「慟哭のなかで…」 (Doukoku no Naka de…)
“In Bitter Lament…”
A stupid world full of stupid people acting stupid. At least Rinka x Kyoutarou is still nice.
Thinking of Each Other
As Kyoutarou fell into the sea after exhausting himself, as Rinka wandered in a daze and was captured, and even after Kyoutarou learned the truth about his parents’ demise, they were thinking of each other. Along with Rinka herself, their relationship is one of the best parts about this series. It rings slightly false that they should prioritize each other so much when they lacked all that relationship building time I’m told they had in the manga, but it’s still nice. There’s still something for us to root for in this crappy world.
The Professor Did Everything Wrong
Well, almost everything. Calling in the diplomat was a smart move. It didn’t work out, but it was still smart. Everything else though, was epic-level idiocy. Every single action he took was a misstep, and many were avoidable if he exercised a little appropriate caution. Hell if he had watched one good conspiracy movie, it all might have turned out better. Instead, he did everything wrong.
Let’s go down the line. They went to a dig in a foreign country apparently controlled by a military dictator, and they let him get his hands on their find. Even from an archeological point of view, letting him touch the Ark of the Covenant (an Indiana Jones reference, I’m sure, though I could have done with this general’s face melting) with his bare hands and letting him touch the tablets with his bare hands was stupid. What happened to scientific rigor? And then he dropped one of the tablets, and I groaned out loud.
But maybe those were unavoidable. The Professor’s mistakes really start after that. He got superpowers in a possibly repeatable way, and then he told a military dictator about it. Lie, you idiot! You wouldn’t even have needed the diplomat then. I would have still talked to my home country, and apparently that wouldn’t have ended well, but they might have lived longer, and maybe they wouldn’t have died at all.
Then they all walked right into a trap. Is there any good reason to have a meeting in such a secluded place so late at night? And then when he got back to Japan, he openly accused the government is heinous crimes when they had shown themselves willing to kill their own citizens. Bide your time man, and don’t destroy your credibility with accusations for which you have no evidence save your own testimony. Oh, and approaching the diplomat who tried to have you killed when you can use illusions is pretty dumb too. Obviously.
I know the Professor wasn’t originally supposed to be a criminal mastermind. Some of these mistakes are reasonable. I could even still see them all dying if the government was truly corrupt. But he did so many things wrong that I ended up shaking my head. If he paid more attention during history class or read the newspaper on occasion, he would have known that military dictatorships aren’t to be trusted, especially around new weapons. Instead he did so many things wrong that I just sighed.
Japan is Better Than This
The problem with the “twist” that lead to the deaths of the Professor’s team is that Japan was portrayed as so cartoonishly evil. Nations have in the past—and some continue to this day—done horrible things to their citizens. Japan, as with all mighty nations past and present, has a blighted past. Yet I find it extremely hard to believe that modern Japan would do something like this. What we saw in Outbreak Company? Absolutely. That’s how the foreign policy game is played, and a rogue politician might even try to dispose of a citizen if they get too unruly. But they gave Shinichi a chance to play by their rules, and it was his rejection that escalated things.
But this. Modern first world countries don’t do this to their citizens (almost always—I’m sure one of you will find an exception), so while it makes sense why the Professor would be embittered, it rings false. Glowing fish that grant superpowers coming from a stone tablet, I can accept. A modern Japan that murders its own citizens to keep them quiet because they want a shiny new weapon (when it could have just as easily knocked off a general and escaped with the goods), I cannot.
And that’s the problem—modern Japan. Past Japan? I can believe that. Many people lived (and died) that reality. Future Japan? Take PSYCHO-PASS. It was wise to set that story in a sufficiently different future, because we can imagine some version of Japan today could possibly lead to PSYCHO-PASS’s future. Modern Japan is not a dystopian country, so when you ascribe these sinister motives to it—of which the esper detainment forces and their facilities are another example—I balk.
Perhaps I give Japan too much credit. Perhaps I should suspect evil or them, and of the government of every powerful nation. But I don’t see it, and ascribing this grand evil to the modern Japanese government—even a parallel world thereof—rings false. Especially when you shoehorn it all in one episode in a (failed) attempt to make your villain seem less villainous, all without foreshadowing.
Not much else to say. This didn’t fix Tokyo ESP’s problems, so I’m just waiting for it to get back up to where it was in episode one so I can see if Kyoutarou survives. The rest is so much talk.
Note: I’m going to be on another overseas trip starting midway through next week (I typed this post on a plane!), so I won’t be around to blog episode eleven. Fortunately Cherrie has graciously agreed to cover for me. I’ll be returning the following Saturday, and I’ll try to blog episode twelve as quickly as possible after my jet lag fades. Thank you for your understanding.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – A world of stupid people acting stupid. Since it’s modern Japan, it feels fake. Rinka x Kyoutarou is one of the last bright spots #東京ESP 10
- Old guy is walking through the park, and he sees Rinka and tells her to go away? What a fuck. Just keep walking.
- The more I think about it, the more I wish Rinka’s (and Wolverine papa’s) hair didn’t change colors when they used their powers. De-powered Rinka would have worked so much better with that constant reminder.
- And suddenly, Minami is stripping. Unnecessary fanservice in a non-fanservice show is unnecessary. Stop it Xebec.
- Mixing women and men in the same detainment center doesn’t seem smart. Then again, nothing anyone is doing seems smart, so par for the course.
- “This is all the work of god!” Thaaaaat never ends well.
- Let’s be serious, the Professor was missing enough skin from that grenade that he should have died regardless of his wife’s healing powers, especially since proper medical treatment was likely hard to come by in the immediate future.
- “Can you say from the bottom of your heart that revenge is wrong?” I can. It’s wrong. Understandable, but wrong. Right the evil and punish the wrongdoers so they can’t do it again, but don’t do it for self-satisfaction. Revenge tastes like ash in the mouth. It solves nothing. It’s pointless. Kind of like the hack job Xebec is giving this adaptation.
Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Vacation, & a taste of what’s to come, Life or death, Just plain fun, and Don’t have enough time.
Full-length images: 08.