Archive for April, 2011

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai – 02: further comparisons with H&C

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Back when I was still in college during the first four years of my blogging, it wasn’t difficult for me to broach topics in philosophy, psychiatry, and theology because I was actively learning about it. I also had the benefit of a wonderful university library: it was easy to glean important information from the country’s best library (now even better). When I started medicine, however, I no longer had both the time and the resources to obtain information and knowledge other than what I can obtain from the Internet. For the most part these were only small excursions and in no way could compare to the time and effort I poured into reading different texts back when I was in college. Life’s like that, however, and time flew.

I love watching the obvious subtleties of unrequited love.

I essentially still have similar tastes in literature and in anime, although I’m no longer as well-read as I was a few years ago. I hope the reader forgives me for that. I will hopefully revert back to myself as the etymological philosopher, or one who loves interdisciplinary study. It’s pretty much a struggle for me currently to dissect series compared to when I was in university, because I could only rely mostly on my stock knowledge. Exemplary series tear that diligence out from me, however, and that was the case with Tatami Galaxy: I simply had to respect a series rife with symbolism, meaning, and empathy. It was also a series that struck the core of my personal dilemma during that period, and that was the preternatural reason that I could write about it so much.

Most of the series that have aired pale compare to that, however, but some are so well-executed and well-drawn that one can’t help but appreciate the series. Series like these are Honey and Clover and Maison Ikkoku. They do not tease people’s knowledge about philosophy: they simply tell a heartfelt story that resounds within the viewer. I have hope that Ano Hana, or Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai will belong to this latter group that I treasure by the end of its run. I think it is primarily because of its similarities to Honey and Clover, although they are noticeably different in certain aspects that they may be treated as antipodes as I have mentioned in my previous post.

Their similarities, however, shine through in that both series essentially deal with the juxtaposition of friendship and romance: whereas Honey and Clover dealt with more adult issues set in the university, Ano Hana deals with issues of adolescence set in high school. It does not make Ano Hana inferior, but it does make it different, as I have said before. Although the issues will most probably be resolved in a shorter amount of time given the 11 episodes Ano Hana has, that same gripping element of unrequited love pervades both series. In fact, I will argue that some of the personalities of the six friends overlap with the characters of Honey and Clover.

Menma, for one, reminds me of Hagu. They’re both soft (physically and emotionally), and diminutive for their age. Anjou reminds me of Yamada, who has a facade of strength but is actually also broken within. Yamada kept on trying for Mayama’s heart despite the fact that he was never interested her beyond friendship; Anjou dissimulates her personality to hide that guilt that she kept on feeling from Menma’s death, and in this sense is similar to Rika as well. Poppo and Morita seem alike in the sense that they are relaxed and fun characters yet nevertheless hold depth. Rika’s character also evidences herself in Jinta, who regressed into himself and no longer cared about anything due to Menma’s death. It is the interplay of these characters and their rebirth, as well as the propulsion of their goals forward that is simply a joy to watch.

I really don't think Anjou's tsundere ... it's more of her being true to herself.

Episode two was just as good as episode one in terms of expanding the personalities of some of the major characters. The upbeat Poppo, the confused but concerned Anjou and the recovering Yadomi have slowly been transformed into more akin their childhood selves because of their friend who re-appeared to make a wish. The wish may probably be the beach outing that never materialized in Honey and Clover – and I will be all right with that. These people should be happier.

Antipodes: Ano Hana and Honey and Clover’s first episodes

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

This post is dedicated to Jack, the kind poster who pointed out to me that a certain anime with an original story started airing. That anime was Ano Hana, or Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. Since the complete title is unwieldy, I will use the shortcut from this point on.

