OP2: 「Paradigm Box」by Ritsu Shikishima (Chiharu Sawashiro), Shougo Satake (Shunsuke Takeuchi)
“Anxiety, Irritation, and Other Such Negative Emotions Spread to Others.”
Carrying on from last week’s craziness, this episode did a fantastic job of slowly revealing things without letting the cat entirely slip out.
From what we’ve seen so far, I’d wager to guess that the normal folks are people trapped inside a Matrix of sorts, which seems to be highschool on repeat. This virtual reality isn’t particularly stable, since glitches occur all over the place. And even though μ doesn’t harbour a shred of malice and intends to make the realm a utopia, she’s clearly being manipulated. The Ostinato Musicians are the people who are really in control and they use brute enforcers to clamp down on any potential rogue elements, turning paradise into a totalitarian nightmare. With these heavy dystopian elements combined with Atlus’ creativity, vibes of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise are evoked. A quick look at the game’s staff confirmed that the scriptwriter, Satomi Tadashi, actually wrote stories for the earlier Persona games. Does that make me hyped? Hell yeah, I am utterly psyched!
Id, Ego & Super-Ego
One of the hallmarks of the older Persona/SMT games were how a gritty psychological approach was interconnected with grey morality. I’d say Caligula is an absolutely intriguing show, made in a similar vein, that manages to tread down psychological pathways with a great deal of philosophical scepticism. If you have 17 years worth of memory that you realise is riddled with inconsistencies, backed up by reality going out of whack, how would you respond? A rational person would quickly conclude that either they themselves were crazy or the entire world was crazy. For the vast majority, it is more likely that you’d go through every check to confirm the situation, before taking a plunge that entirely dismisses everything you’ve ever known. To that end, Ritsu acts like any reasonable person, carefully assessing his circumstance without making a rash decision. While he doesn’t immediately trust Shogo and Aria, even though it seems really obvious to the viewer that he should, it’s not like he blindly trusts his friends either – a double edged doubt that arguably pays off.
But the penny finally drops, when everybody comes to the dreadful realisation that they are trapped. There’s an outer limit to the reality which they can perceive, and when the world inside transforms into an infernal hell, there is no way of escape. Now we’re left with many questions. What the heck is going on? What exactly can these poor sods do? More importantly, who are these Ostinato Musicians and what is their ultimate end goal?
Judging from last week’s comments, maybe I’m the only one around these parts who is thoroughly enjoying this series. But screw it, I’m a stubborn bastard and will try to convince everybody else that this show is bloody fantastic. For me at least, Caligula is the dark horse that continues galloping into the night, and I’ll be remaining seated on this wildly exciting ride. Thanks for reading my post, and see you folks next week. Giddy up, Caligula!
ED2: 「Hypno」by Kotono Kashiwaba (Rie Murakawa), Naruko Morita (Ari Ozawa), Mifue Shinohara (Rie Takahashi), Suzuna Kagura (Minami Tanaka)