「正気の沙汰ではないんです」 (Shouki no Satade wa Nai desu)
“This Is Insane”
Every kid dreams of flight. Well, at least I did. It’s the thing I miss most from my childhood: vivid dreams of defying gravity. Maybe it’s because it’s because I grew up with Castle in the Sky Laputa, or maybe it’s because it is human nature to look to the sky and wonder, but there was a phase where I apparently tired of solid earth. When a teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I of course told her that I wanted to be a pilot. Actually, I told her I wanted to be a dinosaur, but the answer I would have given if I was old enough to understand basic biology would have said pilot. Actually I would probably have said astronaut, but the idea was the same. Go high, go fast. That’s what young boys want.
Obviously a team at BONES looked into my childhood, understood my disappointment at failing to become either a pilot or a giant reptile, and decided to make an anime of pure wish fulfilment: dragon jets. That’s not a complaint. Dragon jets are awesome, or so my inner child keeps shouting into my ear. But it turns out there is more reason to watch Hisone to Masotan that just transforming mecha-dragons. Sounds impossible, but in this I actually found Hisone (Kuno Misaki) more interesting than Masotan (which is what we’re going to be calling the dragon, judging by the preview). What a fun protagonist she is. Not only does she supply the necessary quota of quirky faces (which must be half the reason I still watch anime), she’s also got spunk. Often, protagonists in her position basically get bullied into being the protagonist. Reluctant heroes who refuse the call at first are the norm for many stories, and in anime they are often pushed into answering the call anyway through a mixture of peer pressure and uncontrollable circumstances. That’s how it is for Hisone too, but at least she drums up enough sass to mount a defence. In the face of the ridiculous she pushes back with reason and outrage instead of immediately folding. I don’t know if that’s how millennials are supposed to be — kids these days with their cat photos and their vaping and their backtalk — and it probably makes Hisone poor military material, but she’s a refreshing protagonist. She also extra amusing for me as a blogger; when I’m watching a show for RandomC I take notes while I watch, which is usually just Mystery-Science-Theater-esque running commentary. That is, pages of snark. When a character snarks on my behalf like Hisone I form a connection with her immediately as a fellow mouthy wiseass. She’s one of my people. Welcome, sister.
Of course, the characterisation is supported by the rest of the production. The art style worked well for an anime that had elements of both nostalgia and futurism and held even when it wasn’t taking itself 100% seriously. In complement, the scenes of flight were beautiful and suitably uplifting (pardon the pun). As we should expect of BONES; any show they work on at the very least looks good and moves well. But it’s not just about making a pretty anime, it’s about how the aesthetic comes together, in this case to create a rather endearing even when it should be kind of gross. All in all, this pilot was a neat package that has has me optimistic about Hisone to Masotan. I admit that I got into the show mainly because of the quirky premise and respectable staff, but now I have hopes for more. And for those of you who may be unsure about the weirdness of a show about dragon fighter jets, I do recommend giving Hisone to Masotan a go anyway. It’s still really a story about humans and humanity. Even if not, anime has had much weirder. And it’s often rewarding to try something new.