noitaminA finales: No.6, Usagi Drop

Safu/Elyurias gives us a light show.

No.6 went through the motions until the very end. It gave us the destruction of the wall, the “liberation” of the inhabitants (who, at the end, were walking like lemmings to the outside, even though they never showed us a single indication that most of them really wanted to know what was out there), and the vindication of the earth mother thing, Elyurias apparently can get vindictive and kill innocent people when she wants to), complete with light shows and explosions. Oh, she can also raise the dead, so we have our happy ending. And we never learned WHY. Why did No.6 turn out so bad? Bad people? That’s an answer for children. Misguided people? Then what turned them to the wrong path? What about the other cities? I suppose the peace-loving inhabitants are meant to represent the happy, materialistic people of our modern society, but that’s also simplistic. This was also a problem with Fractale, that the people in the story were masses of people with no direction at all, except for the few who got lines and were mouthpieces for one view or another. There was one bit I liked, when Sion operates on Rat while the facility is exploding around him. It summed up his love for Rat and his possibly misplaced love of humanity nicely. Then Safu/Elyurias turns up later and heals Rat anyway … Argh, what a mess. This is the third season in a row when a noitaminA show took a promising SF premise and botched it.

If you want to see rich, internal lives of individuals you go to the other noitaminA show that just finished. Usagi Drop has no real story to speak of, it has minor crises that litter ordinary days. We start with Yukari’s cold, the cliffhanger from last episode, and learn that it’s just a cold, though she appreciates the concern Daikichi and Rin bestow upon her. Next comes two huge crises: the jump-roping competition and baby teeth falling out. The former allows four sets of parents to bond and Daikichi to get some exercise. The latter is more suspenseful. When will Rin’s tooth come out? Should she throw it or save it in a cute ladybug box? Next week, if there was one, we’d see something else as thrilling, and as fun to watch. In between these events the episode took time to look back and sum up. None of it comes as a surprise. Daikichi’s happy with Rin. Playing father is difficult but rewarding. That sort of thing. In fact, little in this show came as a surprise, but that was never the point (as opposed to the manga, from what I understand); normal lives don’t have big crises every single day. Measuring Daikichi’s growth as a person is like recording a child’s height by marks on the wall. It’s pointless to do it every day. Yet it happens. Just like the winter season, noitaminA goes one for two.

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