OP Sequence

OP: 「その未来へ」 (Sono Mirai e) by RIRIKO

「鯨の罪人たち」 (Farena no tsumibitotachi)
“The Sinners of Falaina”

A Certain Delicious Crepe recently told me that Netflix is pumping money into Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau through licensing fees. While I’m skeptical of the business model they have chosen to adopt, specifically whether it works for a medium like anime in the long-run, there’s no denying that their interest in anime presents some serious potential that can be tapped into. It certainly shows, when in my opinion, every piece of background art is beautifully detailed to the point where it visually rivals Mahoutsukai no Yome. However, that was never the issue. Did the narrative structure improve since last week? Let’s find out.

General Impressions

Although there was a lot of exposition, I did not feel overwhelmed compared with the first episode, and the story managed to retain most of its flow. Left by the ebbing tide of battle and stranded upon Falaina, a girl soldier called Lykos is dragged along by Ouni, to explore the mysterious island where she was found. Firstly, we come across a mound of graves, indicative of terrible battles that once took place. It’s understandable how someone like Chakuro finds himself openly grieving, even though he had no personal connection to the people who lost their lives. Where a natural death at a young age is the status quo within the Mud Whale, there is no knowledge regarding weaponry designed to kill. He was ignorant towards the existence of evil, let alone the atrocities humans are capable of committing, and that kind of discovery is bound to hurt. What’s more, Chakuro and Ouni both experience various memories of suffering and carnage during their brief encounter with the Nous. Though neither Chakuro or Ouni incur a loss of emotions, their innocence is forever shattered. As Lykos puts it, the outside world they had always longed to see is full of emotionless people, making use of heartless Apathoia to wage a war that may never know an end.

Lykos claims to lack emotions, but we can see that they are slowly returning, causing her unbearable pains. Given the richness and breadth of human feelings, I can certainly imagine how she might get overwhelmed. But this should have been obvious for quite a while now. Why else would she save Chakuro, cry at memories of her parents, and forewarn Suou about an impending attack?

Anyway, we end up catching glimpses of various things – discarded emotions from forgotten lifetimes. Sweet pictures of families or soft toys are greatly contrasted by war, bringing with it the inescapable shadow of death. In short, we are told there is almost nothing the average person can gain from war, and receive a firsthand experience of their helpless anguish in the face of a terrifying adversity. Here’s when Chakuro suddenly feels his compulsion to write, and I reckon he wants to capture these precious emotions and make sure they were not lost. He wants to ensure that these short lives were not in vain, and that’s a kind of sincere empathy we rarely see even in fictional medium, so Chakuro deserves a lot of respect.

Nonetheless, one can still find more beauty in this godforsaken world. For example, we might associate locust swarms with the desecration of crops and famines. However, the one in Kujira really took me by surprise. Like how the Nous was the most beautiful malignant tumour I’d seen, the same could be said for this particular locust swarm, something I would attribute to the unlimited potential of animation. The way the locusts lit up the night sky reminded me of transient fireworks, which really changed my perspective on this series, offering a beautiful reprieve in a listless fantasy world hurtling towards a precipice.

Concluding Thoughts

Throughout the episode, Sami showed the depths of her feelings towards Chakuro, by showing a lot of care and attention towards him. She had so many cute moments with him, and was unable to contain her jealousy, with a pout being the highlight. Everything looked to be going great for her, including a moment where they touched hands and blushed. Alas, it was not to be – paradise is not eternal. Dark ships come out of the sandy seas, bringing sentinels of destruction in its wake, and Sami becomes the first sacrificial lamb after taking bullets to save Chakuro. While it is not confirmed that she has died, my hopes are not too high. You know, I’m not actually sad, so much as shocked just like Chakuro. I felt certain that this encounter would eventually happen, but I didn’t expect it to happen so soon, and in such a brutal way.

After ending on that cliffhanger, we’ll have to wait and see how this sudden ambush pans out next week. Most importantly, I want to find out how exactly Falaina sinned, to provoke ire and retribution from the mainland. I highly doubt that the residents of the Mud Whale will be completely exterminated, otherwise the story might as well end here. However, I’m looking forwards to see how the survivors will live on after this tragic incident, and cope with the grief that naturally comes following these kinds of losses. I can assure you, that will be the chance to make me break down in tears – seeing how those living despair at the set of circumstances that life has dealt to them.



  1. I would not put any money on Sami’s miraculous survival. For someone who under any other turn of events would be a central character throughout the series they appear a total of once in the OP, running off screen just as Chakuro’s logs are ominously blown out of his hands.

  2. Shin Sekai Yori all over again…

    We look at some “Village” that get killed, because they do not have their Emotions in check…
    or their running and hiding is now gone..

    seems like this Guy is some sort of “guardian/police”?

    Well, this assault Group must had know what is going on.. and i did not saw any “telephone”…

    1. Emotions didn’t play as huge a part in Shin Sekai Yori as one might think, though the societal control was definitely there.

      I imagine the guy does do guardian/police work, under orders from the council of elders. Do you recall that the elders forbade people to explore the island, but are told that they sent someone to survey it without Taisha’s knowledge? There was a frame in the episode where it showed this mysterious guy standing on the island, so there’s that.

