「働いたら負け」 (Hataraitara Make)
“You lose if you work”
It seems to be a Shaft tradition to make sense without making any sense at all. Most of what goes on in Sasami-san@Ganbaranai has explanations rooted in Shintoism mixed with some entertaining antics from the rather quirky gods that seem to populate its world. This episode in particular certainly provides plenty in the way of exposition. But at the end of the day, so much goes on which seems barely grounded in rational thought that I can never be entirely sure if everything is quite making sense. Just like this paragraph really.
Sasami and Kamiomi’s relationship is rather an important aspect of Sasami-san@Ganbaranai. To date, it’s formed a core part of the series, particularly in the first episode where his affection for her was what led to a world made of chocolate. That’s why it’s nice to have an episode which focuses on explaining how exactly their relationship came to be the way it is in the first place. Strict families that train every generation for specific roles are not even remotely uncommon in fiction. Incestual relationships within powerful families and bloodlines is not an uncommon theme either, heck, the Egyptians did it! It kind of makes sense in this instance, where Amaterasu’s power can apparently only be passed on to one with very similar DNA.
Being raised to be the vessel for a god’s power really helps to make it clear why Sasami acts as she does. Even for a hikikomori, she’s always been rather on the princessy side – always expecting everything to be done for her and hardly seeming capable of doing most of it herself. Heck, the previews for each episode so far have really emphasised this, with this week’s one giving a rather entertaining picture of what Sasami considers to be cooking. Her hold on her brother was also something rather extreme given how quickly he would respond to her every whim. It makes a lot more sense when you take into account that he was raised as little more than a slave to serve as her tool. This also gives another explanation for why his face is always hidden – he’s nothing more than a faceless tool in the eyes of others. He has no true identity of his own. It’s actually kind of funny that hiding his face is an actual thing within the anime’s world as much as it is a metaphor directed at us, the viewers.
Truth be told, I wondered for part of the episode whether or not Sasami’s possession of Amaterasu’s power (or Kamiomi’s belief to that effect) had any bearing on how much he dotes upon her – whether he served her so diligently in part because she was basically the living incarnation of a god with power over creation. Given that he was willing to sacrifice himself to allow her to keep living her ‘normal’ life once he discovered that the power had supposedly been transferred to him, I guess it had no bearing whatsoever. I also can’t fully decide whether Sasami decided to run away with him because she needed someone to keep looking after her, for the sake of familiarity and some semblance of her old lifestyle, or because she actually cared for him. Her struggles in venturing outside her house certainly seem to point to the latter, but her general treatment of him as a tool seems to suggest the former. I suppose, for now, I’ll err towards the latter since her treatment of him could probably mostly be blamed upon her upbringing, and she certainly does seem to care a lot. It’s hard to blame Kamiomi for how he acts for pretty much the same reason too (and doting on the ones you love is always fun – okay that’s not really doting)!
Though he never truly possessed it, Kamiomi’s grip on the power of Amaterasu was (and perhaps still is?) somewhat terrifying. Sasami was raised and drugged to have no desires that might prove problematic, but he was not. All it takes is a strong desire and people start getting trapped in video games or turned into chocolate. Good lord I’d hate to imagine the disaster if Tama ended up with it. You wouldn’t give a flighty child access to super weapons – why would you give her ultimate power over all of creation? I was actually a little surprised by some of the revelations this week, particularly learning that Tsurugi is Amaterasu herself. She’s… well… not what I would’ve expected from a goddess with absolute authority over everything. Still awesome though. But definitely crazy. She is, however, the kind of person I could imagine giving her power away on a whim.
While I really like Sasami-san@Ganbaranai so far, there are certainly some questionable elements to some of the plot resolutions. I did originally wonder in my first post whether Sasami’s inability to go outside was psychological or had darker roots, but the simplicity with which it was revealed and thrust aside in this episode was somewhat disappointing. I guess her ability to go outside now is sort of a good thing, but I hope it won’t be accompanied by a complete change in mannerisms only three episodes in. Part of the charm of the series is in Sasami’s personality and how she views the world around her – it would be a little sad to lose that.
tl;dr: @MoombaDS – A glimpse into the backgrounds of the two siblings and how they came to be who they are today. #Sasamisan
- I’m not really sure what to say about the Hare of Inaba. It had its parallels with the rest of the show and characters of course, but it didn’t feel like it had all that much relevance to the rest of the episode. It was just kind of there.
- The moment I noticed the random extra arm typing on Sasami’s keyboard, I wondered what was going on. Her reaction was priceless!
- Having a third arm for drinking tea would be so useful (I’m sure my girlfriend will attest to this)!
- Sending tanks and choppers against godlike beings was clearly never going to work!
- That art clash is particularly… uh… dodgy.
- To be honest, every week so far has left me completely clueless as to where the series is going to go next. I’m not really sure whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I kind of like it! Even the previews are vague!
Full-length images: 02.
ED: 「浸透圧シンフォニー」 (Shintouatsu Symphony) by 阿澄佳奈 (Asumi Kana)