Sasami-san@Ganbaranai – 07 & 08

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai 08 (10)

If it’s to help BD sales, there’s nowhere beyond the reach of magical light beams!

Real life can get in the way of blogging, but my vacation in Korea is over, and I’m moved into my new home, so let’s catch up with Sasami-san@Ganbaranai, which has been getting quite interesting these past couple episodes. Sasami’s mother was defeated within an episode, but it seems that that was setup for something even bigger, as the following episode introduced more body transformation horrors and some time travel for good measure. Where is this show going?

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai 08 (1)Sasami-san@Ganbaranai 08 (2)

I would’ve been okay with a Goldfinger-style mirroring, but keeping her clothing correct while flipping her hands just seems like carelessness.

So Tama made quick work of Sasami’s mother and Sasami’s barrier in episodes 7 and 8 respectively, while Tsurugi seemed to have little trouble coming back to the world of the living at will, to the point that they felt like deus ex machina (ironically, Kagami, the actual god from machine, was largely helpless). Tsurugi’s escape from the afterlife was handwaved with that sword, but why hadn’t she used it before? At least with Tama, she had the excuse of being in shock after seeing her sisters murdered in front of her. Also, she’s just a kid. That fact seems to confer her incredible powers, as her eating ability as a new god was what toppled Sasami’s mother and Sasami’s barrier. New gods create mayhem for the old ones, apparently.

That new versus old dichotomy seems to be taking front and center in this arc. I touched on it before – the mother is the conservative figure, relying on her traditional source of power to come back and control Sasami. But she was defeated by a newcomer, the young god Tama, with abilities that she couldn’t counter. It’s representative of the old guard being taken down by the up and coming whipper snappers because they just can’t wrap their hardcoded minds around new paradigms. A couple of my favorite works in Western media did great running with this concept recently. 2007′s Oscar winner for Best Picture No Country for Old Men was, in part, about the failure of existing institutions and ideals to stop a relentlessly psychopathic villain (obviously alluded to by the title). HBO’s “secret best show on TV” The Wire also played with this concept with ruthless young drug kingpin Marlo Stanfield entering the series and taking control of Baltimore from the established dealers while also successfully evading the police.

This is the natural state of things, of course. Constant conflict between the new and the old, the ones who want to move forward fighting against those who want to protect what they know. You can probably tell from my language that I’m firmly on the side of the progress. But I still think that this constant conflict is a good thing, an indication of discourse as we collectively work to create a better future. Yes, I think the world would be a better place without all the conservatives and traditionalists holding back progress, but at the same time, I wouldn’t want to get rid of them. They serve an important check against the arrogance of progress. The more confident I am, the more important it is that others contradict me.

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai 07b (1)

Yeah, Tama is fucking scary!

I think I got off track a bit. How does this relate to Sasami-san? As the retired Amaterasu, Tsurugi is a member of the old guard who has embraced change. Not just embraced, but helped bring it about. Sasami’s mother is also of the old guard, but she fights to protect it, the opposite of Tsurugi. This could very well be my confirmation bias, but it seems that Sasami-san is taking a progressive position, showing the mother to be a villain who brings pain to our protagonists. And to add insult to injury, she proves to be completely impotent in the face of the new, as Tama defeats her easily just by being herself.

At the same time, there’s plenty of criticism of the new here. From the beginning, Sasami was filled with despair and self-hate from her lazy lifestyle. She’s had to suffer the consequences, such as her sudden weight gain in the latest episode. And these past 2 episodes did a lot to improve the mother’s image, showing her playing with and caring for her daughter and also kicking ass to protect humanity. She caused much suffering for Sasami, but turns out she did have some maternal qualities!

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai 08 (3)

So maybe the show doesn’t have a definite message about new versus old that it’s pounding on, other than that it’s complicated. Dogmatically following any one group or philosophy is a bad idea, and as difficult as life can get, you have to make your own choices. But then again, who knows what this show is getting at? We suddenly gotten A Christmas Carol with a dash of The Terminator with the end of this latest episode, which is about as out there as the aliens and Sasami double of episode 4, so your guess of the show’s direction is as good as mine. Not to mention Kamiomi who’s suddenly turned from siscon dunce into a dark and mysterious badass capable of striking fear into “his” mother. Sasami-san@Ganbaranai clearly still has a few cards up its sleeve, and I just hope it can bring the animation quality up a bit as it finally starts playing them.

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai 08 (6)

Don’t be ashamed, Sasami! You weren’t the only horribly disfigured one in this episode!

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A math/science geek and a self-dubbed cynical optimist. I don't care if it's deep, if it can make me feel something or laugh, it's fine in my book. @lvlln
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8 Responses to “Sasami-san@Ganbaranai – 07 & 08”

  1. skylion says:

    It’s always about the conversation. I’ve found, as I approach middle-age, that some of the earnest liberal ideas I had, are becoming more mellow, more conservative in application. I blame my Dad, life long American Conservative that he is. However, I am able to, in conversations with him, inform the old man about how much both of us are in error about how we perceive the other side. It takes talking it out, it takes empathy, it takes growth; amazing that it can still happens at our respective ages of 42 and 75.

    • Highway says:

      I followed somewhat a similar trajectory, but have gone from very progressive to fairly conservative, and then in a third direction to very libertarian (note small l). The idea of freedom and personal liberty in doing what you want, as long as it doesn’t bring harm to others (with very strict definitions of harm, as well) is something very important to me. But it still represents change from the old to new, and the idea of letting people do what they want is very difficult for almost everyone to accept. But if you want to do what you want, you should extend the same consideration to others.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    With so much contrast on Sasami’s mother between the two episodes, I have no idea what to think of her anyone. Episode 7 portrayed her as a selfish bitch pushing her ideals on Sasami but 8 shows her as a self sacrificing mother. The trouble with her is that even dead, she refuses to accept that the world is changing. I wonder if she’ll ever come to terms with that line of thinking.

    I don’t fully understand how Tama became a new god. So she gained a new status by consuming parts of her sisters, right? If that’s the case, Kagami and Tsurugi should be able to do the same but would be more incomplete than the other.

    • lvlln says:

      I think Tama just is a new god, one that Tsurugi created with a part of her. Kagami is also one, but maybe she doesn’t get the advantages because she’s so much older. Tsurugi, on the other hand, is an old god who’s retired.

      With Sasami’s mother, I thought Tsurugi implied that she had basically disintegrated in the afterlife at the end of episode 7. She’s double dead.

  3. Highway says:

    I still think the show is a bit too directionless. It’s interesting enough in the moment, but it doesn’t really do much to make me think about it afterwards, or really feel like I want to talk about it. And it doesn’t really leave much room to talk about it, either.

    • BlackBriar says:

      This kind of direction is appropriate. The anime’s story is unpredictable which in my opinion, is good because it keeps you guessing as to what’s going to happen next. The first episode was huge testament to that. It was entertaining because I felt a lot of originality. The less interesting ones are so few it’s easy to overlook.

  4. Overcooled says:

    Well, if you’re being biased then I’m biased too, because I’m feeling the same “new god replaces old” vibes. Tama is a new God and she has the unique power of being able to kill old Gods. It’s like old traditions giving way to new ones, shown in the form of a dim-witted girl eating melon-sized holes out of things. The only odd thing about it is that if Tama is a God, then I wouldn’t feel comfortable entrusting the world to her. She’s really dumb right now, whereas these older Gods are a lot smarter. Maybe she’ll get smarter over time? Maybe even later into the series?

    Anyways, I share some of the same issues as Highway in that the directionlessness of it all is a bit underwhelming. Then again, the recent episodes have been kinda cool…

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