Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Casshern Sins 20: What Luna Hates

Casshern, Lyuze, Ringo and Friender finally arrive at the place where Luna is, but what they find there is hardly what they have come to expect. Just what or who is Luna?
EPISODE 20: For Whom Do The Flowers Bloom?
More Screencaps from Casshern Sins 20

The episode begins with a badly injured Dune lying on the ground. He has a flashback wherein Luna, standing in the middle of a field of red flowers, asks him why flowers bloom. Dune does not know the answer so she tells him that they bloom so that everyone will be happy. Then Luna restores a withered flower and gives it to Dune, saying that he too will have eternal peace. After the OP clip, Dune is walking across the desert when he comes upon a field of blue flowers. There he finally meets Luna and the years of ruin are literally stripped away from him, revealing his face as it was before. Dune begins by apologizing for having been away from her for so long. But Luna only holds out her arms and welcomes him with peace. Dune responds that he is happy just to gaze upon her.
Casshern, along with Lyuze, Ringo and Friender, find themselves within sight of Luna's castle. Lyuze wonders if Luna is really what she is rumored to be and Casshern answers that they should believe she is. Ringo voices her own concerns whether it hurts Luna to heal people. Apparently, Oji told her that Luna spills her own blood in order to heal others and because of this she cannot heal several people at once. At that moment, Luna steps out of the castle and reveals herself to the crowd waiting for her outside. At the sight of her, the crowd starts crying their pleas to be healed by her. She does not look moved by any of it. Meanwhile, Casshern notices Dune quietly gathering water for the flowers. Ever the friendly one, Ringo goes out to greet him, Casshern and Lyuze not far behind her. Dune recognizes Casshern immediately and acknowledges how Casshern allowed him to live the last time they met and fought each other. At Lyuze's questioning, Dune says that he has already met Luna but he does not reveal anything more.
As evening falls, the crowd gathering outside Luna's castle remain in line. Later that evening, Casshern witnesses robots carrying a very sick friend of theirs. Seeing this, he thinks that this is really a place of salvation. But it turns out he is mistaken as not far away from where those robots were standing, he sees several more robots ganging up on an injured fellow. Dune, who is watching the same thing, says that the fighting never stops because these robots know that even if they get hurt, they would be healed. Casshern then wonders if Luna knows about this, but instead of answering, Dune just says that the sun does not grant anything; people just take from it. Casshern next asks why Dune has not accepted the healing. Again without answering, Dune tells him that maybe there is no reason why flowers bloom.
The next day, they all watch as Luna's retainers carry a body away. Casshern recognizes it as the same one from last night. They follow the retainers to where the bodies are dumped where they find out that the robot is actually still alive. Lyuze tells the retainers about this but they ignore her. It turns out that Luna has already pronounced that robot's death sentence when she says that it cannot be healed anymore. When evening comes, Lyuze cannot help but voice out what she thinks about the town and Luna: everything is different from what she expected. She adds that Ringo may want to leave town as well if not for her promise to Oji. Casshern, who is sitting next to her, remains quiet, wondering what Luna is.
That morning, Dune is staring at the flower fields, withered despite his efforts at watering them, when Luna appears. She says that she does not like the sight of decay and orders him to bury them, adding that they can just replace them with new ones. So Dune does as she asks, even burying the ones that are still alive. He justifies his action by saying that these flowers would also eventually wither. At that moment, Lyuze arrives with Ringo in her arms to warn Casshern and Dune about bandits come to attack Luna. At once, Dune runs to face these bandits head on. Despite the state of his body, he takes on the bandits with little trouble. That is, until he tries to protect a single withered bloom, using his own body as shield.
Fortunately, Casshern arrives in time to spare Dune from taking any more damage than necessary. But even with his help, Dune is too far gone. After the fighting ends, Dune's first words are to ask how Luna is. Casshern tells him that she is alright because Dune protected her. Lyuze then suggests that they should have him healed by Luna. A momenter later, Luna does arrive and Dune offers her the withered flower he protected during his fight. But instead of gratefully accepting it, all that Luna does is to say how she hates things that reek of death. Angered by her unfeeling attitude, Lyuze shouts that Dune protected her. Luna, however, remains unmoved. She only says that she can no longer heal him, and with that, she turns around and starts walking away. Casshern calls after her, asking if she really is Luna. She pauses to confirm that she is Luna, the one that bestows healing.
When she is gone, Casshern repeats his question and this time, Dune answers for her: The sun does not grant anything; it is simply there. And flowers simply bloom. Not for anyone's sake. Casshern does not believe this as he reasons that everyone and everything lives for something. At least, this is what he learned from his journey. Dune answers that he is content just being a flower, just to bloom, just to wither. That evening, a robot encounters a stranger (Braiking Boss) and reveals how this place is a grave for Braiking Boss' army although he does not understand why. The stranger says that maybe Braiking Boss just wants to remember how much ruin has occurred. Meanwhile, Leda finally learns where Luna is, while back in Luna's town, Casshern confronts Luna about not having actually saved anyone. Luna, who does not deny this, says that in spite of this, everyone will die without her. At that moment, Casshern realizes that at his journey's end, he feels neither hope nor despair but anger.

Another think-y episode. You know something? It looks to me that this series has no real antagonist. And because of that, I don't see any big climax coming up. The series is only 26 episodes long, if I'm not mistaken, so that means we're more than halfway to the end. And despite this, none of the characters are revealed to be capable of the kind of malice required for a dramatic showdown at the plot's culminating point. I think this is done on purpose. As a matter of fact, I don't think we can reasonably expect the sort of grand finale we are used to in most every mecha series. Casshern Sins just does not have the material for that brand of fireworks. Instead, I think we're looking at an open-ended conclusion for this series -- that is, something will definitely be revealed (the nature of Luna for instance and the whole purpose of her existence; Casshern coming to terms with himself; the nature of ruin -- any of these things are good fodder for the questing mind) but that lots of questions will have to remain unanswered because they would make the more impact if left that way.

That said, I'm once again looking forward to the next episode.
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