... and then I thought ... holy shit, this may just be a different H&C

The first episode of Ano Hana reminded me a lot of Honey and Clover. I realized that the reason was that it had similar directors. Tatsuyuki Nagai also directed Toradora, and while sadly failing to maintain its beautiful beginning was also a decent watch. The theme of the series is more similar to Honey and Clover’s, however, than Toradora’s: both essentially deal with friendships, although romance remains to be a strong factor in the progression of the plot.

I recall that when I first watched the first episode of H&C, I wasn’t too impressed by the plot or the characters, but it left enough of a mark in me that made me stick with it. I had no regrets by the third episode, and was definitively sure that it was going to be one of the greatest series I would ever have seen by the sixth. That hasn’t changed, even after six years: Honey and Clover remains to be brilliant.

While H&C’s first episode was more jocose, however, Ano Hana starts with a beautiful elegiac tone. Instead of starting with introductions, the series started with goodbyes. It is not only in this sense, however, that Ano Hana serves as an antipode to Honey and Clover: whereas H&C was all about developing weakly-founded friendships into becoming lifetime covenants, Ano Hana started with strong friendships undermined by an incident and dissolved altogether by the passage of time. One started from creation; this series started with destruction: Jinta is a quasi-hikkikomori, and the friends that he had known in the past have transmogrified into spectres of their former selves. It is only the haunting of Menma, the friend lost in a certain fateful incident, that started to turn the wheels once again. Time moved once more.

The incident that occurred to Menma is actually reminiscent of Cross Game‘s trigger as well: it was with Wakaba’s accidental drowning that forged Kou to become a person that was capable of fulfilling her dreams for him. This is no Adachi series, however, and sports is as far from the people’s lives here as abundance is to the beggar.

This series honestly feels like a high school permutation of Honey and Clover. If executed as well as H&C, it will not be inferior, only as differently good. While the nucleus of friendship remains to be the similar focus in both series, I feel that whereas H&C dealt with the more mature aspects of romance and adulthood, Ano Hana will be the reverse in the sense that it will be escaping from the constraints of maturity and return to the celebration of unadulterated, childlike friendship.

I may be wrong, but I’m definitely watching this.

The backlog eliminated: a compendium post (part III of the backlog series)

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

I had initially planned to have individual entries on the different anime I finished in the past few weeks, but I don’t like writing a ten-part series of posts without even having created a category for it and without planning for it in the first place. I’m writing this post more for my own sake: I think it would be good as a reference post, since I have deleted most of my backlog. The purpose of my backlog resolution was to free up hard disk space, since it had started to become dangerously low.

It never hurts to finish your backlog!


The backlog decimation, part II: beyond the Genius Parties

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

In a span of a few days I was able to finish watching Genius Party and Genius Party Beyond. As I’ve undertaken to tear down my immense backlog I had to watch the anime I had on my PC. Most of what was left unwatched were artsy anime because I was looking for anything to fill up the gap left by Tatami Galaxy. Sadly, only the passage of time aided in that pursuit, as I have never been able to see anything as majestic and as well executed as that series. Most have merely been exercises in avant-garde art, and the majority of Genius Party is no exception.

The look of dejection

Among the eleven short films, I can wholeheartedly recommend only two: I recommend Baby Blue from the original Genius Party anthology, and Toujin Kit from Genius Party Beyond. Beautiful art in anime is worthless if not founded upon a solid, well-written plot. Plot should not be sacrificed for art’s sake: it is with the same disgust that I think of both Finnegans Wake and Limit Cycle, for example. Incomprehensibility and complexity are not verisimilar entities: the former is found in subpar excursions; the latter is found in well-made masterpieces.

