I’ll ruin you because I love you

Episode four of Casshern Sins; an animated, beautiful contradiction. Perfectly flawed, just the way I like it.

Some times, you need not say anything. Merely the way you move, a seemingly insignificant, deft touch, can betray your heart, because context is everything; words have no meaning without it. Your context is your smile, those tears, that sky. It’s a visual thing. When all that you can see might provoke such a strong sensation, words are an almost tragic nuisance, forever contradicting the simplicity of the moment. Episode four of Casshern Sins is visual poetry; evocative; melancholy; beautiful. This is when words are insufficient, it simply must be seen. Like ballet or wuxia, as if on stage, these characters spin, twist and jump, towards and around each other, every movement an indirect, evocative step forward, like feathers carried by winds of fate, blown across red pools and rocky desolation, secretly dancing to the soundtrack, transfixed by an insatiable desire to understand the other. It is emotion in action, confused, joyful, elegant. Have you ever done something, yet felt the exact opposite? That is episode four of Casshern Sins, an animated, beautiful contradiction. Perfectly flawed, just the way I like it.

Author: bateszi

A huge bloody nerd. I apologise in advance. I live in Cambridge, England. That's not an excuse, by the way.

24 thoughts on “I’ll ruin you because I love you”

  1. Um yum, these screens look scrumptious, and they scream emotion, something relatively lacking in most shows. Definitely peaked my interest, I’ll check out the first few episodes (including this one) and post some tingling thoughts by tonight!

  2. Good stuff, Ivy. I’ll be looking forward to reading your opinion. At this point, it is probably my favourite autumn anime (though that seems to change on an almost nightly basis right now). It has beautiful art direction, an emotive soundtrack and some really exciting, stylish action.

  3. Wow, ok where do I start. First off I watched the first episode way back when, I thought it was ok, stylish if missing a little in substance. I did love the setting though, very intriguing from the get go. What I didn’t expect to get was a relatively compelling story. The way its presents small segments at the start of each episode which lead to the eventual death of Luna (its pretty obvious judging from the string of events) is absolutely terrific and effective. I enjoyed episode 2,3,4 and 6. Two had a much needed grounded episode regarding the world and its state. It made me appreciate the first episode so much more. 3 had Akos. They played a great parallel in this episode, with a human dying of natural causes and him wanting to join the community of robots who have accepted the so-called ruin. 4 Of course had Sophita. Her fight against Casshern was so exciting to watch. The scenes of her being thrown across the water of blood was just so large and telling. Her begging him to fight was heart-breaking, not knowing how to express herself alas through fighting she could, its hard and tough but she does it cause she has to. 6 I won’t spoil, but I will say that I’m generally happy with the way they handled the episode. It had (finally!) focus and some obvious direction.

    Generally speaking Casshern is a great show. It has evocative music, consistent animation, great art, style and scenery. I especially love how the show has a cynical view on things. Its refreshing and a breath of fresh air. The character designs needed some getting used to, but I love them now, Sophita’s design was very impressive. Too many great shows this season, so I won’t say its my favorite yet, its pretty close though. I will say one thing though, this is one show everyone should watch, once you get over the style you’ll find that its much more conventional then you think, not too cliched either but very accessible. Watch it, enjoy it, love it. I need episode 7.

  4. Well written, Batz. It was a beautiful analysis befitting of this exceptional episode. I was especially touched by the juxtaposition of their fighting styles; the way Sophita finds it expressive and liberating, against Casshern, who treats it as a burden, an act that shackles him to despair. But even despite the contrasting philosophies, they both share battle as a means to get their thoughts across, and to understand one another. It was indeed a beautiful thing to watch. Almost makes it hard for me to believe this was the same director behind all those DBZ movies. =\

  5. Wow, seriously that paragraph was a joy to read, the anime has perked my interest, but as someone who appreciates good writing, (and in the contradictory theme of the crux of your point, that words are second to context.)no words will suffice.

    Off to check out the opening episode.^^

  6. It was a really beautiful scene I especially loved the music that was playing. It was just so fitting. Sophita was just a very memorable character.

