Every episode of this show feels too short, each episode has ended on a cliff hanger with a whole bunch of new questions left for us to scream out loud about.
This week is no different.
So we ended with Mitsumune and Masaki running off after he’d been kidnapped by the crazy bunch and Mitsumune freaking out about a giant monster called Tokimune who had just appeared out of nowhere.
For the majority of the episode it was actually a look at what made the crazy bunch join this tour.
The “Monster” out in the woods is more like a projection of the worst thing that happened in your life. If you’ve ever seen or read The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett (Anna will love me for mentioning it) its like the defence in the Tooth Fairies tower. Koharun late on in the episode finally tells them that the creepy song she keeps singing at random moments means just that, finally telling the terrified group important information she probably should have told them the second strange things started to happen.
The characters this episode focused on was Lovepon, Nyanta, Jigoku and Mikage. Mitsumune and Masaki were left to run away from the giant Tokimune without much of a reason to why Mitsumune was scared of it, though we did learn why Koharun was worried about Masaki.
Before I go deeper into all those back stories lets talk about what this “Monster” could be.
As I said above in the Hogfather its used as a defence mechanism when the Assassin Teatime and a band of rogues enter the Tooth Fairies tower to take control of the teeth of all the kids and stop belief in the Hogfather (Discworld’s version of Santa) and thus killing him. In the film The Village there is a “Monster” in the woods that turns out to be a myth purely set about by the village elders to stop the young kids from wanting to leave the village and the safety they’d built for themselves, the only person being permitted to leave being the main character who also happened to be blind (so she couldn’t SEE the world outside.)
What if its a combination of the both?
I’m still going for a “they are all dead” theory because to me it just works best. Nearly 100% of the time if you can’t get out of a area, and lets face it the bus fell off of a road so all they had to actually do was find the road which would have been at the crest of the hill the bus had fallen down and follow the road back to civilisation, AND its not on a map it usually means at some point someone dies.
So what if the “Monster” is there to force you to face your worst memory? Sometimes the worst memory you have can define you. Maybe you made a fool of yourself once and forever more kept quiet to stop you from making a fool of yourself again? Maybe you accidentally did something that you knew to be wrong and it plays on your mind? Even a simple little mistake can sometimes ruin a persons entire future BUT at the same time it still is that persons fault in a way for LETTING it ruin your future.
You get to either stay safely in the village not facing that fear or you face that fear and get judged based on it. A little like Death Parade in that you’d be sent to oblivion or maybe find redemption and be allowed to return?
Therefore I wonder if the “Monster” is even dangerous?
Like most things it won’t be the actual THING that kills you but the shock itself? Maybe if you can’t come to terms with it or whatever it is see’s that you can’t change then in this limbo state you’ll end up “dying” from fear, but if you see past that fear you get to return?
Masaki seems to be the key to it all. Koharun apparently knew that there was a 16 year old girl who went missing in the closest village to this one with the same name as Masaki. The song apparently said a girl came to the village and brought her monster with her so it’ll be interesting to see if Masaki was a trigger like the Bogeyman/Tooth Fairy in Hogfather or whether her demons, whatever they might be, are consuming others whilst she hides from them? Or maybe she’s just feeding it?
Back to the actual episode then. I’ll look at each character individually so if you aren’t interested in one then you can skip ahead (I feel this blog will be quite long.)
So we finally learn why she’s obsessed with Execution. For me its still a little strange, I feel like there has to be something mentally wrong with Lovepon, not in a cruel way, for her to hate someone to instantly want them executed. The episode showed that her mother was basically abused by a Monk who gave her money in exchange, Lovepon had gotten on the wrong side of the Monk a few times and ended up being beaten by him.
I really felt sorry for Lovepon but its a giant leap from hating someone to wanting everyone to be executed. I know a lot of people who were abused by parents or people close to the family for many reasons, and abused in many different ways, and know fully that they tend to look harsher on punishment then someone who doesn’t know the psychological damage that kind of abuse can leave on people BUT none of them in their right mind wants the whole world to be executed just in case.
For me, even knowing her backstory, I find it difficult to related to Lovepon and her eccentricity. The fact that others tend to not call her out on the behaviour is worrying. In fact Nyanta and Jigoku pretty much endorse the behaviour at times.
The “Monster” appeared as the face of the Demon on the bottle that the Monk used to drink out of. If my theory is even a little right the last person I can see letting go of her bias and opening her heart and moving on is Lovepon.
Again I feel sorry for the character, it really upset me watching the scenes with her and her mother but its a big leap for me to feel sorry for someone and endorse a character who doesn’t just want the right punishment for the right crime but wants to TORTURE and KILL people on little more then “he could be dangerous.” Lets face it she’s TRIED to kill Mitsumune, she doesn’t listen to anyone, she seems to be obsessed with torture and knows the “best way” to make people talk. You can feel sorry for someone for the abuse they received and still realise that they themselves are a problem and Lovepon is the most dangerous character in the group really.