The last creation

While I hesitate from labeling both Baby Blue and Toujin Kit as masterpieces, both share a subdued brilliance that insinuates, but never directly tells, a nuanced complexity beneath what is seen. Baby Blue deals with friendship and loss, two themes that I am fond of seeing in well-made anime; Toujin Kit is less positive and somewhat bleaker, but can be thought of as an allegory to the stifling of creativity for the sake of normalcy or conformity. The creation of a being is prohibited by law, but despite that a rogue woman attempts to create colorful beings that sparkle with fecundity. The ending is both tempering and thought-provoking: the creation that she could perhaps call her masterpiece, her biggest presentation of life yet, was hunted and was killed by a mechanical creation. Defeated, she slumped as she waited for her indictment. Her last gasp to celebrate life was mechanically extinguished. All of this is presented with subdued colors and a bleakness that is reflected by that. I would rather this bleakness than entries such as Limit Cycle and Dimension Bomb that are ‘full of sound and fury, [yet] signifying nothing.’ Minimalism is just as effective as moderation in any medium as long as it is presented well. Baby Blue and Toujin Kit execute this minimalism successfully – and that’s why they are the only good films in both anthologies.

The backlog decimation, part I: artsy anime, part I

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Many of my classmates have dubbed this free time (our version of the ‘summer break’) to be the ‘last summer of our lives.’ I mostly agree with them, especially because we will go on duty by this time next year, and have to establish ourselves in the medical community after that. It is most probably the last break we’ll have as students.

The best artsy anime ever

A lot of them are going places, enjoying trips to different countries or exploring the different landmarks of this country. I’m staying at my real home, doing nothing but reading, watching movies, and watching anime.

‘What a boring life!’ some of you might exclaim. I guess for someone not privy to my interests, it is quite a chore. But I watch and read precisely because it is the last chance I have to take care of everything I have obtained or downloaded to my PC. I grew up as a quasi-obsessive, and I think it evinces itself with this current status of mine: I simply have to finish watching everything before I part with my PC, and I’m doing it right now.

Most of what I have watched were artsy anime, aside from the more traditional (and more mundane) series. With this post, I’ll try to talk about the artsy anime I just watched.

Over the past week, aside from the Eden of the East movies and 009-1 I have also finished watching the laughable MM! and Freezing. I also watched Genius Party, 1001 Nights, Noiseman Sound Insect, and Alien Nine. In retrospect, it’s not really much, but I have also had to deal with real life despite it being at a distance for the most part.

In a nutshell, most of the artsy anime I’ve seen were shit: all that glitters is not gold. That saying may be trite, but it sure fits the bill for the artsy anime I saw. Most of the entries in the Genius Party anthology were forgettable, save for Masaaki Yuasa’s Happy Machine and the elegiac beauty of Shinichiro Watanabe’s Baby Blue. Limit Cycle deserves a special mention for being outright, utter crap. I don’t think anyone wants to listen to 20 minutes of whining psychobabble.

Baby Blue, despite its unimpressive character designs, really reflects the genius of Shinichiro Watanabe. It was the only entry in the series that, for me, deserved a 10. It seemed to be taken from a Haruki Murakami novel in its inventive method in dealing with forthcoming loss. It’s a short film, and if I were to pick one entry from the anthology I would unhesitatingly choose it, even over Happy Machine. While I liked Kaiba I didn’t think it was a masterpiece: I still don’t.

Alien Nine is more understandable than 1001 Nights, but I still don’t think of it as good. At best, the series is average: Kumi is a girl scared easily, but she was chosen to battle against monstrous aliens. She, of course, fails nearly all of the time with her teammates picking up the slack. I think she’s even worse than Shinji in this regard, because Shinji at least fought even though he was extremely hesitant. Maybe the fourth episode will change my perception of things, but I highly doubt that.

Noiseman Sound Insect was actually a pleasant music video, although due to its length there is wanting depth and nearly nil character development. The variegated color and the potent imagery somewhat compensate for that, however. Trees Make Seeds was a great ending for the short film.

1001 Nights is the last and the least. It featured 23 minutes of music and imagery, but little more. I thought it was horrible. A vanguard anime only works when it is complemented by a plot that serves as a foundation to the kinetic art, and there was none of that here. I’m glad I finished watching it.

