「Castle of Lies phase.2」
If there’s one thing I consistently mention regarding this series, it’s how it always runs me out of words discussing it. With the coming of this arc’s end, I really just have to tip my hand to those working on this series, because I’m already struggling to find words to describe what transpired this episode. But try I shall!
Needless to say, this arc lulled me a bit into a false sense of security. After the last episode, part of me was anticipating this arc to be a kind of throw back to the first season… one of those times where we were just going to be given a few episodes of ass-kicking, just to give us a small break following the extremely serious “Dance with the Undershaft” arc. But darn, was I mistaken. Quoting loosely from this episode: “nothing happened the way I thought it would.”
To be honest, I definitely expected more of a fight on part of the SR Squad. But as it turns out, my expectations were well off the mark. Rather, this was actually one of those scenarios where “the outcome was decided beforehand,” where the SR squad was doomed to its destruction from the beginning. Because unbeknownst to Tojo and the rest of HCLI, the SR squad was no longer what it was before. Changed by arms selling business, the organization turned out to be exactly what the title says—a “castle of lies” built up from illusions of grandeur imparted on it by its secretive nature and wide reach. In the end, Tojo was actually right in his original prediction… but contrary to the view shared by him and Kasper, Hinoki proves himself to be one of the rare people that can and did change. And to say the least, there’s just an innumerable amount of things to discuss from this.
For one, it’s an interesting commentary on the importance of both being able to change and to resist change and knowing when to do which. HCLI, under Koko and Kasper have been able to expand their operations greatly because of their unique tactics, great talent, and the knowledge that there’s a limit to the things you can do at one point. To succeed is to plan ahead and tread slowly, rather than what the SR Squad does, which was allow itself to be consumed by its own operations and caused the organization change so fast that it couldn’t keep up with it. Ultimately, it led to the creation of a group that was merely dying a slow death, a group far removed from its original ideologies, and one that could only be released via the conflict with HCLI. In a way, it could be argued that the whole conflict between the two groups was a kind of merciful death… one orchestrated by a leader who knew there was no longer anything he could do.
In the end, it’s easy to paint Hinoki as an incompetent leader (which in many ways he was) and just hate on his inadequacies, but if there’s one thing this series knows how to do, it’s make people more than just black and white. There’s just so much more to everything and it’s something that’s difficult to even discuss. I mean, from the context of the episode, it looked like that Hinoki tried his hardest to keep his organization intact and to fulfill the wishes of those that served under him, all despite knowing that the organization was no longer anywhere near what it was before. Despite the fact it was his fault that this occurred in the first place, one does feel for him knowing the situation he went through and decision he had to make to “stop the bleeding,” so to speak. In some ways, the Colonel actually is a pretty good person… despite the actions he led, and it’s just a testament to this series’ ability to make the bad guys seem good and vice versa that make this series just so complex and fun to watch.
Notably, the thing that gets lost behind everything until the end of the episode is the dynamic between Tojo and Hinoki as well. At the point of Tojo’s departure, it can be argued that the organization was already beginning its fall. The departure of Tojo and Hinoki’s acceptance of it (as well as his bird analogy later on), indicated that Hinoki knew what was happening and that he knew Tojo was right in leaving. Hinoki however, did not have the option of merely leaving the squad, nor disbanding the group. As a result, Tojo would be seen as a traitor by the “others who did not leave the nest,” despite the fact that he was actually the smartest one of them all in terms of leaving while he had the chance, instead of blindly sticking with the group. His leaving of the group (and then Kasper later), just tells you so much about his character and in combining this with the fact he responds so strongly to being accused as a traitor, he’s just a darn complex character.
Really, the show just wows week after week for one reason or another and the second season’s really upped the ante in terms of character development. It’s hard finding a series that manages to do so much and give so much background to each character despite the number of cast involved and it just makes Jormungand a special treat. And that’s not even mentioning the continued awesome implementation of comedic moments within it all, including Tojo’s face as he flashbacks to how he was only unemployed for 20 minutes and Koko’s interactions with Tojo at the end where she demands he stay with her in the future. On that note, I just have to also say… I can’t help but think that Kasper intentionally made events happen the way they did in order to get Tojo to leave and on his side… the sly devil.
Either way, just another great (action-packed) episode to say the least. I knew the second season would most likely pack a bigger punch than the first, but I really never expected it to be so much more so. Sadly, it’ll be another week until the next episode.
P.S. How about that
bullet castle of lies?