      1. I kind of assumed the mysterious guy was from the outside world-the other side, as it were. Mostly because his clothes seemed markedly different from those on the Mud Whale seem to wear, and though I can’t really say how a person would seem if they were watching things for the mud whale rather than for the other side, but I feel like something would have been different if he had been someone sent there by the elders.

  3. Just picked this one up (been busy these past few weeks). It kind of feels like it’s a pastiche of so many other anime, including Last Exile, which I don’t think people here have mentioned before, but I hope it can find its own unique voice soon.

    The artwork is beautiful, especially the locust murmuration, but the exposition has been heavy-handed so far and there are some practicality issues too. Like where does their food come from? From what we’ve seen, it seems to be plant-based, but there’s nowhere near enough land to support 500+ people – that would take over 200 hectares or getting on for a square mile (even without locusts). OK, so there are “sand fish” too, but it doesn’t look like they are part of the staple diet.

    Anyway, I’m going to have to watch the next episode if only to find out what happens in the aftermath of the attack.

    1. Hey Angelus! Your comments are always insightful, and I encourage you to continue posting them. Anyway, want to engage with a couple of your points.

      It kind of feels like it’s a pastiche of so many other anime, including Last Exile

      Ehhh :'(

      I wouldn’t describe Kujira as a pastiche of other shows. Far beyond being a mock imitation, it’s trying to bring together themes to create something new. It’s too early to say whether it will succeed or not, and the similarities currently seem to work at enticing some viewers to stick around. Admittedly, this could be double-edged if Kujira falls vastly short of the mark. Nevertheless, I’m pleased to see creators trying to be ambitious, rather than sticking with present conventions that are rife within the industry.

      Gotta contain my steampunk fanboy, but here goes. Last Exile’s merit in offering comparison comes from how it portrays young children get caught up in large conflicts beyond their control. That said, Chakuro is much more a passive bystander at this stage, as opposed to Claus, who actively flew in and out of battle as a courier. Otherwise, I suppose the interlopers kind of look similar to the Disith? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

      Like where does their food come from?

      The absolute minimum amount of land required to sustain a person is 0.07 hectares, according to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), assuming that near perfect agricultural techniques are applied. For 500 people, that comes up to about 35 Hectares. We can see that Thymia isn’t used to improve the agricultural process, so perfect agriculture is admittedly a less likely scenario. Bumping up that estimation and accounting for external resources required for agriculture, I’d say 100 Hectares should be adequate for sustaining the population of the Mud Whale, provided they don’t eat extravagantly.

      The Mud Whale might still be too small for 100 Hectares, so I honestly wouldn’t know. While aquaponics can further reduce the minimum amount of land required for sustainable living, it has to be discounted, since water seems like such a precious resource.

      The artwork is beautiful, especially the locust murmuration

      Wow, I’ll be picking up murmuration to describe this phenomenon from now on. Thank you very much, Angelus!

      1. A pastiche isn’t necessarily a “mock imitation”, it can be done sincerely like Stravinsky’s Neoclassical pastiches, or in the anime world, Shinkai’s Ghibli pastiche Hoshi o Ou Kodomo. I used the term because this show evokes the feeling of other (great) shows so strongly. As has already been mentioned, Shinsekai yori and Suisei Gargantia are obvious ones, but the “rows of musketeers firing from a heavier-than-air ship kept aloft by quasi-magical powers” thing was screaming Last Exile at the top of its voice!

        As for the food situation, I estimated that, assuming there weren’t extensive hydroponic gardens below decks, they had less than 3,000 square metres under cultivation, so that would feed around one person as long as the locusts were on hunger-strike. The water situation isn’t so bad though – assuming the mud whale is designed so it can collect most of the runoff in tanks, they would only need around 400mm of rainfall a year to survive. But unless there’s some mechanism that allows the sand to flow while it’s still wet, even that little rain would turn the sand to slurry every now and then.

    2. Give it a rest, this is an TV Anime production. Not an OAV with their Budget

      As if to make a mountain out of a dust speck

      Also it is the Nippon/Japanese TV viewers and company that pay the Bills of this Studios

      1. Do they really have the Time and Budget to explain the World? the Universe? Or is this the Secret? How to explain the daily live? or more “watching” an interesting Story?

      2. How much time and budget does it take to create a credible world? You can do that sitting in your bath if you’re educated enough.

        Apologies if you’re not into classic British SF (and why should you be?) but it’s like the difference between Brian Aldiss’ Hothouse and his Heliconia trilogy. Hothouse was panned by some critics because it simply ignored basic laws of physics, but when envisaging the scenario for Heliconia, Aldiss consulted scientists to make absolutely certain that the events he would be describing were credible.

        And it should be no different for anime. It doesn’t matter what superpowers you give people, if they are to be seen as remotely human then it takes an acre (0.4 ha) of land to feed each one of them and at least 7,000 litres of clean water a year to keep them healthy.

  4. Sami !!! No………..

    for the look of it she pretty consider “dead”. interesting character but WHY..