Magnetic Rose: the certitude of memory only affirms the reality of the present

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

To be entirely honest, I haven’t followed Satoshi Kon despite many people telling me to watch his movies. I still haven’t seen Paprika, although after seeing Magnetic Rose, it’s probably a must-watch. Magnetic Rose carries the entire anthology all the way through, and it’s no surprise that it was written by Satoshi Kon.

All she had left was her past.

Magnetic Rose

When I was younger, I thought Event Horizon was one of the best films ever made. I’ve grown older, but I still really like it, although I’ve seen a lot more films I feel are more deserving with that description. It came out back in 1997; maybe it got some hints from Magnetic Rose, as the premises of both films are quite similar: a drifting ship answers a distress signal, only to discover entities more insidious from the seemingly abandoned ships. In Event Horizon the entities were more monstrous; in Magnetic Rose it was less paranormal, but still as devious: the years have transmogrified the AI of the ship’s computer to realizing the memories that the opera singer Eve Friedel dwelt in, and it vividly recreated events to suck in people responding to the distress signals it sent.

The story is simple: Eva Friedel spiralled downwards because she fell in love with a man who loved her only for her popularity. When she lost her voice her fiance desired to break up with her; because she could never let her go she murdered him, and created a world where only the great achievements of her past were reflected and played over and over again.

I must first ask forgiveness because I seemed to have lost my edge with regard to writing properly: I have not finished a novel in four months, and the busyness of my previous year prevented me from honing my ability to express myself. The film wasn’t one imbued with symbolism; I was, however, pleased with how the title reflected the inability of Friedel to move on with her life. Success in life never fails to be marred by failure, whether public or private, and what people often do is deal with it and push forward. The tragedy is not with the crew being decimated by the broken AI: ultimately, the tragedy is of Friedel’s inability to accept that everyone fails at some point in their lives, destroying not only her life, but of countless others because of her selfishness. Were it not for her desire, like a whirlpool, to suck other people to only look at her, people would not have died. Because she wanted to be remembered, however, even in the most fleeting ways she designed a computer to simulate the memories of her past. For my part, however, I believe that our memories reaffirm the reality of our present: our past built us up to become what we are. While it’s something to be respected and remembered, I don’t think it’s something to be dwelt on.

Could we entirely say that Heintz triumphed in the end? Perhaps, but it is no more than a Pyrrhic victory. He may have triumphed over being overcome by the lure of the past, but he still lost his crew and he will never get back his child. He is Friedel’s antithesis, however, because despite the inviting memories, he pushes on forward with his life, and thus escapes with it. It may not be as memorable or as coruscating as Friedel’s, but he wins because he accepts that he must forge on. One can enjoy his achievements in the past, but one must never forget that he always faces the present.

I initially saved space for Stink Bomb and Cannon Fodder, but I didn’t think they were worthy of mention especially in light of the brilliance of Magnetic Rose. The only mistake Katsuhiro Otomo had in Memories was probably think that his direction was better than the other films. Stink Bomb and Cannon Fodder may not be watched. They’re just mediocre compared to Magnetic Rose. Memories was bogged down because of the latter films: had it been released solely with Magnetic Rose, it would have been a masterpiece.

Like the Clouds, Like the Wind: a breath of fresh air

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

It was about five years ago when I first read about Kumo no You ni, Kaze no You ni. As I recall, it was noted as a related anime to Ocean Waves, which remains to be one of my most favorite anime. Because of their relation, I sought to watch the film; however, I was unable to find a copy back then.

She reminded me of Saeko. Hopefully they don't share the same fate.

I found one more than a year ago, on November 2009. I simply forgot about it all this time, although I’ve attempted to watch it at least twice. Distractions kept me from enjoying the film, and it just passed me by. I’m sometimes glad that I have the tendency to obsess over certain passions of mine, because if it were not for that I would never have seen this wonderful film (as I’m decimating my backlog, I had to watch this eventually and I thought it was a most opportune time with the last summer break of my life).

