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.
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.
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.