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