This film, by the way, is related to Ocean Waves because Katsuya Kondo was behind the character design and also aided in the direction of animation. He simply had a bigger role in this film, being the main director.

I didn’t expect much from this film: aside from its unimpressive score over at AniDB, I really didn’t see how the film would be great. Its premise wasn’t very interesting to me. I’m very glad I was wrong, however: like the title suggests, the film was highly entertaining and a breeze to watch. The subject matter was obviously not lighthearted; what impressed me regarding the film was that despite the gravity of the issues in the film it was never bogged down by bathos. It’s impressive how Katsuya Kondo was able to keep things buoyant and breezy despite everything: I especially give him props for being able to balance lightness and drama.

The film begins innocently enough: because of the interregnum, the palace sought court ladies. Ginga was among those who thought she was up to the task. Behind the mask of peace, however, lay court intrigue worsened by the imbroglio brought about by a rebellion borne out of boredom: as the Empress Dowager of the deceased ruler was a Hinhi, her child was not next-in-line for the throne. Instead, a young Koryuun, son of the deceased Seihi, was the one who would be emperor. Ginga played a part by aiding in the protection of Koryuun as well as performing well under their instructor, Kakuuto. She became the Seihi in time, and served her part despite the snowballing rebellion and the issues within the court. Through her creative measures, and the aid of the more reserved and intelligent Konton (close friend of the rebel leader), she was able to protect what remained of her court ladies and her court officials, although Koryuun performed suicide, having seen no way out.

The entire scenario would probably be bathed in bathos for a lesser anime, but Kondo sought, from the very beginning, to tell a bildungsroman rather than a melodramatic tragedy, and he was able to do this very well. It was a double-edged sword, however, because this buoyancy also prevented the film from becoming a masterpiece. Nevertheless, I thought that it was the right choice. The film wouldn’t have been so watchable otherwise, and it certainly wouldn’t take only 80 minutes to tell a tale such as this. It certainly was a great way to end my day, having seen so many mediocre and bad anime before this film.

I highly recommend this film.

C – 01: the postmodern Mononoke?

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

I think it’s a pleasant coincidence that I watched the first episode of C after I watched the second movie of Eden of the East. Both series just drag one in to its world: C starts with a very cold open, while Eden of the East starts in medias res. There is something I don’t want to see from C, however, and that is the lack of the direction that I found in Eden of the East. The latter started off as a series brimming with potential, like C, but it fizzled out and left the viewer (me, especially), with a decent, but not awesome ending.


The series reminds me even more of Mononoke than Eden of the East, however, despite the latter’s similarity with C. Maybe it’s because of the creepiness emanating from Masakaki and the demonic symbols that pervade ‘The Financial District.’ Or maybe because I’m just reminded of the Medicine Seller whenever Masakaki speaks and toys with the protagonist. Takahiro Sakurai is simply delicious in these types of roles because his voice can evince the cunning and intelligence in these characters: I recall House of Five Leaves as well-executed partly because of Yaichi, and that character was also voiced by Takahiro Sakurai.

The episode was extremely watchable, although because of its EotE premise also invites some skepticism from me. I was impressed, certainly, but I wasn’t blown away as I was with Tatami Galaxy. Part of the reason has to do with the Yu-Gi-Oh fight in the first part of the episode. The manipulation of currency was well-animated, and the fight was excellently done, but it simply seemed out-of-place precisely because the monsters seemed to be stolen from Yu-Gi-Oh (insert episode number in the hundreds here). The art of Masakaki is also reminiscent of Dark Magician from YGO (I watched YGO back when I was younger. I don’t regret anything, but it was quite repetitive).

Oh, besides C and Hanasaku Iroha, are there any notable Spring shows? I don’t really see many choices.

