The best episodes of anime series

I’ve finally come home, and that would explain why I’ve remained relatively quiet everywhere except here. Sadly, at my real home, we do not have an Internet connection; thus, I’m typing this entry up at an Internet cafe and only have limited and relatively shortened access to it. Anyway, at long last, the semester has finished – now I can relax myself re-watching my ‘old’ and established favorites like Tsukihime and Samurai Champloo.

I’ve only had some vague and plasmic concept of what I should write about today (my mind’s really turned off because of the lack of schoolwork and idiotic teachers), but I decided that it be about the best single episodes of anime series. I do know most of you differ from my choice of the episodes I deem to be best; feel free to share it.

Right now, I can only name two episodes from the top of my mind, and these are Samurai Champloo‘s Gamblers and Gallantry (ep11) , and Tsukihime‘s Lunar World (ep12).

I love Gamblers and Gallantry so much because aside from giving light into the barely-known character of Jin by that stage, its story and execution was among the most evocative, moody, pathos-invoking and effluvially ambivalent among all the anime episodes I’ve seen. It starts with a grey rain and a woman on the bridge watching the flowing river. Jin passes by and asks if she was planning to end her life; she says no. He passes by the bridge because he was on his way to a ‘cutting’ job: this was a play of words because it both meant ‘cutting’ by the sword (that is, killing, which is Jin’s specialty as a ronin) as well as ‘cutting’ food – in this case, cutting up eel and selling them as a delicacy. As the story unfolds, Jin discovers that it was the last day of the woman’s (named Shino) freedom before she enters a bordello as her husband fell into immense debt because of his gambling. She also passes him by after he leaves her by the bridge because she wanted to eat some eel – and Jin was the caretaker as well as the cook for that said time. Jin, of course, was highly incompetent as an eel-chef; he cooked so badly that he needed help from Shino. They then talked before the rain and the cloudy-dark sky, and they seemed to be friends before the day was over. The horrible truth was, however, that she was to be a prostitute starting tomorrow. She left her umbrella in Jin’s stall as she walked under the rain unprotected, slowly soaking wet as she resigned to her fate.

Jin tries returning the umbrella to her (some may argue as an excuse of seeing her), but she requests that he keep it and that it was his. He then is shooed away by the guards of the bordello, even being battered in the process. The scene changes into Shino being used by ugly men, with a battered Jin on the streets. Incidentally, Mugen (one of his companions) won a beetle-fighting gamble; his winnings were immediately borrowed by Jin so that he could come to Shino. They talk; Jin seemed to be contented with only talking, as he only sat still, but Shino came and kissed Jin. The act was only implied; the ending, however, was inexorable: Shino quips that ‘the fairy tale is over.’ Shino afterward was called by her husband asking for her tips; she strongly replies that he should work, and she takes a beating from him afterwards. Jin stops the husband from further causing harm – but the husband says that he will leech off Shino forever. Eventually they decide to escape – Shino was, however, unwilling to escape for the sanctuary of a Buddhist church at the tip of the river, because she won’t be able to see Jin again. He coerces her with a few, sweet and yet direct words that leaves her doubtless about him: she literally made a ‘leap of faith’ into his arms. After escaping a horde of bordello guards, Jin and Shino escape to the river; her husband was able to reach her, and he pleads that she not leave him. She throws all the money she obtained from her ‘acts,’ and then proceeds to the small boat. Before she can grab Jin, however, Jin shoves the boat forward as the bordello guards reach the mini-port and then get sliced by him. (I think the husband died also.)

She cries in thanks; what made the scenes of escape even more picturesque and stunning was the playing of an edition of George Benson’s Affirmation, and the episode ends. I’m pretty sure this doesn’t sound really creative and really amazing; such is the limit of language, but I’m going to say that despite being an episode about a romance developing between unusual people, it can compare to the emotions ‘Rashomon’ (short story, not movie) made me feel: some sort of cocktail between a happiness that stems from an epiphany, a melancholy from the bittersweet story in itself, and a contentment that one has just internalized a very masterful work of art.

The same can be said with Tsukihime‘s culminating episode. It was simply so cathartic; it still retains its characteristic charm even after months of not watching it: it can make you freeze in thought at what might have had been; it can make you bawl of such selfless sacrifice stemming from two sweet lovers. (Alliteration, lol)

After having discovered Arc’s condition from ep11, Shiki decides that he’ll stick by her no matter what, and that he will resolve the situation no matter what Arc says. A consummation of their emotions, a love was congealed when both realized that they respected and loved each others despite their respective foibles in character, or in instinct (Arc remained a vampire throughout the series). Arc thinks otherwise, however; she’ll never forgive herself if Shiki was hurt, and she just says a simple goodbye written in a clean piece of paper as she proceeds to try to end Roa’s life once and for all.

This ends with Shiki searching everywhere for Arc; eventually Ciel helps him find her. He tried to engage Roa; Arc, however, froze him in place with her magic. Arc herself recognized that she was getting weaker by the second; she tried dealing a death blow to Roa, but ended up getting critically wounded. The next scene would totally bring out an even more heart-wrecking Shakespearean drama: Shiki would offer his life so that Arcueid may live. Her retort was even more anachronistic, thus heightening both their nobility: she declined, because she doesn’t like fairy tales. She didn’t like imaginary stories – their relationship was fated to end in tragedy because of the fundamental difference of their race; and to exacerbate, she already had an unstoppable lust for blood. So she disappeared into nothingness, with Shiki settling matters once and for all. The rest of the episode was falling action leading to a denouement, but it rises once again when Arc appears and very sadly (I’m about to bawl now) tells Shiki to forget about her and to live his life. She disappears again, but Shiki himself holds the hope that she will come back – he even declined a classmate’s confession.

Although it is covered in fog and mist, something significant in ep10 was said by Arc: she wished never to wake up, she wished a reality with Shiki. Yet she knew that it was to end when she was to really wake up – I assumed then that she’d dream forever of Shiki as she sleeps because of her lust for blood.

The charm still remains – I couldn’t help but look into the sky, wishing for other things to have had happened for their happiness, but I guess … it was just a dream.

* * *

It’s quite weird, but I seem to think more and read more when there’s a break from school. I started reading ‘The Moon is Down’ by John Steinbeck yesterday, and I also finished Chesterton’s ‘Father Brown Stories’. I love this short break.

I read Perfect Girl Evolution (up to the most recent scanlated chapter) two days ago, and I must say that I think of Sunako quite often: her character just leaves something unique to remember her by. I wish she could get together with Kyouhei later on, and though I recognize that the progression of stories like these is quite slow, one can really see it here. If only Sunako developed a sense of confidence, everyone around her would be happier, including herself. I can’t wait for the following chapters … the recent chapters were a hoot and gave life to the dynamic relationship of Sunako and Kyouhei.

Sensei-mangaka should finish it already. I should make another post on that – I will have the time, eventually. :p

I discovered that in my computer at home that I still have Hot Wheels: Acceleracers. I downloaded it for my brother. It’s not really anime, and isn’t even quality media (or animation), but it was fun to watch seeing idiots race for concepts that were even unexplained in the movie. If you liked Musashi, you should watch that movie. It’s really stupid.

3 Responses to “The best episodes of anime series”

  1. Ryan A Says:

    lol on the last para. One thing that stood out for me about the Champloo episode, was Jin’s drive and the music; the music was so cool/good for it.

  2. Daniel Says:

    I couldn’t understand some parts of this article The best episodes of anime series, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

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