Yew. Or some of you may be be saying yes.
Before I begin, I just like to note that the current moe trend maybe going too far. Hell, we even have a real life seiyuu who looks almost like a moe character (Impz calls her, “Moe blob”). But on to the review.
This eps is all about looking into Elis’ past, specifically, her relationship with Doctor Heinz Schneider – we finally get to know the name of the doctor who apparently raised her in the story. It’s not exactly a flashback, because we are directly “send” into her past. No foggy views, no Elis talking about: “Oh I remembered…” or anything similar to that sort. We’re directly taken into her past.
The mansion (not the Japanese version; a real mansion) seems to be located somewhere in Europe. Is it in Germany? I’m not going to guess because I’m not sure. Just because the names of the doctors (Rosenberg shows up in this eps as well) are Germanic doesn’t mean the place is set in Germany. But the scenery to me looks much like someplace in Europe. I could be wrong, especially because the story is taking place in South America. But the house and the “10th largest lake” mentioned in the world that Heinz Schneider mentioned didn’t look like they are set in Mexico – I mean, the houses and the surrounding looked more European than anything. However, when I looked up on the internet, the 10th largest lake in the world is either the Nyasa, which is located in Malawi-Mozambique, in Tanzania, or the Great Slave Lake, located in the southern Mckenzie District in Canada. I can kind of see the lake and the surroundings being in Canada, because the house depicted in this anime is certainly more western/European looking than South American/African looking. If anyone knows differently or knows exactly where this is supposed to be, please let me know.
In any case, in this eps a forbidden line is crossed – Elis falls in love with the doctor, a man who’s apparently much older than she is (she looks 14 or 15, and he’s probably set to be close to 40, although in the anime he looks 35). What got to me was that he loves her in the way, too, like a lover. That’s expressed rather clearly in the “sayings” in this eps – they placed what I guessed are famous sayings from various famous people on screen in the same format as Anno’s flashing text, except these texts stayed on screen for sometime and the narrator (the doctor) reads them out aloud. I watched the Chinese fansubs and the subbers don’t know English names in Katakana at all. So I couldn’t tell who said these lines.
In this eps, we see that Elis grows up normally without much changes – or so the doctor reports, and tells Rosenberg. But in fact, Elis has been growing her powers, just very, very slowly. In the doctor’s report, there seems to be no growth at all, but after Rosenberg pulls a trick, the doctor says in one examination to Elis, without Rosenberg around (he’s never around for the examination) “Recently, it takes shorter time for you to conjure up your powers.”
Speaking of powers, I now understands Elis’ power a little. She’s like Robin from Witch Hunter Robin – she can use fire. The classic conception of witches and wizards is that they have to chant or do some ritual or some preparation steps before they could use magic, which comes in the form of spells. In anime terms it’s kind of like Lina Inverse from Slayers who has to say something before firing a spell at someone. But in the cast of Witch Hunter Robin, and here, a witch just has supernatural powers, or in the average Japanese’s way of misusing English vocabulary, ESP powers, and when the witch desires, he or she (in this case, just she, because the sick0 bishonen can’t use it) can simply use it.
Because Heinz Schneider hasn’t been completely honest about Elis’ power (at least that’s what I perceive) even before Rosenberg pulls his trick, I thought that Schneider has his own schemes. What, I really don’t have a clue. I don’t think it’s for love, because before Elis turned teenage, Heinz used to call her the “experimental object.”
That seems to change after some time, and he now calls her “she (kanojo)”. Rosenberg notices that as well. Heinz even takes her out on a date, after flatly telling Rosenberg that he does’t take the “experimental object” (he’s probably in denial) outside the mansion ground/compound. Oh yeah, and there are security cams for this “compound” all right. And Elis knows it. So the doctor, “keeps” his love inside in a cage, and only lets her our when he begins to learn about being more human, and learns about being in love. We know he has trouble acting like normal people, because when Rosenberg talks about Thanksgiving, Heinz says: “I’m not interested in normal worldly things.” It is interesting that they talk about Thanksgiving, which is an US and Canadian holiday. I wonder if they’re secretly working for the US government? Didn’t some rumors said that the US government researched about supernatural abilities back in the 50’s? But here, we have no idea who they work for, yet. In the previous eps, however, Rosenberg did call the official he met “your highness”. That, really doesn’t sound US-like or Canadian at all.