Unexpected gravitas in 009-1

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

I started watching 009-1 back when it began airing in 2006. Sadly, it took more than a year for its subbing to be completed, and by then I had forgotten all about it. It was only a few months ago where I was able to obtain the complete series.

The first few episodes of the series are pretty slow. Like Golgo 13 and manga that haven’t aged as well as its creators would like, the episodes are standalone and deal with 009-1’s individual missions. Its first five episodes are quite forgettable, actually.


Shiki: what ambiguity?

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

I’m not someone one would consider a film-lover, although I try my best to be abreast of critically-acclaimed films. I can’t say I love independent films more than big-budget blockbusters, but I try to watch as many good films as I can (although I haven’t watched Paprika yet).

I haven’t watched Oldboy, but I have watched two films of Park Chan-wook’s, and I am in agreement with many as regards his ability and talent in directing. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance was pretty good, but Thirst was beautiful.

One would probably wonder why I’m talking about films when this is an anime blog, but Thirst is thematically similar to an anime series I recently finished: there are shared elements between it and Shiki. I know I haven’t been around to keep pace when it was airing, so I’m trying to make amends.

The most obvious motif is the supernatural existence of vampires. This is what arguably pervades the majority of philosophical problems that both film and series possess. In Thirst, a priest who sought meaning in his life decided to be a test subject for a fictional disease with no cure. Because he was transfused with vampire blood, however, he was the only one who was able to escape death from the disease. In exchange for his ‘cured’ state, however, was a severe desire for blood.

Unlike most stock vampires, however, the priest tried to procure blood through relatively benign means: he would steal from blood banks and seek out people who desired to die, and magically give them anemia, of course, which would hasten their death. He did not actively try to feed on people, and if he did it was never to the extent of murdering them. His transformation, however, awakened his desires of the flesh, and this was reciprocated by a woman who felt trapped in the mundane existence of her family.

I guess the prior viewing of Thirst didn’t really allow me to view Shiki as an ambiguous affair: I thought the family of vampires were enemies because they invaded a peaceful place and didn’t practice moderation, which they could have done. What happened to them near the end of the series was merely their recompense: what goes around, comes around. Was it utterly necessary for Sunako and the Kirishiki’s to create a palace in the middle of nowhere so that they can feed on the Sotoba village?

It was not. If they had the resources to create a castle as grand as their residence, they would have had the resources to purchase blood from banks, or even steal from those places. They could have made photodermatosis as an excuse for their inability to go out during the day, and then drink from bought blood when they felt hunger. Instead, they felt it was better to terrorize a whole village because they needed to feed.

Hemophilia, for example, is a genetic disorder. They could create that as an excuse and if that didn’t pass through they could just steal from the city’s blood banks. Instead, they wanted a village all their own.

I laughed when they were dying. It served them right.

Thirst for me was a great film because it didn’t make things as clear as other vampire movies did. The priest was a vampire one could definitely empathize with, because even if he was accidentally made into a vampire he tried his best to not kill others. His only weakness, in the end, was that he loved too much that he created another monster like himself. Even then, he tried to make up for his misdeeds by suicide: because he couldn’t stop her, he made sure that they both died. I can’t help but remember the final, haunting line he uttered to the lady he transformed:

‘I wanted to live with you forever and ever. Together again in hell then.’

I didn’t empathize or sympathize with most of the vampires in Shiki because of this. For me, they didn’t deserve any. They blindly obeyed the commands of Tatsumi; some even murdered their own family because they were merely hungry and wanted to have some companionship as vampires. There was no one other than Natsuno who thought of fighting against the spreading plague. The only other shiki I empathize with are Ritsuko and Tohru. Both still retained their consciences even as shiki, although Tohru fed on Natsuno out of necessity. I think that despite everything it was a good move by him, because it prevented Megumi from hypnotizing Natsuno, allowing Natsuno to warn Akira and Kaori. In the end, he also helped Yasuyo escape due to the prodding of Ritsuko, and faced his death together with her.