  7. Many are complaining about the bleak gray landscape (not to mention all the angst), but when colors do appear, like Sophita, or when Casshern’s eyes light up, or that seashell, it suggests that there is indeed life still here to be found, just buried underneath.

  8. Loving this series too – think episode 3 may be my favourite so far. The first time he meets a human; and he’s practically in the same boat as the robots are. It seems like a simplistic series in many ways, but there’s a powerfully emotive feel under the ruined landscapes and decaying robots.

  9. I’ve been avoiding Casshern Sins like the plauge since this season started, in the main because i assosciate it with this atrocity of a life action movie. but every time i see you make a post on it, i watch another episode.

    time to download episode 2, and put off some homework >.>

  10. I’ve only watched episode 1 of Casshern. I’ve just been too busy, but, WOW, it was a great episode! Very beautiful. This anime is the most visually stunning of this new season, IMO. Every image is so rich. Also… very bleak. The music is also very well done (and present for so much of the episode). I forgot that I was watching a series and thought it must be a movie! I’m looking forward to watching more.

    Among other series that I may try to follow [and that I’ve watched the first episode of two of] are: Kurozuka, Nodame Cantabile, and Skip Beat. Skip Beat is strangely appealing (a train wreck waiting to happen). The story shows a good example of how to do something for the wrong reasons, but to try hard and do it well all the same.

    I think Kurozuka and Casshern will be the ones I look forward to the most, though.

  11. Although the show is pretty liberal with the angst (and after the sour taste Rebuild of Eva left in my mouth I have little tolerance for it in excess), I have to say I’m liking this show.

    Now I haven’t seen enough of the to feel the same way you do but I can appreciate what you describe. This show is all about the visuals and art direction. I don’t get emotion from the visuals when I watch this series, but I do get a lot of creativity. I loved the “delayed” portions of the fight scenes. Like you rarely saw him move but sort of the effect of movement. I love shows that try to get creative with those sort of things.

    As always great recommendations that keep me coming back!

  12. @Ivy: Totally agree, and if it wasn’t for Sophita, I would have written about Akos. Both of these characters are fascinating and represent such a strong sense of philosophy and emotion. I especially enjoyed Akos’ “humans are contradictions” speech.

    @Sagacious1: Everything about Casshern Sins is wonderful, which is remarkable, considering just how little was expected from it pre-season. I’ve just looked at the staff credits and there is something worth noting. Almost everything is driven by just three men; Shigeyasu Yamauchi (direction), Yasuko Kobayashi (writing) and Yoshihiko Umakoshi (animation), which suggests this may be a labour of love between friends. The whole production has a very cohesive feel, as if those working on it are intimate with the source material.

    Also, I think we might be overlooking the importance of Yoshihiko Umakoshi; he was a major force behind Mushishi, worked on Gurren Lagann, Cowboy Bebop, FMA and Berserk; five of the greatest anime TV series ever made, so, indeed, if there is any one person responsible for the quality of Casshern Sins, it’s probably him.

    @Outlawstar: I’m sure you will like it, but be sure to watch up to episode four. This and episode three really push it into another level entirely.

    @Kim: I wonder if we will ever see Sophita again? I hope so. Anyway, I’m with you on the soundtrack. I could listen to it for days on end; I often find myself skipping back to certain scenes just to hear a certain tune again.

    Also, I thought you might find this little fact interesting: Yoshihiko Umakoshi, who is working on the character design/animation for this series, was the chief animation director and character designer for Mushishi; would be interesting to draw parallels between the two.

    @Peter S: Exactly. While it has a very bleak aesthetic, it’s an incredibly inspiring idea to think that these people continue to live on (and ultimately, find happiness). I think that’s the whole point of Casshern Sins, really, that no matter how bad things get, people will survive. We will all die (“ruined”) some day, but we live on, regardless.

    @wildcard: Indeed, the show offers so much for us to consider; philosophically and emotionally. Every time I think back to certain characters, like Akos, I find myself questioning their every exchange of dialogue, trying to fathom meaning from their every moment. It’s so thought provoking in that way and an inspiring, beautiful sense of emotion that underlies it all.

    @Celeste: I’ve seen the live action film too, but let’s just say that the two are nothing alike and leave it at that. Anyway, I’m sure you will love this series, especially the third and fourth episodes, so, if you aren’t too snowed under with your homework; please do write back with some thoughts, I’m anxious to read your opinion.