Now with Nyanta I totally feel sorry for her and with her it won’t be giving up something but just facing her fear.
Nyanta was bullied by a group of girls in her year so she brought herself her first BB Gun and used it to shoot at them at a distance. Unfortunately the girls were too smart for her and caught her out, they then tied her up under a beehive shooting at her. I think you’re left to believe, or at least I believed, they finally did either accidentally or on purpose shoot the beehive which left Nyanta terrified of bees.
Boy was the “Monster” Bee that chased Nyanta through the woods terrifying.
The thing is she’s possibly the one that I’m not going to be able to (so far, there might be more) put into my theory. Without knowing more its hard to figure out why a fear of bee’s is going to put her in this position, or indeed why a fear of bees would send her to the Village in the first place. I guess some people won’t have a outright reason why and just have to face their fears but a fear of… Well it was translated as bee’s but it was actually wasps, bees don’t look like that neither are they particularly horrible creatures unlike wasps and hornets. A fear of any of those three is hardly something to really define you though so I’m guessing there might be more to it then just that.
Nyanta I totally feel sorry for and went from being one of the jokey characters in my eyes (with her obsession with being a cat and all) to being one I really want to save.
Like Nyanta its easy to feel sorry for him and to understand where he’s coming from.
He was obsessed with becoming a Ranger, by the looks of it he shared that love with the internet which ended up with a lot of people taking the piss. Unfortunately he was also very short. In his need to do whatever he can to become a ranger he went to have a silicon implant in his head to make him just that little bit taller. Obviously there IS more then that to come from him as his big fear was a “Monster” made of silicon.
A fear of failure? A fear of humiliation? We’ll have to wait and see. It left his story with him passing the height test or at least it looked like he had. Who knows, it left it on a bit of a cliff hanger in itself.
Actually thinking back on it, if this was a exercise in beefing up these characters characterisation then I think Jigoku’s worked and didn’t work because I still have 100 more questions about him even with his flash back now pretty much there in my head. It did explain HIM though and explained him better then Lovepon and Nyanta. He’s obsessed with becoming a ranger so going somewhere like this where he’d be secluded and could become the “ranger” of the group obviously would be something he’d jump on. It completely moves him from being strange to being understandable.
If my theory is correct do I think he could find redemption? Sure. A dream that consumes you that you fail at for reasons not of your own but which then eats away at you for not being able to do it is hard. One person on this blog itself is consumed day and night in the same manner. It does then direct your life from thereon in. You can’t help who you are, in Jigoku’s situation he can’t help that he didn’t grow tall enough, but when you put your life into something just to have it taken away from you NOTHING else is going to fill you with happiness. He just needs to, in a way, get over it.
Then again I’d like to see if he just didn’t get accepted because he was STILL too short or if the Silicon did something to him.
PLUS it adds to another theory (I will have a big theory blog out sometime today.)
So Mikage is very similar to Valkana. Whereas Valkana was made a scapegoat though Mikage made a simple mistake and after being fully confident and winning the approval of the board of directors to go ahead with his plan failed miserably. His fear is them laughing at him.
His “Monster” is probably the creepiest, he was trying to sell a toy train set with the engine train having a smiley face. His “Monster” is a deformed version of said train and creeped me the hell out.
So whilst Valkana is trying to lose responsibility of others yet can’t shake his need to be in charge, Mikage is running from humiliation and can’t bare to be out of control of a situation.
Why I’m comparing him to Valkana is purely because it doesn’t surprise me with either of them. Their positions from day one seemed pretty obvious and their hard headed stubbornness is extremely similar.
If anything Mikage looked like the next person we are going to lose.
All we know about his is he’s being chased by a weird looking giant penguin thing. I’m guessing we’ll learn more next episode as well as learning more about Masaki. After all we still don’t know what it was that she wanted to tell Mitsumune.
I’m a little shocked at how easy they all gave up and just went back to listen to Koharun. Especially Valkana, I guess he really only cares when it could look like his mess up. After hearing and seeing the people they found you’d think they’d have more urgency in finding the others.
There are still a few characters that just don’t have anything to them yet and I’m really interested in seeing all their backstories. The problem I see though is that this isn’t a long anime, its only going to have a standard 12 or so episodes and that means we’ve hit the halfway point and only really have four and a bit backstories done and two “deaths” of any kind. I don’t want them to rush it but I feel that they won’t be able to do the series justice with how little time they’ve got left unless they have more episodes then I thought they did.
In all of this I think the key now turns out to be Masaki. I think Koharun knows that but why she never told anyone that I don’t know. In fact Koharun is the most dangerous person there purely because she seems to know what is going on, or at least has a hunch, but refuses to tell them EVERYTHING which is weird. In actual fact Koharun herself could be the ghost/girl/whatever doing all this.
More theories are brewing in my head as we speak. I’ll let you all go for now.
(Thanks to @Awerka for screencapping all the Monsters and adding them for me too.)