    Based on Monologue , chakuro pretty become rogue or avenger along with Oni?

    Darren Thong
    1. I think Chakuro will fight to protect, but not to kill. He comes across as the kind of person who deeply values life. Ouni will probably become his foil, representing an ideal of fighting to protect, even if that means killing other people. Evidently, it will place a lot of emotional strain on him, if the OP theme is anything to go by:

  5. This is what ive been telling people for some time in regards to netflix: yea their model for releasing anime is controversial (and i myself dont necessarily agree with their anime withholding philosophy even though i prefer to binge-watch my shows) but the possibilities of what they can do for anime can be industry changing. The netflix original devil man cry baby will be finished in production before the anime airs, which if you know anything about anime, you know that is a rare thing. Bones newest show A.I.C.O i think airs either winter or spring of 2018; that show is also already finished production according to ANN and what do these series share in common??? being co-produced by netflix. Some people in the anime industry have come out to say that netflix producers give them the opportunity to do whatever they want so as long as it’s “good”, going on to even say that netflix provides anime with budgets 5 to even 10 times larger than the average tv anime budget. This makes it so that staff can actually take their time with a series and finish it before it has to air (like it is with american tv). If netflix could fix its other shitty practices; like keeping anime behind a region wall in certain places, better subtitles and font, and just do simulcast for the anime that they pick up, they’d be pushing anime in a new, better direction. Anime is also moving in a cinematic direction, finding good popularity and acclaim through film; netflix can also serve as a platform for anime film.

  6. This series is an example of a thing that annoys me deeply in anime.
    You have a world that is so different of ours and yet people there, despite all things, despite the different culture and traditions, they behave like average japanese characters in an average midnight anime.
    Same way of talking, same logic, same interactions, same dramas.
    It’s disappointing.

    1. I wholeheartedly agree. His has bugged me for a long time as well. Especially their classrooms. The setting can be in England or Fantasia and their classrooms will still be a form of their Japanese classrooms.

      And the mannerisms will still be very Japanese as well. Like they know no other form of interaction.

      Little Tangerine
  7. I wonder what the thinking is in not letting anyone know of the true history behind the Mud Whale until the age of 61? I kind of get it, in that the ones who bear the burden of leading need to have a guarantee of being alive for a long enough time for there to be some sort of stability, and people leading the island need to have that knowledge. But to literally have the rest of the island in complete ignorance? That seems strange to me. And why 61? That’s random and arbitrary, unless this world has a different counting system and the number is actually significant. It of course means that Marked citizens never get to know anything of their history, which seems unfair. Sure, they die a lot earlier so wouldn’t really get to…do anything with that knowledge, but it’s still their world, isn’t it?

    Besides, it’s another thing that doesn’t seem quite right. In a world where people’s lifespans are pretty short, kids tend to be treated more like adults, or at least have more adult responsibilities than in places with longer lifespans, where the kids can safely have their childhood-at least from what I understand generally. And this seems to apply in this world, too (Neri looks pretty young, and she seems to work for the Elders, as the example that pops most easily into my mind). So you’d expect them to know, somehow.

    On the other hand, it’s clear that while ignorant, the citizens of the Mud Whale are (well, were) more or less happy with their lives, and even if they had some adult responsibilities you can also see children just getting to be children. So perhaps the Elders’ decision/policy of not telling was an attempt at protection, to give the people under their rule the best lives they could even under the not-so-great circumstances and the shorter lifespan most of the citizens have, which is probably the answer to my question, actually.

    Still, it’s something to think about, I guess. And either way, the Mud Whale have had the cruellest awakening possible with the way the episode ended.

    1. The reason why any true history is being kept a secret, probably relates to keeping the general population under control. It’s not the freedom or fairness that counts, rather the stability and survival of such a nomadic civilisation. It’s at least clear the elders knew they were under pursuit, considering how one of them pretty much repeated ‘It’s over’ after Ouni broke out Lykos.

      Agree that the world forces adult responsibilities onto these kids. It seems wrong, but I’m quite sure that’s how things were many centuries ago, specifically the Victorian times, when children worked at the age of 5 in terrible conditions. I imagine that they grew up quick, and had no childhood, as they were suddenly thrust into a world of adult responsibilities. When you’re on the run from people who want to destroy you, escaping and surviving hold priority over providing pleasant childhoods. Plus their way of life is simple and fulfilling, I don’t see much to complain about.

      And yah, people tend to be happier when ignorant. Well as you said, rude awakening incoming. We’re sure to find out what the consequences will be in the next episode.

  8. Re: Sami getting shot, you’d think that a natural thymia user wouldn’t just step in front of someone to shield them, they’d also activate their ability, even just unconsciously. I can believe that most of the targets were so dumbfounded that it never occured to them to protect themselves, but for someone who obviously felt a danger, her behavior wasn’t thought through by the writers. Thymia might not have been enough to stop the bullets, but given how it could block a sword thrust with body weight behind it (and that was Chakuro, who was supposed to be not very good with thymia), it could at least reduce bullet speed.

  9. cshin9

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