    @okiu14: That’s the thing, it looks so good. And it’s not just the consistency of the animation, have you noticed how there might be a sudden snapshot of Casshern’s iris, or the way when his arm is injured it clearly flickers up and down for mere split seconds. These are such little touches, but they add so much more texture and style to the feeling of the story, thus, I’d put it above almost everything else this season, Kurozuka included. Such attention to detail is astounding.

    Also, I’ll echo your thoughts on Skip Beat :) It’s surprisingly ‘shonen’ for ‘shojo’, very compulsive viewing and, I must admit, my heart melts for Kyoko. It’s a pain waiting for the fansubs!

    @neobanzi-AH!: Indeed, after the very first episode, I realised this would be an excellent series. The aesthetic is so striking and the use of movement so creative. If you haven’t already, make sure you watch episodes three and four, as these are the two that match the overwhelming sense of style with such a heartfelt grasp of emotion.

  13. Given the retro vibe of this series and the talent on board, it still mystifies me why it hasn’t done anything for me at all. The only explanation I can come up with is that when I look out my window, if there’s any daylight at all it’s cold, grey and miserable; perhaps it’s the wrong time of year for me to be watching a downbeat and dystopian show like this. When the weather brightens up a bit and there’s less on my watchlist I’ll make another effort with this one, because I honestly *want* to like it and appreciate it. The depiction of the decay and desparation is really quite affecting, after all.

  14. Hi, bateszi. Sorry for the sudden reply, but I really think I should say something.
    Actually, I’ve been frequently checking your blog since last year I found it through googling TowardTheTerra. I was not only delighted to find someone who also appreciated Terra, but also amazed by your other reviews. Now, I am all glad that you love CasshernSins so much, because I feel exactly the same way. This is an analyze as beautiful as our pretty boy Casshern.
    Now, why am I so eager to make this comment?

    Because episode 7 was MORE THAN beyond discription.

    After I read your feelings about Sophita, I think you definitely have to watch ep7, to meet Ismeir. That is to say, if Sophita won Akos, now Ismeir wins Sophita, at least in my heart.

  15. @Martin: All I can suggest is this: from looking at your MAL list, you have only seen up to the second episode, yet this series trancends expectations with episodes three and four, and thus, I would suggest that you try to watch those before dropping it. They are that good. Kino’s Journey would be a good comparision at this point.

    @Rowena: Thanks so much for reading and for posting such a positive comment! It’s always nice to hear from another Terra fan, and now I’m desperate to watch episode seven too! Hurry up, fansubs, and I’ll be hoping to see you around this blog again, Rowena! :)

  16. Bateszi:
    I won’t spoil, but, maybe I didn’t discribe it properly (I’m just the kind of guy who don’t use words). Ep7 is great, but it is not the same kind of great as Ep4. While Sophita expresses herself through acts, Ismeir’s words are clear as mirror – you can see her golden heart. Its topic is different, too. For those who criticize CasshernSins for its pathemism, they will see after Ep7. Oh, I love this world!
    And, it is interesting to know that the seiyus for Casshern and Ismeir were married before. They married about 20 years ago but devorced about 10 years ago. Such a pity. I believe the staffs were intended to let them meet again~

  17. So, I’ve just seen some images of Casshern 8. I think I might have to start blogging Casshern episodically. It looks so good.

  18. Well, I wouldn’t say no to that prospect. More conversation about Casshern can only be a good thing. Anybody know how many episodes Casshern SINS will go?

  19. I haven’t watched this series yet, but your title alone captured my attention…and after reading this post, you’ve convinced me yet again to watch another show that you’ve written about. How do you do it? How do you write so well? How do you convey your thoughts so eloquently? Thank you for writing this post, Bateszi. It’s just…beautiful. Been feeling a little lost lately, but for some reason after reading this post you’ve managed to put the inspiration back in me again. :)

    I simply can’t WAIT to watch this show once this school semester is over for me.

  20. Showing some love to this topic “new to this wordpress”. I defiantly agree with it also. If you really think about it than it all makes alot of sense

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