“I’m Glad I Was Born Here”
As we accelerate towards the end, everything smashed into fragments, with the series was trying to cram as many loose ends as they could. Rather than attempt to half-heartedly deal with everything at once, which had the side effect of showcasing many flaws, I kind of wish they just focused on fewer things. This was a long time coming, but I shall now proceed to rattle about my gripes.
Jebaited. That sums up how I felt, when the attempted revolution fell apart in a couple of seconds like a damp squib. If there’s one thing I absolutely detest, it would be intentionally misleading viewers by having Chakuro ominously narrate the end of the previous episode, when nothing was ever going to happen. This isn’t even misdirection, so much as plain deceit. Remember, never go all-in when your poker hand consists of literally nothing. Otherwise, you’ll end up with nothing left in the bank! Though it’s not like Kujira had anything to spare at this point anyway…
Last Look at the Empire
I never wanted to see Liontari again, so other than voicing the same old dissatisfaction, I don’t intend on pursuing that topic any further. Orca makes a final appearance, shedding some light on the sarx (Greek for Flesh), a speciality reserved for the upper class enabling the retention of emotions. As such, it immediately becomes apparent that the Empire’s society faces an endemic issue with corruption, starting from the very top. But because we’ve arrived at the end of our journey, this matter won’t be dealt with any further.
I’m not sure if I should be unhappy at never receiving closure, or whether I should be happy that there was no opportunity to mess this up as well. For someone who possessed the makings of a great anti-villain, it’s a real shame how Orka’s thought process is never properly explored. From what I can tell, he wanted to create a better world, where people won’t have to kill one another. A noble sentiment worthy of admiration, if not for the shallow circumstances of his character’s creation.
The Truth about Falaina
Suou reveals the truth to the Marked, about the reason behind their shortened lives. Some respond with anger, chucking rocks at him. But amidst the general despair, Ouni steps up to rally the Marked, urging them to respect the sacrifices made by those who died. Then everyone starts singing and dancing and holding hands, which should mean it’s gonna be a happy ending, right?
No, that was not a happy ending for me personally. If possible, I’d ask for a return on my time investment, since it could have been better spent on other things. For every promise that Kujira made, amounting to delusions of grandeur, it fell miserably short due to conceit. It had a fantastic fantasy setting, and gorgeous visuals to boot, so where did it all go wrong?
One of Kujira’s biggest weaknesses was an inability to adequately address death. In the final episode, Masoo died peacefully, and most of the characters were crying. However, I found it impossible to muster any sense of sadness myself, and it pretty much underlined a huge problem throughout the series. Dying became such a commonplace occurrence, that it became difficult to appreciate the sanctity of life. To top it off, this wasn’t even the first time I experienced such an extreme degree of apathy either. While attempts were made to bestow meaning through the cultural customs surrounding funerals, that just wasn’t enough. Despite being a nice idea, tradition simply cannot compensate for a lack of characterisation, which was sorely missing in our fictional setup.
Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau itself feels greatly inspired by literary works from classical civilisation, and I can see that it tries to take on their wonderful ideas. But these ideas clearly pose too much of a burden for the plot to withstand, conceptually speaking. And that ultimately came down to the root of our issues – the way in which our story was told. It’s no use having a great vision, if you do not have the means of bringing it about. We saw but a pitiful fraction of Kujira’s vast world. The pacing was all over the place, and the narrative flow was consistently interrupted by interesting yet half-baked ideas – our end product being a mess of unrealised potential. Not only did the plot severely suffer, we didn’t even get to know our protagonists that well! Lykos felt like a complete stranger to me, and when characters cannot be connected with even after a twelve episode run, that begs some serious questions. I think I speak for a lot of people, when I say that Ouni was the only character I liked!
Aye aye. I held out till the end in spite of the warning signs, because I hoped that the ship would eventually correct itself. Many people told me to pull out when there was still time left, but I foolishly ignored them, choosing to wait for the turnaround whilst embarking on a perilous voyage. Instead, our boat fully capsized, sinking alongside all the hopes and dreams that I had for this series. May a season two never grace our shores, amen.
Thanks for sticking with me. So long sailors, and see you on the other side!