「終末の世界で」 (Shuumatsu no Sekai de)
“At The End of the World”
A remake of the 1973 classic Shinzo Ningen Casshern, Casshern Sins returns to television 35 years later with a modernized look and new cast in a production by MADHOUSE. While an OVA was released in 1993 followed by a live-action film in 2004, this time around we have a full two-season TV series (24 episodes) of robot action. Taking the helm as Casshern this time around is Mr. Gundam himself, Furuya Tooru, who younger fans may not recognize, but older ones would know him as Amuro Ray in the original Gundam and Tuxedo Kamen (Mask) in Sailor Moon. Tooru also starred as Kasuga Kyouuke in one of my favorite series when I was younger, Kimagure Orange Road, but current fans should know him as the narrator in Gundam 00. Despite the cast changing for both the OVA and this TV series, Utsumi Kenji has continued to reprise his role as the leader of the robot army and antagonist of the series, Braiking Boss, which should be a welcome addition for those who were actually alive in 1973 (…myself NOT included).
To be quite honest, when I first heard about Casshern Sins, I was simply going to overlook it with all the other interesting new series airing this season, but my interest was piqued enough to check it out after watching the PV. Well thankfully for that, I didn’t miss out on this series because it is quite the visual marvel, coming out of MADHOUSE’s studio and all. High-definition is used well here, with clean-cut lines making the somewhat simplistic character designs stand out in the dark barren backgrounds. Since I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this series, visuals were definitely what stood out the most first. Story-wise, it seems like your typical robots becoming self-conscious and subjugated humans for their own meddling with technology (which is comparable to the prelude of The Matrix), except here we have Casshern siding with the near-extinct human race in a post-apocalyptic world after having lost his memories. It appears that Sins alters the original story, with Casshern being Braiking Boss’ strongest warrior originally, killing mankind’s supposed salvation Luna, and then waking up hundreds of years later in a ruined world to figure out his past; whereas in the original, Casshern is a cyborg (i.e. originally human) and joins forces with Luna to combat Braiking Boss. In this new rendition, Braiking Boss now seeks to destroy Casshern in a world where both humans and robots struggle to survive, under the belief that Casshern brought the world to ruin.
For a series that is primarily action-oriented, the premise works for me. With Casshern haunted by his vague memories of killing Luna, there’s a good, mysterious, underlying plot that ties the series together and keeps me wanting to see more. Also, despite Casshern being a lightning-speed, close-combat type of robot, the animation doesn’t skimp by adding in cheap blurring effects, so the action comes off quite crisp. The action is also pretty gory (as gory as robot destruction can get I guess) with Casshern ripping the innards out of his enemies while they scream in agony. With the whole idea of a robot fighting other robots for mankind’s sake, I couldn’t help but see the resemblance to Capcom‘s Mega Man (a.k.a. Rock Man) franchise, except here it’s A LOT darker. In fact, Casshern’s skin-tight frame, helmet, and long-flowing hair looks like the Mega Man design right out of Mega Man Battle Network, which spawned a TV series. Evidently, Casshern predates Mega Man’s first appearance in 1987 by a good 14 years, so I guess that says something about who possibly inspired whose design. In any case, I’ve been a big fan of the Mega Man franchise since I was a kid playing the games on my NES, so to see a series that revolves around a somewhat similar robot premise in a different setting is quite a treat. It doesn’t hurt that it looks really good either, so if you’re edging for some mecha-action outside your Gundams, Valkyries, and Knightmare Frames, this could be just the ticket.
Music-wise, I wasn’t particular drawn to the opening song, but I get this strange feeling it’ll grow on me. As for the ending song, someone has to tell me who K∧N∧ is, because I absolutely loved “reason” after listening to it only once.
– Casshern (キャシャーン) : Furuya Tooru (古谷 徹)
– Lyuze (リューズ) : Miyahara Nami (宮原 永海)
– Ringo (リンゴ) : Minaguchi Yuuko (皆口 裕子)
– Ohji (オージ) : Chou (チョー)
– Luna (ルナ) : Yajima Akiko (矢島 晶子)
– Braiking Boss (ブライキング・ボス) : Utsumi Kenji (内海 賢二)