In a classical Scooby-Doo reveal, budget Touma turned out to be Cancer-kun. Given his whitened hair, controllable body extensions, and pockmarked eye sockets, I couldn’t help getting Tokyo Ghoul vibes from his character design. And that would be rather fitting too, because where existentialism was concerned he became the tragic villain of this set-piece. To be honest, I didn’t think I could be made to feel sympathy for a cancer cell, especially since cancer has caused death and suffering for some of my loved ones. But this episode somehow managed it.
Utilitarianism, Consequentialism, Existentialism
From Cancer-kun’s perspective, what was the positive meaning of his existence? To have an innately destructive life that was not of his choosing? To be actively hunted out like an animal for the slaughter? An interesting ethical discussion was brought to the table, that reminded me of the one presented in Shin Sekai Yori, which I won’t elaborate upon because spoilers. But it wouldn’t be difficult to take a pragmatic stance. The Cancer cell will die either ways, and in accordance with utilitarian schools of thought, we should strive to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. That would mean saving the body and sacrificing the rogue element that will cause it harm. And as White Blood Cell put it, the immune cells are doing their job. What else do you expect them to do, stand by and watch the body get destroyed out of concern for consequentialism? At the end of the day, it is not a difficult question to answer. Screw Cancer, though feel free to take pity on the poor cell that was involuntarily born as one.
Praise aside, I did have a non-trivial qualm. After sneakily pre-reading this chapter, I overhyped the upcoming action because it genuinely seemed like a complete package. Sad to say, David Production completely dropped the ball on this one. For what it could have been, the fight scene ended up being a huge disappointment. And it wasn’t just the overall action choreography, which was subpar to say the least. The animation was uncharacteristically shoddy across the board, and some of these frames were unacceptable for a studio of their caliber. Go back and check the episode, I kid you not. When Macrophage stops RBC-chan and asks her where all the RBCs are going, a RBC has a noticeably unnatural movement cycle before freezing near RBC-chan. That said, I’d cut the animators some slack because their work is tiring and a truly thankless task. Just hope these issues are fixed before future blu-ray releases.
Anyway, enough with the criticism. This episode may have fallen below my personal levels of expectation, but it was nevertheless a fine one that did not miss a beat in terms of executing the story line in question, even if the animation and choreography were not up to scratch. Having skipped ahead by reading the manga, Blood Circulation was a chapter that I found uninspiring. But who knows. While the anime might have been below par on this particular occasion, it has been a major exception to what has generally been an exemplary adaptation. Also, I have no doubt that David Production will bounce back, since they are talented enough to go beyond the source material.