Well, here we are. It’s another rousing week of SukaSuka. I’d like to say that I’ve been constantly entertained by the series so far, but sadly, I can’t. SukaSuka rides the line between boring and enthralling, depending on how each episode captures Chtholly and Willem in a beautiful romantic light. When it decides to pull out all the stops, it does a pretty good job of being entertaining and keeping my attention. However, the times that it does shine are few and far between, and I think this inconsistency is one of the largest downfalls of the series itself. Sometimes an episode will pull out a captivating moment, only to fill the rest of its run-time with needless exposition that had already been shown to us through smaller moments. Episode 9 is similar to episode 8, a prime examples of exactly why I like the show, and also why I find this anime with such a unique premise so uninteresting as it progresses.
This show has become strange to me over the last few weeks. It started out to be this entrancing anime, showing the depth of the world, using various elements to work towards creating a particular sort of tone, and further using these elements to create a world and characters woven into this grand narrative that was both mystical and tinged with drama. Lately though, these aspects that have attracted me to the show have started becoming buried under all sorts of problems, and it’s becoming harder and harder for me to look past them, even in its key dramatic moments.
SukaSuka this week continues to keep my interest by continuing to move the story slowly forward and satiating my curiosity towards our main characters. While this episode has been pretty low-key in terms of dramatic scenes, it still turned out to be a pleasant experience all around. It’ll still take a few more episodes for me to buy into the fantasy drama aspects though, as it seems to still a bit rough around the edges as the series continues to try and figure exactly what it wants to accomplish. That doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying the ride though; it only means that I’m weary about some of the ways the story is being told, and I’m not thoroughly convinced that it can keep at its current rate of progression without losing the strong bits of quality we’ve seen thus far.
With episode 9 leaving off on the heated moment of Tanya and her armed forces launching several rockets into key Republican areas, I fully expected this episode to be the way that it was. The foreshadowing of Sioux in episode 8 and the beginning of this one heavily screamed “He’s got a bone to pick”, and I felt this whole episode was a build-up to his anticipated appearance. Earlier in the series, I wrote about the fantastic battle between Anson Sioux and Tanya in episode 7 and how it became this battle of ideological differences on war. Sioux was once a noble man, being one of few “morally good” characters we’ve had in the show. However, after his battle with Tanya, it’s obvious now that his mindset has completely changed, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that this change was brought out by Tanya.
His inevitable confrontation of Tanya was something that was bound to happen, but the way it was handled so far seems a bit hollow and empty compared to previous ones. Because of the episode attempting to build up to this key moment, there was an immense amount of focus on the incline to the climax, rather than exploring the other ideas that this show normally never hesitates to bring up. That doesn’t mean this episode didn’t have its high points though.
In previous episodes, we’ve seen Tanya constantly struggling to have more influence over “Being X” than it does over her, and episode 6 was yet another beautiful example of this. Youjo Senki seems to definitely be letting the viewer decide which side is actually the “good” or the “evil” sides, as both sides have their own stories to tell. This can be seen throughout most of the show, with “Being X” forcing these continuous brutal punishments upon her for just merely not believing in a higher power, and also in the past two episodes, seeing a more light-hearted and less merciless side of Tanya than ever before. Similar things could be said about the escalating war between nations. Which side is actually the “evil” one and which side is “good”?
Before I began writing these episodic articles, I never realized how much a show could change over just the course of a few episodes. From episode 1 to episode 4, Youjo Senki has gone through an unbelievable transformation from a show with a disorganized lack of information to a more thrilling show about politics, religion, and morality. Some of the original complaints I had in episode 1 were only those of that episode, and others weren’t really relevant to the upcoming story, if only because I had no idea what kind of story this was. While I think the show’s themes are still a bit mixed, episode 4 has started really delving into Tanya’s personality beyond the fact that she’s an evil militaristic girl that just wants to follow the rules.
Japan, are you doing okay? You wanna talk about something?
This is the second season in a row where we’ve had an anime about a “European” conflict involving both magic and standard military technology. From what I read in the synopsis, my perception was that the setting would be more modern than it was historical, and that is partially my fault from not looking at the PV close enough. Just from looking at it, you can tell the weaponry is not fully modernized, and the stylistic designs of the uniforms are not modern at all. I will also fully admit that mixing militaristic ideas with fantasy elements is not really something I’m innately interested in. Although, what I am interested in is looking at a non-realistic portrayal of the less glorified aspects of war. Using fantasy elements as a way to emphasize the physical and mental destruction caused by war is something I’d love to see from this show.