Archive for June 22nd, 2008

kure-nai: Changes

“turn and face the strange~~” (Wait, this is an anime blog, shouldn’t I be referencing Base Ball Bear instead? Oh well)

So, after having zero time in the last few weeks to actually watch kure-nai, or much of anything, really–despite being able to keep up with a hectic schedule of class and work and homework and blogging during the school year, either the oppressive heat is making me lackadasical, or working 43-hour workweeks + 12 hours alternate weekends is just taking its toll on me and rendering me a quivering pile of flesh when I get home–I have finally managed to watch the final three episodes of kure-nai today, and, well, it was grand.

The main attraction of kure-nai prior to the drama-bomb that was episode 9 was its mixing of dramatic elements with frequent light-hearted jaunts as we watch Murasaki explore the world outside the Inner Sanctuary. Of course, these last three episodes have focused rather more on the “drama” part of the spectrum, although there have been light-hearted moments in them–but these moments are more tension-breakers than anything else.

With the focus on drama, then, comes even more characterization. Shinkurou, of course, distraught at the forceful removal of Murasaki from his life, in standard Shinkurou manner, decides to try his best to completely forget that it ever happened and simply (and coldly) move on to the next job Benika assigns him, since, as Yayoi explained to him, there’s nothing he can do, because they’re up against the Kuhouins, and to challenge them is death. Of course, once he runs out of things to occupy himself with, namely, cleaning up his dingy, grimy six-tatami apartment, his thoughts drift, unfocused, back to Murasaki and the imperative to rescue her. Unable to give up on Murasaki until he hears what she truly wishes to do, Shinkurou insists on returning to the highly dangerous (and ginormous) Kuhouin estate, which Benika agrees to and drags Yayoi along for the ride.

<entire episode of Shinkurou, Benika, and Yayoi punching people in the face. Also character development>

Episode 12 was, of course, the climactic episode, and there’s several things I wanted to touch upon from it. One is the extremely visible difference in Shinkurou as he went back into the estate after being told the situation was hopeless. Before, even though he was determined to rescue Murasaki from the evil clutches of her family, it was a kind of half-hearted, “can I really do this?” kind of determination. By returning to the estate, Shinkurou has, through some kind of strange, roundabout way, become strong, just as he wanted: he’d been in the estate all night, and knew, first-hand, just how difficult and insurmountable a task it was going to be.

When he goes in the second time, it’s with the full knowledge that he might lose, and that losing would mean his death–but he does it anyway. And this change shows quite clearly when he meets Renjou–he is calm, firm, yet unwielding in his persistence to point out the flaws of the Kuhouin family. The first thing I thought of was, of course, the train scene from an early episode. In that scene, of course, Murasaki confronts a group of hoodlums and starts moralizing at them rather loudly, forcing Shinkurou to grab her, apologize, and accept the sputum flung in his direction. Instead, here, he’s doing exactly what Murasaki did back then–taking a firm stance on something and standing his ground, social order be damned. At this point, I don’t think it would have mattered whether he beat Ryuuji in a fistfight or not–he has become strong, which was part of the reason for Benika foisting the Murasaki assignment on him anyway (presumably; she never really said this, I don’t think).

Of course, the other thing I noticed was the exact manner in which the Kuhouins were taken down–through the Houzuki stanceless fighting style. I’m not sure that there’s ever been any kind of explaination as to the history between these two families, except that they share some kind of connection, and that they don’t really care for each other that much. It seems strangely appropriate, then, that the fighting comes to a close (for a while, anyway) with the Houzuki fighting style, directly after Renjou talks about how disgusting and vile the Houzukis are. We know the truth, of course–they have a deadly history, yes, but I find it hard to conceive of Yuuno killing anyone, monetary compensation or no–but I found it strangely appropriate that the Kuhouins should be defeated in such a manner. Especially when the direction blends the two fights of Shinkurou and Yayoi into that series of alternating-yet-connected shots (I have no idea what to call that, but it was a great touch).

And, of course, we can’t forget Shinkuorou’s arm blade when we talk of things such as this–the arm blade was installed by the Houzukis at Shinkurou’s behest, and it’s been a burden to him throughout the entire series–literally from the first scene. Shinkurou had the blade installed because he wanted to become stronger, and it didn’t make him stronger–one might say that it made him weaker. But, as if to drive home his new-found strength, he defeats the Kuhouins without the use of the blade, with the blade only appearing in a fit of rage while trying to protect Murasaki. Of course, now that the blade is public knowledge, Shinkurou admits his own faults to Murasaki, who makes the comment that the two of them are essentially the same. Although, the argument could be made that both of them have recognized the faults of themselves, their surroundings, and have already taken a large step towards making themselves better.

In conclusion: Don’t believe in yourself, believe in the little girl who believes in you!

Or something like that.

That was a joke.

Please laugh.



I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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June 2008