters losing bodily function this season across several titles.

      It’s also simple a effective way of showing weakness and lack of power. Being too ill/injured to relieve yourself “properly” or to scared to hold it in. It’s a common trait to show extreme circumstances

      • December 18, 2014 at 10:07 amkushieda

        she didn’t lose bodily functions, her legs are broken and she couldn’t get up. If she were in a hospital she would be using a bed pan, but they are stuck in the middle of the woods.

  • December 15, 2014 at 11:49 amtoti

    I haven´t read the VN, but at least in the anime, this arc is by far the strongest.
    I think the human relationships and the mental deterioration in a survival situation, are pretty well portrayed in this two episodes.

  • December 15, 2014 at 12:17 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    Oh boy…I do not see those two injured girls lasting much longer if they have mold and maggots growing on their wounds (easily signs of bad infection).

    And if they die, if the girls were willing to eat the dog… x_x

  • December 15, 2014 at 1:14 pmMormegil

    What a depressing episode. I shouldn’t have watched this right before going to sleep last night.

  • December 15, 2014 at 2:08 pmRyan Ashfyre

    >] “Weighing between a human life and an animal life, the ethical choice weighs towards the human every time.”

    Color me an unethical deviant then. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • December 15, 2014 at 4:05 pmKabble

      Yeah…the first moment I saw the dog I just thought ‘food?’

    • December 15, 2014 at 6:55 pmPasserby

      Our relative valuation of human life is a societal thing. It’s why we eat animals for sustenance, or test chemicals on them before testing them on humans. Of course, you may personally choose to be a vegan or whatever, but it’d be hard to dissuade others from bacon.

      • December 16, 2014 at 12:13 amRyan Ashfyre

        To be fair, when talking about “animal life” in this context, I’m referring to dogs more so than anything else.

        That aside, I’m no purist who thinks that all animal life is sacred and that anyone who consumes them, for whatever reason, is some kind of unforgivable deviant or something like that. Humans devour animals in order to survive and animals will kill and devour humans in turn. That’s the way it’s been for, easily, thousands of years and there’s no sense in getting worked up over it.

        That said however, and purely from my personal perspective, if given the choice between a generic human and a dog, I would choose the dog every single time, no contest.

    • December 15, 2014 at 8:27 pmMike

      Well, a human would probably feed more people…

  • December 15, 2014 at 5:12 pmSource

    This was a lot to stomach, but I guess that elevates the game to a different level. I’m glad they didn’t cram it in one-two episodes.

    However, watching this, knowing Suou-san was the only survivor, I can’t imagine how the other girls will die and how they will debate about morality and why Show Spoiler ▼

    These might be one of those times when it’s better if she just died. (If I were in her shoes)

    Passerby edit note: That’s not necessarily how things go down, but I spoiler tagged it anyway.

  • December 15, 2014 at 5:17 pmTunafish Man

    Well, at the beginning they hoped they would be saved. Possibly even before they ran out of food they had stocked. So there was no need to butcher that poor girl’s pet the second they got stranded.

    This was a good episode. Some stuff was destined to have less impact than it did in the vn, like Ibuki going off the deep end, since you never see her say or do anything in the anime. But they didn’t shy away from the gross unpleasantness of the whole situation. And the Amane/Kazuki relationship was developed nicely.

    And yes, Amane x Kazuki = OTP, even Fumio’s art ships it. (Also, there’s a bonus h-scene between them in Meikyuu) (Since it’s just a bonus scene and not anything connected to the plot, I’m assuming it doesn’t warrant a spoiler tag)

  • December 16, 2014 at 1:05 pmReaper

    So much Kazuki, Wet Kazuki, Blushing Kazuki, Yuri-licious Kazuki!! More plz!!

  • December 16, 2014 at 8:57 pmyahiko

    What is so upsetting is why would they make the opening theme showing Yumiko Sakaki has the main female lead but yet her and 1 other female gets ONE EPISODE? They throw you off by thinking that this girl is one of the main but turns out as a big disappointment. Very upsetting indeed

  • December 17, 2014 at 6:56 amErimaki

    Wait, the dog… It…
    It was a real one!?

    • December 17, 2014 at 11:31 amRiktol

      Reasons not to eat a dog:
      1) It’s a robot
      2) you aren’t starving to death in the wilderness