See, Casshern’s such a next level asskicker, he just lets himself get beaten into a bloody pulp whenever he’s bored.
This episode’s cliffhanger lingers on quite the arresting image, but it’s hard to take it that seriously when our prince has shaken off worse beatings at least three times already. Hell, this latest blood-letting comes just seconds after Ohji monologues about how Casshern’s so invincible, so indestructible and so impervious to basically any kind of harm. The only lasting damage ever dealt upon the guy has centered on his conscience and, considering how Luna’s resurrection means he shouldn’t feel too guilty about killing her in the first place, we’re seeing how that even manages to bounce back pretty easily.
Again, this is the guy who lets his girlfriend repeatedly stab him so she can feel better about herself. If this were a video game, he’d be in god mode.
So, taken in the long view, this series maybe doesn’t work quite work in the way we expect our action-adventure thrillers to. Not only has Casshern been continually reasserted as unbeatable, Dio and Leda - - the ostensible heavies of this opera - - have also been rather thoroughly diminished as threats. The moment where they arrive with their robot army has some goosebump-inducing epic scope, certainly; but that all fades pretty quickly as soon as you start thinking about how Casshern’s already punked Dio several times and already shredded through legions of these bots with very little effort.
So, taken objectively… there kind-of isn’t any conflict in this show. At least, as far a conflict is traditionally defined. And yet, it’s still so compelling. It might actually be a truly deconstuctionist take on this genre, tragedy showing just how much danger and suspense can be evoked (indeed, Ohji’s desperation over Ringo is some wrenching drama) when the familiar cycle of threat and victory has been removed.
Some thoughts in process here. This show still needs to be shorter, though. Oh man.