Anime Vice News

CASSHERN SINS #24 - - Watch & Learn

Stand back! It's an inconclusive Japanese ending!

I’ve come to see that the elevator pitch of CASSHERN being “like HAMLET with robots” maybe had less to do with any direct parallels to the House of Denmark’s family business and more to do with brooding, ostensibly-adventurous princes wandering through utterly-gloomy plotlines.

See, one conclusion I took away from taking a class on revenge tragedies in college was that most classical entries in the genre aren’t quite structured according to the standards we define our “good storytelling” by. We usually judge a story’s merits by its point. Either some theme is reinforced by the plot, or the character’s personalities evolve according to some sort of arc, and so on.

Revenge tragedies, though? They usually just boil down to saying, “Well, shit happens and then you die." Yes, even HAMLET. All the substantial observations of human nature that it makes along the way are almost incidental.

I’m bringing that up because I’m searching for some comparison points to understand CASSHERN SINS with. Without getting too pretentious, I do think it’s more of an art piece, and what comes with that is some difficulty to evaluate it on the same scale I judge most of the entertainment I watch here. It’s not something you can just file off into the “ROCKS!” or “SUCKS!” cabinets.

I do think there are a number of enduring problems with the series. It’s twice as long as it should be. There are tangents - - like the rock singer robot episode - - which don’t seem to be of any consequence to anything that came later. Casshern’s only a carbon fiber or two away being just like the dull, listless amnesiac child assassins I so often criticize. Then there’s the quite nearly-comprehensive effort to remove any and all sense of suspense - - and, as I’ve said numerous times before, that may be actually be a plus.

Review enough of these things, and you can’t start wondering if there should be some belt system for appreciating anime. Like, if you've seen 50 robot stories and you're deeply familiar with all their conventions, then you'll get something out of a tragic, life-dampening spin on the concept. Yeah, I feel like I've earned that rank and, because of that, I don't know if I can recommend this show to most people because it's targeting such a specific niche.

Of course, I'm still sorting out of my thoughts on this thing - - because it's an art piece, for sure. Maybe I'll have to dedicate a Vice Pit episode to the subject. The discussion definitely isn't done for me, even though I'm out of space here.

Watch this episode, “To the Wandering, Blooming Flowers” here and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

Kuro_Sanon Oct. 30, 2012 at 6:40 a.m.

Lyuuuuuuuze! Casssheeeeern! TwT

metalsnakezeroon Oct. 30, 2012 at 4:54 p.m.

Casshern Sins is very much an art piece that is best analyze at. You not having fun watching it but more of understand life of many things. In truth, I think the length works well in it favor since it the enduring journey you, the audience, must go with Casshern.

BTW do check out Madoka magica since it 12 episode length work for it to quickly shock you with every episode.

zaldaron Oct. 30, 2012 at 7:20 p.m.

Hmm if it is an art piece than I probably should check it out...you have been very good not to spoil things in these, hopefully you won't in the vice pit episode because I look forward to reading it.

Hmm...the hamlet analysis is interesting, not sure if I agree will have to read it again. A bare reduction of it to the simplest plot might not include any of the thematic stuff about the human condition but then it is the thematic stuff about the human condition that makes it hamlet and not say....a Bruce lee movie or an episode of Highlander...

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