Umi Monogatari 12 – surprisingly moving.

Thinking that it’s going to end like another Sailor Moon season-ending from long ago, I started watching this episode, drunk and depressed about the state of human beings, live, and everything in the galaxy in general. The endings in Sailor Moon were wonderfully moving and emotionally satisfying to this believer, who then lacked the wisdom to accept things and the steadfastness to continue believing in something (I still do lack the latter). However, today, as a 32-year-old-lonely guy who has been through the worst 10 years in his life, a 90’s Sailor Moon ending will not satisfy this old dog.

Bear in mind I watched Umi Monogatari episode 12 nearly stone drunk. Here we go.

Marin and Kannon finally fell in the last episode as their strength ran out and as they were unwilling to use the old wisen turtle’s method to pierce the Mistress 9 Urin. The darkness from Sedona combined with Urin’s immature anger and despair finally surrounds them and continues to penetrates them in this episode. Kannon, the teenager or rather, the every-teenager, as opposed to every-woman, finally discovers that the so-called force of darkness without a decipherable origin is actually the lost longings, love undelivered, failed wish, lost hope, and other things that people tried to forget and toss into the sea in a ceremony unique to the island.

I had a problem with that. As some of us may know, darkness and evil pretty much exists as a force with its own will. But because it feeds on and utilizes human greed, rage, hate and other things to “encourage” or “assist” humans perform horrible acts at moments of passion/fear/etc, it disguises it self as merely human. Enough people out there will argue there is no “evil”, just human acts that aren’t regulated, people whom aren’t taking their pills regularly and genocides not being stopped by the international community. But an interview I saw once with a holocaust survivor shed some light on the matter. She said: “There is no evil? Just look at the holocaust!”

Not in the mood to debate anything concerning holocaust or the existence of evil, I simply watched this episode without any expectations that it’d be better than some summer show.

Urin still loves her sister but her heart denies it under the shroud of darkness; because she still loves Marin, she attempts to take Marin with her to the “power of the dark side.” Understanding the true nature of this darkness, Kannon and now sad-and-defeated old turtle set out to find the two. At the final stage of confrontation, we see that Marin desperately trying to hold on to the loving memories she has with Urin. This sequence was strangely touching to me. Urin, having lost all hope, tries to persuade Marin to come to the dark side and lose all feelings, love and all. Marin is strong enough to say no.

In Sailor Moon universe, Sailor Moon would’ve used some sort of healing powers to heal Mistress 9, beginning with a good slap in the face. This show uses a much softer persuasion on the audience. Marin never stops uttering her love and care for Urin, who in term, remembers all the loving moments and finally admits that she doesn’t want to lose that either. Here’s the part that’s a little weak because everything is in dialogue. As Sedona is winning on all fronts, Urin feels that she should go with her and stay in darkness forever, perhaps as an apology for everything she has done.

Marin and Kannon refuses to let her go. That was the important part. They embrace and with their loving powers, as imperfect as they’re, heals Urin. Sedona (Kuwashima Houko) is purified and leaves.

I wrote all that summary-like stuff to show that there are similarities with Sailor Moon – the acts paralleling traditional purifying evil in the Japanese Shinto religious ceremonies are there, but as times have changed, so have the ways. Sailor Moon, being psudo-savior of the world, does everything on her own and she wills healing onto all her opponents save Beryl. Here, Marin, who is the main purifier simply affirms her love and care. Kannon plays the understanding girl. But that has merits, because she’s always been negative and rejected, she knows this sadness clothed in “darkness” well.

The Okinawan shrine maiden (the real thing) wishes this: as light and darkness reconciles and return to people’s hearts, like the Sea reconciles with the Land/sky, may people continue to understand and forgive (or be patient) with one another as a darkness still lives in people’s hearts.

Surprisingly, I was  moved to tears. Even now, I wonder if it was because I drank so much that the episode seemed so moving, or was it because of the soft piano music playing in the background?

Additional thoughts: Most cultures and religions accepts the human condition and attempts to deal with it in different ways, but often end up living with it and accepting it as an unavoidable part of humanity that will always be there. Christianity sees it as something that can be reformed and ultimately, can be overcome fully. Its view is that despite being a part of humanity, it doesn’t have to be and that people will be restored to complete goodness, though not fully in human’s time. I was conflicted whether I should praise the show for being truthful and surprisingly well done at the end, or point out that the pattern of sadness will always repeat under the conclusion this show offers. Sailor Moon triumphs, but Umi Monogatari leaves room for reincarnation.

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