RDG finale, Shingeki no Kyojin 11

My frustrations with Red Data Girl can be summed up by one scene where the ghosts that showed up at the festival form a sort of parade and go back … where are they going? Have they been released? Are they just going back to ghost land? Maybe the clues were dropped in earlier scenes, but they were so obscure that I, for one, couldn’t catch them. And there was the moment when Izumiko, moping in that other plane, thinks that she’s always been the Himegami, but later she talks about rejecting that fate, or maybe not. Yeah, the spiritual stuff in this series wasn’t handled very well. It didn’t mix.

rdg12-1

On the other hand we have the human versions of these dissonant spiritual powers. It’s easier to deal with them. Izumiko wants to be a normal girl. Miyuki doesn’t want to serve her. In a satisfying moment he tells her that he can’t follow her like you would a goddess (perhaps he can’t fully believe in her in that role, which would make his struggles with those soldiers understandable), but instead he suggests an actual human bond. That idea isn’t resolved, but the image of them sitting on a bench, falling asleep together, was a nice way to end that story, even we don’t get an answer. The Mas- family members are more complicated. It’s hard to take Masumi’s deserting his siblings seriously, since he doesn’t really take anything seriously, and when Wamiya comes to drive him away he cheerfully leaves. Izumiko’s plea to Miyuki to come at once (another good moment) must have convinced him.

Still awfully nice to look at sometimes.
Still awfully nice to look at sometimes.

In the end the spiritual threat is secondary to the emotional ties these characters have for each other, a good decision to make dramatically, but, as I said, the two sides weren’t mixed very well. The supernatural stuff was often elegant and beautiful to look at, but we weren’t sure how it fit in with the characters. And the human side’s sometimes charming (Izumiko), often dull (the siblings) struggles to find roles for themselves were muddled with the supernatural duties they had to perform. So, depending on how you felt about Canaan, this is perhaps PA Works’ weakest show. It didn’t have the smart writing and direction that Hanasaku Iroha and Tari Tari had, I could never get involved with the characters, and even the art and animation seemed weaker. It all seemed matter-of-fact, it just happens with no real impact. A shame, but I’m still looking forward to their next series.

Pixis's odd speech.
Pixis’s odd speech.

Shingeki no Kyojin 11’s story doesn’t move very quickly, but important things need to be done before the next step, Eren’s mission, can happen, and the story would be remiss if they don’t address them. First, the troops have to be rallied. A lot of the soldiers are at their wits’ end, and this new plan they’re ordered to execute is absolutely insane. It takes a rousing, if eccentric speech from Dot Pixis (who’s become one of my favorite characters) to point them back to their goal. The speech works because Pixis doesn’t hold back. He points out that if they leave to be with their families, their families will eventually be eaten by giants. He even touches on that mission four years ago and the cynical reasons for it that no one can voice. After that it’s just prep, and another speech from Riko to Eren, inspirational but of the “don’t fuck up” variety. Around these speeches, it’s prep. Glad to see Armin getting some respect from seniors while plotting strategy. Yeah, it’s a drag that we can’t see the mission unfold, but the show needed to do it, and on the other hand, the few seconds of action we DO get make a hell of a cliffhanger. I wonder if Eren’s little argument with Mikasa just before didn’t have something to do with it. Probably not.

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