「記憶コピペ作戦」 (Kioku Kopipe Sakusen)
“Operation Copy+Paste Memories”
When people list the strengths of Kyoto Animation, they usually cite their animation, or maybe their faithful adaptations, or maybe their moe-tastic character designs. I go a different direction, though. When I hear ‘Kyoto Animation’, I think ‘casual clothes‘.
Extra designs take extra work, so I don’t exactly fault a studio when they they stick with, say, a school uniform for every scene a character is in, especially when adapting a work with set designs that one may not feel entirely comfortable deviating from. Maybe one extra outfit for days off, and that’s about it. But Kyoto Animation—not exclusively, but notably—always makes sure to design (or steal from fashion magazines) stylish casual outfits for their characters. In fact, in this episode the main cast of Musaigen no Phantom World go through a second, not including the stereotypical Chinese cosplay. Little details like rotating wardrobes makes the setting feel more organic, which is a plus. Same thing with rotating hairstyles. Especially if that hairstyle is a ponytail. ‘Actually, ponytails turn me on’. Mmm, that’s right.
What were we talking about? Oh right, the episode. If you insist.
Unlike previous episodes, number three of Phantom World isn’t distinctively a two part-er, instead dedicating its full runtime to a character episode for Kawakami Mai. What do we really know of her so far? Really, only that she knows kung-fu. Which means we have an episode where everyone was kung-fu fighting! Does that sound one-dimensional? Fear not, there is more depth to this episode by way of shifting pseudoscience. How else are we going to give people martial arts skills? As if we were in the Matrix apparently; by downloading them (now the eyecatches all make sense). Turns out, memories are amazing. They let you perform incredible physical feats. They give you superpowers. And they can all be accessed through the weird and wonderful world of the collective unconscious through the magic of cranial trauma (isn’t this the part where they switch bodies, though?). Somewhere in Switzerland, Jung is rolling in his grave. But how else are we going to delve into Mai’s childhood? It’s a good thing that Mai was so comfortable with the idea of letting letting her privacy be mentally violated (well, not that comfortable), or else we would never have gotten all this character development for her. By which I mean the revelation that, as a child, she was exactly the same as she is now.
Will this lesson on the fallibility of human memory, the sentimental flower metaphor, and the blast into Mai’s past come back up in the future? Like the 27th slice of pizza washed down with Mountain Dew, almost certainly. I don’t think Phantom World would have put this much emphasis on happy family flashbacks and a running theme about perceptions if it wasn’t planning something. That’s something to look forward to, perhaps. Even if that isn’t exactly your fare, there are other threads of plot hinted at that the substance-focused half of Phantom World can lead to. The last member of the main cast has not been recruited yet. In addition, yhere’s Team E’s fangirl #1 who has been stalking them in an unexpectedly creepy way (don’t trust any little girls who talk to their bear. Nor bears in general). There’s a delicious jealous Reina (maybe envious of a closer relationship with her onee-sama). And, still in this episode, there’s the suspicious company Arayashiki, which we discover the teacher has ties to and is apparently willing to engage in arguably unethical research for.
So, yeah, I still believe that there’s going to be a relatively serious plot to be developed in Musaigen no Phantom World. Don’t get the same impression? Well, I finally remember where I heard of ‘Arayashiki’ before: Kara no Kyoukai. The arayashiki is the Buddhist variant of the collective unconscious. As the name of a shady corporation with a history of screwing with people’s heads, that sounds rather ominous. But I’m sure they’ve learnt their lesson and nothing bad involving them will ever happen again.
An update on whether I’ll be blogging Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu, by the way: my schedule probably won’t accommodate weekly coverage of the show. That’s a bit of a shame, but it’ll probably make for good end post material down the line.