“Singapore’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”
Things are certainly happening, but a little too quickly for my tastes. This seems to be a recurring theme with NoitaminA – in any given season one show will have a game plan for the 11-episode format that really works, and another will end up screaming along at breakneck speed trying to get everything in – and usually failing. I’d make Kuragehime an exception in the latter category – while it was certainly rushed, I thought the ending managed to make a silk purse out of that sow’s ear. This season AnoHana is cruising along with flawless pacing, while C seems to be barreling off the tracks at a dangerous speed.
The gist of what’s happening is clear enough, but I honestly don’t feel like we’ve been given the context to understand why. The FiDis are quickly running out of money – and as they do, vast swathes of Japan’s RL population is disappearing, leaving odd, nagging holes in the survivor’s lives. Some – though not all – of the remaining population seems to be in some kind of stupor about the whole thing. Mashu appears to be a representation of Kimimaro’s future daughter (a cruel blow to the shippers) though that isn’t 100% certain – and it isn’t certain whether Hanabi is the mother. She’s still around but seems to notice something odd about her letters and photos from her student teaching. Still around too is Kimimaro’s Sensei, who Kimimaro stops on the verge of killing himself as a last-ditch attempt to win his kid future back. Kimimaro tries to buy it back in the FiDi, but Masakaki blows him off.
Meanwhile, Singapore is in even worse shape – the Southeast Asia FiDi is bankrupt and with it, an entire country will disappear – and it’s not the first time it’s happened. Mikuni has been planning for this and the Starling Guild launches it’s last-ditch plan to save Japan, though Kimimaro breaks ranks – accusing Mikuni of saving the present at the cost of the future. Mikuni counters that the future is lost anyway without a present – and after pursuing that logical ourboros for a bit we see the collapse of the SE Asia FiDi as Masakaki laughs in a cartoonishly villainous manner.
This is really starting to look like a pretty good idea with terminally flawed execution, unfortunately. The major conceit of the plot is a fascinating one, but the whole thing has never really been laid out comprehensibly enough to set up a satisfying finish in three more eps. The series is better when it focuses on the human side of the issue – especially as it applies to Kimimaro’s relationship with Mashu. But that was wholly absent this week, and the episode suffered for it. And it’s hard to see how it can possibly be the focus of the last arc with so much loose plot flying around everywhere. I remain impressed by the imagination that went into C, but I’m not terribly hopeful for a satisfying conclusion.