American TV has slowly started experimenting beyond the standard “debut every series in September and see what sticks” model, but it’s still the case that fall is the season where the big ticket items are debuted. Similiarly, the big anime seasons tend to be spring and fall, with the winter and particularly the summer season left to left to flounder with continuing shows and one or two decent new offerings.
That was certainly the case last summer, as noted by our very tepid awards post for summer 2010. It was not the case in winter 2011, with some remarkably solid offerings including Madoka, which is still the most likely candidate for show of the year. It’s also not the case here, with some strong continuing series being equaled or bested by shows that debuted this season. Neither of us were prepared for how remarkably strong, on balance, this season’s offerings were.
It’s unfortunate that the strength of the best series of this season eclipsed some other gems. When the most competitive category is “Best Show We Didn’t Cover,” that’s a good sign that summer 2011 was a great three months for anime. And that remains true even though the second most competitive category was “Most Offensive Series.”
As bear didn’t have a chance to watch most of the summer shows, this post is written entirely by 3HM.
Well, my hopes for a full accounting were left unfulfilled. Instead, the show is delaying its climax until the release of a feature film, in the summer of next year. It’s a trick Production I.G. has already done with Eden of the East, and I can’t say I liked it much then either. On the other hand, it’s not too different than delaying a final resolution until a future season, which is hardly uncommon nowadays.
So, some outstanding questions do remain. Who is Fumito, and where does his influence and power come from? What motivated him to take on this project, and what will he consider to be its proper end? What will he claim as his own if he “wins”?
And make no mistake, despite the absolute slaughter that carried on throughout this episode, the experiment is not yet over. Fumito still has plans in motion. And instilling in Saya a dreadful desire for vengeance is only a part of that.
With the revelation last episode that certain character thought dead were very much alive and kicking, the full extent of the charade around Saya’s life came into focus. This episode, aside from a sudden appearance from an monster which is just as quickly forgotten, devotes itself to playing that out, with the frankly mercenary motives of the deceivers laid bare. Such motives become all the more horrific when one realizes that only the “main cast” was spared death; everyone else wasn’t in on it.
Kanako, however, is far less concerned about the carnage left in the wake of the experiment, so much as the fact that it’s still ongoing. She has reason to think Fumito is “cheating” with the results, wiping Saya’s memory whenever she is close to remembering. So she decides to cheat a little on her own—regardless of what it means for Saya.
The central question of this show thus far has not been, “Who is deceiving Saya?” but rather, “What are all the people deceiving Saya getting out of it, and to what extent are they working at cross purposes?” We know that Saya’s father, friend/favorite cafe owner, and teacher are all in on it, but the whys seem different in each case. This is particularly so since everything indicates homeroom teacher Kanako is a human researcher, while father figure Tadayoshi (it is strongly implied) needs to drink blood to survive.
Whatever the cause of their alliance, it seems to be coming apart now—and perhaps it was destined to do even if Watanuki never entered into the scene. The basic goals of the of the three might be as different as their natures, and this episode does plenty to hint at both.
There’s this great line in Moulin Rouge: “Without trust, there can be no love.” The reverse is also true: When there is love, trust often follows—even when it is not deserved.
Saya has that work both for her and against her this episode, and I think I prefer the latter incidences far more than the former. Saya, after all, has a variety of reasons to trust people who have lied to her repeatedly. But her classmates, however fond they are of her, have their own reasons to recoil at her actions. We don’t see that here.
When viewing American TV shows, one becomes used to the idea that some episodes will be radically better or worse than others. After all, each individual episode of American TV usually has its own writer (or team of writers) and director, so the quality of the production obviously various based on the talents of each pairing.
Anime doesn’t have that: Episode directors come and go, but there’s always a main director behind the show, and a series composer to provide much of the writing. Theoretically, this means that the overall quality of a show should stay consistent—and when it doesn’t, there’s some other factor at work. Here, I can point to one possible factor immediately: This is a CLAMP show.
Humans have remarkably poor night vision compared to most of the things inclined to eat us, so perhaps it’s natural that many of the macabre creations of our folklore only come out at night, from vampires being burnt by the sun to werewolves transformed under the light of the moon. The monsters of Blood-C had followed that pattern, which is why the appearance of one during the day caught Saya (and the audience) so off guard.
The monster also struck at Saya’s home, in the (presumably warded) temple where Saya sleeps. It attacks not Saya, but one of Saya’s close friends, who is utterly incapable of defending herself. Nene spends most of her remaining screen time alternating between catatonic shock and panicked flight, and Saya sustains her own injuries in a frantic attempt to save her.