「お前たちの未来が見たい」 (Omae tachi no mirai ga mitai)
“I Want To See Your Future ”
The mud whale’s song, of the people I sing,
Made nomadic escape, a frightful fate,
from haughty Empire’s unrelenting hate.
Cursed and exiled from continental shore,
Long labors, both by sea and land, they bore.
– Zaiden’s Rewording of ‘The Aeneid’ by Virgil
Quick Recap: Falaina won’t simply go like lambs to the slaughter, having resolved to fight back against the Empire’s genocidal regime. However, I always had an inkling that things would never be so straightforwards, and that their plan would probably end with many casualties. And as ordained, the mysterious allure of Neri’s singing and dancing starkly contrasted rampant scenes of carnage and destruction. Young kids nonchalantly took lives, trivializing war into fun and games, much to Masoo’s despair. But what other choice could be had, other than accepting a cruel demise? And so they must fight to preserve their existence, turning the sea of sands crimson through violent bloodshed.
As always, proper execution left much to be desired. We were meant to find Hakuji’s passing deeply touching, where he came to regret his prior idea to sink the Mud Whale. To that end, he sought to sacrifice himself for the sake of protecting a younger generation from certain death. Unfortunately, the clumsy way he took out the soldiers left me laughing, which detracted from a moment that should have focused solely on Hakuji’s redemption. Also, I wasn’t too sure about the necessity for Liontari to intrude upon such a delicate moment by suddenly shortening Hakuji’s dying moment. Such was its jarring effect, that it killed the mood for me. Fortunately, the ending somewhat salvaged the momentum.
「この世から消えてしまえ」 (Konoyo kara kie te shimae)
“Disappear From This World”
Sing, heavenly muse, on top of the sands.
Of Falaina’s first disobedience,
Of the Nous, whose forbidden emotions,
Brought death into the world, and all our woe.
– Zaiden’s Rewording of ‘Paradise Lost’ by John Milton
There was so much dark beauty, going into the moment where the massacre occurred. Bodies dropped, like marionettes that had their strings cut, emphasising the callous nature in which the guns went about claiming lives. But I really wish we got to know these characters better before they died. I don’t even remember the name of this guy, although he had a memorable trait of patting people on the head. As a result, the impact was very diminished to the point of feeling inconsequential, since no important character got caught up in the ambush.
Speaking of deaths, there was a notable one this episode, with Liontari finally kicking the bucket. Rather than feeling overjoyed, Suou’s vision made me pity the poor boy. From a young age, he was rejected by the Nous, becoming the sole outlier filled with emotions. Had he been born on Falaina, he would have lived an ordinary life. Instead, he’s subject to being an outcast, driven to attempting suicide in a fit of grief and insanity. Above all, he is abandoned by his very own family. Of course, this does not excuse the joy he derives from inflicting suffering and pain upon others. However, it’s not difficult to see why he turned out to have a few screws loose. And seeing the flash of longing in his eyes, when Suou extended an offer to live with them, really hit home that he’d been looking for a place to belong for his whole life.
Unfortunately, he rejects the proposition, and Shuan puts him out of his misery, though his end ultimately came at the hands of the very children he tried to terrorise. While survival is of the utmost priority, it’s saddening that these children are now undergoing experiences, that will devalue their sense for the sanctity of life. Once the war is over, how will they readjust back into times of peace? In that sense, I regard these children as permanently affected for the worse, by circumstances far beyond their control.
These mysterious tendrils seem to gravitate towards the wounded or deceased, so I’m beginning to wonder if Falaina operates by absorbing the life force of its residents. Could that be the alleged original sin, where an experimentation was made with the Nous, that directly interfered with human life? But it would be difficult to explain why the ancestors would choose such a horrible option, unless life on the mainland became absolutely untenable. To be honest, the Empire doesn’t sound very different from the hell on Earth they ironically ascribe unto Falaina. So I can see the thin veil of logic behind escaping, and retaining full capacity of emotions, at the cost of shortened lives.
Now that the Empire has decided to go after them, their time is almost up – this conflict is simply unsustainable for Falaina. Their population was never large to begin with, yet they lost so many people trying to take out Skylos. In short, any leverage that Falaina gain from superior Thymia is completely outstripped by the Empire’s resources. As such, I find it very difficult to see how they can keep up the fight, let alone prevail. I’m waiting to see our protagonists pull the rabbit out of a hat, because a Deus Ex Machina is pretty much required. So as the crusaders of old would say, ‘deus vult’.