I mean, yow.
And yet…somehow, I’m not affected as profoundly as I would have expected. Watching the Rutenberg warriors riding off to their deaths…I felt it, but didn’t, at the same time. And by the end, I was just shaking my head, because the Shinou had done it again. I’m starting to tire of his string-pulling. And also of Murata’s little comments…because really, what has the Shinou done that’s so bad? If there’s going to be a conflict between Yuuri and the Shinou, can it go ahead and happen already?
I think part of why the episode didn’t work for me was due to an error in translation. One scene involves Cheri freaking out. The translation has Stoffel bark at her that she now has the chance to redeem herself, and she should be happy. However, I’m pretty sure that he’s actually referring to Conrad, and the other Rutenberg warriors. I mean, that would make more sense…what does Cheri have to redeem herself for? And the whole point of the episode is that Conrad and the other “half-breeds” are going to the front lines. Plus, Cheri laments the fact that she can’t do anything to save “that child”, which I’m certain refers to Conrad. I think the purpose of the scene was to add weight to the Rutenberg tragedy, but the mistranslation only took away from it. It made me confused–I spent time wondering what Cheri needed redemption for, rather than focusing on the tragedy that was about to occur.
I watched the episode twice, and it was only on the second viewing that it occurred to me that it might be mistranslated. By then, of course, I’d already had my initial reaction to the episode, so realizing what was really going on didn’t have the same effect as it would have. But I don’t want to just blame the translation for my lack of emotion. The episode itself is flawed, a vignette that really serves no purpose other than to maintain the status quo. I can accept that from comedic filler episodes, but not as easily from plot episodes. Something else should have happened.
But Yuuri came back, and saw Conrad, and almost said something…and didn’t.
I think that bothered me the most of all.
This may be a cultural difference that I just don’t understand. People are not nearly so forthcoming with their emotions in Japan as they are here in the US. Maybe that look shared between them was overwhelmingly enough, in Japanese culture.
But to visit the past of the one who loves your soul–the one who could never have the love of your past self (episode 50, anyone?), to see the past that you’re working to prevent happening again, to see his suffering…and then not say anything?
Something needs to be resolved there, and ending the episode like that gave no indication that resolution will ever happen.
The show has a history of putting off resolutions. Yuuri found out he had Julia’s soul in episode 35, but he never asked about it. Really, he didn’t consider the matter much at all until he was forced to, in the most recent story arc (episodes 48-50), and even then he never asked. It’s been a little more understandable up until now, because at first, he couldn’t ask Conrad, because Conrad was with Big Shimaron…and many things occurred in the meantime that could easily make him forget, or at least put off asking. There’s also the fact that he’s likely being sensitive to Conrad’s feelings…and also, after episode 49 especially, questioning his relationship with Conrad.
But there’s a limit to the believability of Yuuri’s silence, and I think we’ve passed it.