These days, the anime industry tend to favor the loli-moe characters, and the studios make quite a few of them. One example is the character from the show Manabi straight, which is supposed to take place in high school, but all the girl characters (there are very few male characters) have very young looking baby faces with big heads and small bodies. “Saint October” is another one of these loli-moe animes with girl characters looking like little kids with really big and cute eyes and young bodies. Then there’s Venus Versus Virus, in which a goth loli with a eye-patch is one of the main girls. I don’t know, I mean when I see moe I think cute, adorable and needing protection and compassion, like Aya-chan. I can’t help but see her as my little sister. But loli-moe romance? It’s true that something about young, teenage girls can be really attractive, but kids are kids (with, YES, exceptions. Some teens are so mature it’s scary, really!). The Japanese culture is certainly way more different than the US conservative culture, but I can’t help but feel a little creepy when I see a 35-plus-year-old man falls in love with a young teenage girl. Fortunately (or some of you may be saying, rats!), we only get to see a suggestion that they touch lips. He decides that they should leave this place and run away together. Before the yuckfest continues…
He gets shot. We don’t get to see that either, but we get to see leaves fall. In the later part of the eps, we see leaves falling, which I instantly thought to be the creator’s effort to show ominousness. Like this “paradise” of theirs (the doc and Elis’) is going to be destroyed. They do live in a secluded mountain side with dreamy scenery, after all.
There isn’t much else to say about this eps, at least in my view. I think the seiyuus do a good job, if not exactly strikingly great. Elis’ character doesn’t have much of a emotional range in the first place, and the doctor’s character is a secluded, almost anti-social researcher. However, one thing I didn’t see is the awkwardness in the two that I thought should have been portrayed in some way. I don’t mean between the two of them, because they’ve been around each other for quite sometime, and slowly developing their lovers’ relationship (yuck), but I’d love to see some awkwardness shown in some way, or in some places. All I noticed is that they’re quiet folks. That’s nothing special in the anime world. As much as many of you hate Eva, it at least portrays the characters extremely well and almost completely realistic. Sorry about the random stretch there.
The music wasn’t anything memorable save the part where Yuuka sang in English with a sad melody and tone. It did strike me and it gave a strong hint that this romance in the small world of the secluded mountain is going to end in tragedy. In this case, it didn’t strike too sudden. Rosenberg looks like he wants to do something, and he does. Or he hires someone to do it – murdering Heinz Schneider.
We get to know that both Schneider and Rosenberg works for an national institute. In which country? One can only guess. I don’t see the character dynamic between Schneider and Rosenberg as anything spectacular or dynamic, and I wasn’t super impressed with the relationship between Elis and Schneider. I guess they were together for so long, and the doctor took care of her for so long, that they fell in love with each other. But because only one eps is used to convince me that, I wasn’t quite convinced. I guess buying her a teddy bear, plus the fact that the good doc is the only man (assuming she hasn’t really met Rosenberg, and there weren’t strong indications that she did, or if she did, not for long), makes her fall in love with him, that plus he’s got the deep voice…yeah.
When Elis confessed, I think he and her both mistake their companionship for romantic love. Many of you may disagree, but romantic love can involve more. What’s in the favor of the opposite argument is that romantic love can involve less as well. In any case, there isn’t much of a relationship development going on in this eps, just circumstantial romance (which can seemingly work in real life sometimes, maybe), in my opinion. And yes, I’m rather harsh on this show because it clearly has been failing to meet my expectation and even the co-host of this site calls it an “inferior version of Cowboy Bebop”. I for some reason just can’t get impressed with the main seiyuu’s voice acting, the plot, and definite the action sequences (when there are actually some!). I mean, the seiyuus do a good job as pros but the characters created don’t let them show their skills enough.
We all know that loli (which comes from the book and film, “Lolita”) romance have happened before, even in real life. But one thing that bothers me is that it almost runs rampant in anime these days. In this case, this has something similar to “falls in love with what one created,” or precisely, “one’s patient”, as in hospital romances, which a lot of men fantasizes (with a nurse).
As for action factor? Zip. Nada (not Nadi either…ha ha). No visible gun fights, no 20 men struck down, no Nadi firing, no Lone wolf killing guys with a revolver. But in this case, that can be forgiven because this eps tells a tale of a unfulfilled lolita romance between a researcher and his (creation?) study subject that ends badly. Tragic? Not in the traditional sense. The doctor’s downfall is falling in love with the subject. That’s nothing new, and nothing like Greek tragedy. He really doesn’t have a visible weakness, does he? If we really want to talk about his weakness, it’s this – he’s too anti-social and secluded that he hasn’t really left the compound for a decade, and the only female around is Elis. OK, anime is anime, it’s not school academics. I think I’m being influenced by my muc-learned co-writer of this blog. Back to the show.
Overall, this eps does a competent job of telling us plainly what did happen in Elis’ past. I don’t know why they placed quotes from presumably famous people in there, but I found it a little distracting, because in a good story telling, “showing and no telling” is often done. But for an anime that underneath the surface is not quite the facade I first believed that I did see, the job is again, competently done.
80% recommended for your daily anime diet.