Self-control reminiscent of Father Sergius

I empathize most with Ritsuko and Natsuno, however, because they did not let their beastliness obscure their humanity. Ritsuko fought against her hunger and upheld her basic human duty to be responsible for others. Natsuno and her are probably the apotheosis of the Kantian deontological philosophy: treat each and every person not merely as a means, but always as an end. She translates this responsibility beautifully in her dialogue with Tohru:

I don’t want to die either, but I don’t want you [Tohru] or Yasuyo to die. […] For me to live on, someone else has to die.

Tohru thanked Ritsuko after his release of Yasuyo: although he was a well-meaning guy, he needed see the decisiveness of Ritsuko to know that he finally did the right thing. Both would die in each other’s arms.

What Natsuno has done to deserve sympathy is more obvious, however, because even as a Shiki he helped destroy the other Shiki as well as helped Dr. Ozaki battle the vampires. In the end, even if he could have lived (as a werewolf he did not have any fear of the dark and could very well survive on human food), he decided to die with Tatsumi, the devilish werewolf who was actually the enforcer among the Shiki. He protected Akira and Kaori and placed Kaori in a hospital; he also smartly bit Dr. Ozaki because he knew the other shiki were targetting Ozaki’s life.

There are three other characters I’d like to share my thoughts on. They are Seishin, Sunako, and Dr. Toshio Ozaki. I won’t be very long with the former two.

I am not atheist. I am pretty much a Catholic. I honestly don’t have much of a desire to go to Church, however, because I have lost faith in a good amount of priests in our country. As a medical student, and being familiar with the reproductive health bill, I believe in the power of contraception especially in a state where the poorest families have the most amount of children. I would rather have the prevention of the creation of children rather than children who couldn’t even eat and probably will be those who will become the next generation of breeders. The Philippines cannot withstand another population explosion, especially because it has a small area.

I guess this negativity has rubbed off on my perception on Seishin, especially because he did everything a monk should not have done: he sided with evil, and condoned the perpetuation of the Shiki. He also killed someone who only desired to cleanse his village of the Shiki, Tomio. He never helped Ozaki when the deaths started to escalate and instead turned to Sunako to be with her. I hate hypocrisy, and he was one of the biggest in this series. It’s just like the priests here in the Philippines: unable to see the pragmatism on the Reproductive Health bill, they desire to uphold natural family planning in a country that’s for the most part a confederacy of dunces.

Together again in death, then

I have little to say about Sunako. Her logic and reasoning to me were weak, and she should have died. I’m glad Ozaki and Natsuno outsmarted her. There were other less violent ways and she didn’t think of it, but she thought on spending on a castle and eradicating the Sotoba village? She was an imbecile.

Finally, we have Dr. Ozaki. I don’t despise what he did to his dead wife, and I certainly don’t despise what he did to the Shiki. There wasn’t really any difficulty for me to tell the good from the bad, and he was the good party for the most part. I like him a lot because he reminded me of Dr. Bernard Rieux, the protagonist of Camus’s Plague.

Although he thought of the occurrences in Sotoba to be unreal, once he discovered the reality with Natsuno’s help he did not hesitate to do everything in his power to stop the deaths from consuming the entire village. He tried to pragmatically deal with his supernatural enemies, and was successful because he used reason more than emotions. Did I like what he did to his wife? No. Could there have been something else? It would have taken much longer and the village would have been outrun by the Shiki by then. He did not exactly have the benefit of choosing his specimen and while he could have controlled and aided his wife it wouldn’t have saved the village from them. It was because of this decision that the secret to the Shiki’s weakness was thoroughly discovered and it was because of this assiduity that the villagers were able to destroy the lair of the Shikis with such precision. He tries to battle the shiki in the village because it is his job as doctor to protect human lives.

He is just as pragmatic as Dr. Rieux and that is why I admired what he had done in the series.