This was a generally satisfying conclusion to Towa no Quon, though there were a few things that were too predictable and a few that still don’t make sense. But expecting everything to make sense in a BONES sci-fi epic is like expecting to capture fog in a butterfly net. And I’m not sure it’s even desirable, because it’s that slightly remote-from-explanation quality that gives the studio’s work the special feel it has. That and the earnest and straightforward nature of the emotions at play. Towa no Quon was certainly true to its creators, and a pretty timeless work as well.
If you recall, this film series was the brainchild of veteran director Iida Umanosuke, who sadly passed away from cancer in 2010. His friend and colleague Mori Takeshi (Gunsmith Cats, Vandread) took over and saw the product through to completion. Kudos to BONES for going ahead with the production on TnQ – it would have been easy for them to walk away from it, given that it was very much a creator-driven vehicle for Iida-sensei. Because of that we’ll never know exactly how the final product would have differed had he lived to helm the project himself, but it’s probably safe to assume that Mori-san did everything in his power to be true to the original spirit of the story.
What I expected was that Shun, the cyborg Proust aficionado turned attractor, would meet his untimely end saving the others. It was predictable but still sad for me, as I found Shun to be the most compelling character in the series. I also though that Takao (something of a departure role for Miyu Irino) would turn out to be a fool rather than a clever double-agent, and indeed he did – though it’s not clear to me what Kamashiro had to gain from spiriting he and the younger children away, apart from rubbing Quon’s nose in it. Kamashiro was not a strength of the series, in my view – a bit too much the stereotypical arch-villain, right down to the maniacal laughter. There’s often just a hint of the American superhero comic in BONES’ work (and I’m not talking about Heroman, but the classic stuff) and that was definitely the case here, with Kamashiro the most obvious example for me. Some may compare the nature of the premise here – children with superpowers persecuted for it, and sheltered and trained by those of similar abilities and greater experience – to “X-Men”, and I won’t deny it – but it’s not as though X-Men was a pioneer in that idea either. It’s almost as old as sci-fi and comic books themselves – as always, it boils down to how you execute the concept.
Fundamentally this was the story of the two whose names are in the title, Towa and Quon. It was interesting to learn that it was Towa himself who placed the curse of immortality on Quon, on the day their village was destroyed by angry muggles and Towa sealed himself away in crystal. It was probably too much to ask in this series for Towa and Quon to have a good end together – too much karma under the bridge for that – but at least Quon got to speak to his brother again, and seemingly free him from the curse of guilt that had been plaguing him for a millennium. If I take the ending correctly, Quon himself has retained his powers, but Towa has released him from immortality. I think the chance to live a life knowing he’s going to die is about as good as he could reasonably have hoped for, and judging by the state of things he’ll certainly be needed – though he’s going to have to be a hell of a lot more careful from now on. Quon took as much damage as any anime character for quite a while.
With Quon having spared Kamashiro (I’m still not sure why he was aged when his powers were taken from him) and redeemed himself morally to some extent in the process, the story basically comes to an end – though an open end it certainly is. There was a flare-up of trust between the attractors and Kestos staff in cooperating to escape the facility after The Order destroyed it, but clearly a great deal of fear and hatred remains.
Seele The Order is still out there, controlling from behind the scenes – I was just waiting for them to decide Kestos had gone rogue and trigger their fail-safe – but we don’t know exactly who they are, and I’m still unsure of Kannazaki’s role in all this. Are he (and they) immortal as well – or very long-lived? If BONES wanted to continue this in TV form they certainly could, as there’s plenty of story left to be told (both past and future) and I wouldn’t mind a bit if they did. But with Iida-san gone, I suspect the urgency to do so probably passed with him, and the six-part film will stand as the sum of Towa no Quon. I’m sure it will rank in the lesser-known and discussed of BONES’ work, but it deserves credit – this is a pretty ambitious and mostly successful series, and worthy of a place in the BONES lexicon.