「無色の週末」 (Mushoku no Shūmatsu)
Ah, an epilogue episode. You probably know the drill for these things; loose ends are wrapped up, relationships are paired off and generally things come full circle to bookend the story. I think I’ll jump straight to the final impressions, because I mostly wanted to talk about the tale of Dr Magata Shiki as a whole and this epilogue will feed nicely into that discussion.
At once the most asked and least useful question asked about a show is: ‘is it good?’. If I had to weigh on one side or another, I would say that Subete ga F ni Naru is ultimately a ‘good’ show. I found the central mystery interesting enough (although the biggest mystery is still the marimba), and when Subete ga F Naru engaged its horror aesthetics—usually when it was peeling back the curtain on the dark mind of Magata Shiki in the flashbacks—I felt the appropriate chill. Those things, it does well. But as far recommending the show goes, I should note that it is hard to frame Subete ga F ni Naru‘s quality in terms of enjoyment—not that it’s unenjoyable, but rather that it does not entertain in the same way as many other anime.
This is most telling in its cast. For example, some commenters here have voiced strong dislike for Souhei and/or Moe, and while I don’t share their vehemency, I can see where they come from. Most of the cast do not seem to be designed as ‘likeable’ people. Many other anime will strive for a likeable cast, because that’s an effective way to engage the audience with the story of these people. Unlikeable characters are usually ones we’re rooting for to lose. At the very least, heroes should be fundamentally good and decent people, but with flaws. But the cast of Subete ga F ni Naru are the inverse, in general very flawed people but maybe with some redeeming qualities. Subete ga F ni Naru is actually a very cynical show, despite a lack of overt signs like dystopian settings or mankind destroying itself. I speak for only myself here, but I prefer a bit more idealism in my fiction, since there’s plenty enough cynicism to go around in real life. But I suppose that Subete ga F ni Naru is ultimately a character study, and like in medicine there’s more to learn from the diseased than from the healthy.
And, of course, this is where we get to Dr Magata Shiki.
In a cast of overall morally and emotionally weak people, Magata Shiki stands apart. She is supposedly, as Souhei puts it, ‘pure’. She is inscrutable and untouchable. Even after her chat with Souhei, we never do really find out why she did what she did (‘to go outside’? that is, at best, a metaphor). She does talk more about her philosophy, though, and here is where I find my only major disatisfaction with Subete ga F ni Naru. Shiki says whatever she likes, Souhei accepts it all, and there’s nobody who stands as a counterpoint to her. Moe certainly never had the dialetic ability to do so and is useless to us. With some opposition, Shiki may actually have been forced to provide her logic for her assertions. Why is existence an anomaly? Why is life an illness? Why is murder love? Why do you want to be killed by another except to satisfy your own ego? While always questioning and always seeking, as Shiki instructs her daughter, is a fine precept to live by, ironically nobody ever questions Shiki properly. Without her elaboration, all I can do is to stick with my original conclusion: that Magata Shiki is ultimately just a nihilistic psychopath. There is a very fine line between enlightenment and delusion, and I am not satisfied that she is the former rather than the latter. No, her arguments aren’t cryptic, just incomplete.
See, it’s like seeing someone being wrong on the internet. Doesn’t it annoy you if nobody calls it out? I know it does. I’ve seen the flame wars.
Perhaps Shiki is just so far removed from normal human morality that we are expected to take issue with her for ourselves. Perhaps the fact that Souhei still keeps Moe, his ‘weight’, attached is the best repudiation of Maga Shiki that we can get. But in the end, Shiki manages to slip away again, escaping all the kama that she is due. Is she an ubermensch, and so is beyond our society’s petty laws and systems? Or is she a true monster, and so can never be defeated for good? I think it’s at least a good thing that Subete ga F ni Naru has challenged us to give some thought to this; I have simply decided to disagree on many points. If we were to get a presumptious and look as anime as art, making one think is a large part of it. Which is why I am pretty happy that I covered Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider. It’s a good show.