「わたしは“人間”だからっ」 (Watashi wa “Ningen” Dakaratsu)
“I Am Human”
Whips and chains have little power next to powerful ideals honestly spoken. With the soul of a nation on the line, one young girl stands up and speaks…
Meido Ane – The Martyr, the Hero, the Saint
I know even as I type this that I will not do this episode justice. Perhaps it’s because I have a weakness for stirring oratory well delivered, but this was the best episode of Maoyuu so far, by a wide margin. No other offering has been this tightly focused since episode 1, and none have been this powerful. There were, what, six scenes overall? Pushing the B-plots forward was largely ignored in favour of making the principal scene big, powerful, and inspiring. The animation budget wasn’t high, but that’s fine – talking doesn’t require a great deal of movement. More importantly, the episode’s direction was great, the imagery was visceral and painful, they gave the main scene plenty of time to breathe and flex, and most of all, Tomatsu Haruka acted with every bit of her considerable skill. I haven’t seen a seiyuu sell a scene with such power since Taketatsu Ayana pulled out all the stops on a certain confession last season (say what you will about the series as a whole – she sold that scene hard). Okay, that’s enough about the trappings. Let’s get to the ideas that were thrust forth.
The single most brilliant thing that Meido Ane did was tell the truth. Say what you will about politicians, but truly powerful oratory cannot come from lies – the speaker must believe with every ounce of their being that which they espouse. By mixing her own story with that of the Kurenai no Gakushi, Meido Ane made the Gakushi a rags to riches story. No longer was she some untouchable, intrinsically better noble, but just someone like everyone else. The pain, the doubt, the uncertainties that clouded her heart up to that very moment – she poured them all forth in a way that touched every single person there. The best leaders are often “one of the people”, or at least the most beloved ones, and in one fell swoop she made the Gakushi exactly that.
But the part that really got to me, the part that sent chills down my weary spine and electricity shooting through my battered brain, was the climax, her principal point, the punctuation mark of her speech. She spoke of insects – oh, how Meido Chou would have been proud! We’ve all seen it before – when the chips are down, people, organizations, even entire countries abandon everything they purport to believe in in order to save their own lives (sometimes, too often). But remember the old Benjamin Franklin quote: “He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither.”
Yes! I say yes again, and twice more! To quote another wise man, Jon Stewart (Hey, Franklin was a funny guy too!): “If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values: they’re hobbies.” I understand the primal desire to save one’s self, to take the past of least resistance, to do the best one can in this scary world we live in – and I reject it!! Easy to say from my comfortable chair, I admit, but true even so. Meido Ane was right – those that give up their freedom, those that compromise their morals when the chips are down, are no longer human. They may walk around on two legs and use tools and whatnot, but it does not matter – they are insects in every way that counts.
The Church, of course, stood to benefit (in their own twisted way) no matter what happened. Either they got to dispose of the dangerous Kurenai no Gakushi and the “demon potato”, or they get an excuse to subjugate the Winter Country under the guise of sheltering a heretic. Yuusha’s plan would have been better in that they would have followed the Church’s orders without endangering Meido Ane more than necessary, but what of the potato? And more correctly, what of the Winter Country’s pride?
This, I think, is where Meido Ane truly saved the day. Rather than allowing the country that has treated her so kindly to lose its soul, she stood up for her dignity as a human being. She stood up, and everyone else stood up with her. I believe I speak for everyone when I say this – Shisha (Futamata Issei)? Go fuck yourself! You can slap people in chains and you can try to kill them, but you can’t make them do what they don’t want to do, not if they don’t let you. There is always a choice, always a choice, even if all the alternatives are bad. Even if it turns the whole Church against them, you cannot make them do what they don’t feel is right. Not anymore.
Looking Ahead – Thoughts in the Void
To be honest, I’m not sure who the shimmering lady at the end was. The Light Spirit? Maou? The Light Spirit working through Maou? Past demon lords and their experiences with all these other heroes? I have no idea, and I’m still too floored by Meido Ane’s awesome performance to give it ample thought. Same with blue boy. Screw it – I’m going to go watch the episode again, while hoping that next week is anything as good. That’ll be damn hard to do, but I can hope.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – A stirring speech from the illusion-clad Meido Ane gives us the best ep of #Maoyuu so far. Remember: he who gives up freedom for safety…
- Kizoku Shitei sure has come up in the world. What, you need to buy time, and your only skills are dancing and spreading rumours? THAT’LL DO JUST FINE!
- Pro tip for the Church next time they plan to get all dickish: never let the condemned speak. Shit like this happens. That should probably be in the Evil Overlord List, if it isn’t already.
- They rise up, up, up…