美少女と野獣 – Little Beauty and the Beast; 弱者の行進 – March of the Weak
When episode 8 ended in that mysterious cliffhanger, it kept me guessing, speculating, thinking – it was constantly on my mind. An entire week’s worth of waiting and alas, episode 9 graces our television/computer screens. Considering how practically every episode of Hamatora so far left me eagerly anticipating the next, it pains me to have to admit that episode 9 was a complete and utter let down, leaving me disgruntled and very wanting. Not to mention, a waste of mind/brain capacity, what with all the effort that was put into guessing what would happen next.
To summarise, episode 8 focused on Three’s background story. He was in the military (or something or other.. maybe an assassin) and he killed endlessly. However, a chance encounter (I am guessing Honey) changed him in a way. And after that, he stopped killing, devoting his life to protecting her. The bit about protecting Honey we are aware of. However what was newly revealed was that Three actually runs an orphanage, bringing up the children of those he killed. Instead of redemption, he sought punishment for his actions. His plan? To bring the children up, so that they may one day kill him for having killed their parents. Yes, a very round about way of doing things.
Round about was evidently the theme, as this beating around the bush carried on to episode 10. We finally see Moral’s plan in action. But before going into episode 10’s review, let me just finish up my episode 9 rant. Why the writers decided to focus on a side character, I honestly could not understand. With only 3 episodes left, I could not help but think that it was not efficient story telling at all. Honestly the only thing that mattered was Moral’s little zombie army, which we caught a glimpse of during the last 5 seconds of the episode. Of course, some might argue that Three’s little one episode of fame led to the build up of Moral’s plan, since Minimum Holders were exposed to the public following media coverage of Three using his powers to save the children. However, I found the entire episode forced and out of place at best. The focus on Three’s background story was a far cry from Birthday’s and Ratio’s story. Perhaps it would have been good had it been done in the earlier episodes, or even if this were a 2-cour anime. But fact of the matter is, there were only 3 episodes left to the series and with Art still in limbo, such a ‘filler’ episode was highly uncalled for.
Moving on, we get to episode 10, which gave us a little recap of the goings-on of episode 9. As I mentioned earlier, indirectness was the motif in these two episodes. Why? Well, we see that Moral really went to quite the extent to get his plan into motion. There are so many phases before the master plan finally comes into plan – what with exposing Minimum Holders, building an army of non-innate minimum holders to kill people, harnessing hate and disgust amongst those without Minimum, getting Minimum Holders to express their resentment towards such people, etc. Too complicated, Moral. Just power yourself up and have a showdown with Nice already. Don’t get me wrong. I do appreciate it when the antagonist clearly thoroughly thinks through his plan. However, there is a fine line between being detailed and being lengthy. And I thought Moral’s plan simply dragged on far too long. We were told from quite some time ago that Moral wanted equality for Nice, as equality obviously goes both ways. So I honestly cannot commend Moral’s ambiguous way of meandering his route to reach his goal.
Obviously, Moral was episode 10’s feature. As more of Moral’s personality is exposed, we see that he really does have quite the Robin Hood complex. He sees himself as the messiah of this unfair world – beckoning the weak, as he calls them, to approach him, so that he may bestow upon them powers of equality. To succumb to such temptation, certainly they have no self-awareness. As Moral put it, those who are truly weak cannot even realise their own frailty. Evidently, the number of non-innate Minimum Holders that marched out of his office is a clear indication of the truth of that statement. As Nice so succinctly stated, people lack the self-confidence to just be who they are. Again, this issue mirrors that of real life. And it begs the question.. Why waste time and effort being envious of others or looking down on others? If people channel that energy into improving themselves (in a non-surgical, non-artificial, completely legit manner), people could become someone they would be more proud of, wouldn’t they? It is just another flaw of humanity’s, a ubiquitous flaw in today’s world.
At the end of the episode, part of what Moral has been plotting finally realised and we finally see the fateful meeting between Nice and Moral. What does the next episode have in store for us? I am guessing lots of talking, as I somehow do not see the confrontation coming to physical blows. Of course, not until Nice finds out about what happened to Art. Speaking of Art, I am certain that he is still alive. He has to be! He is Art but maybe not so. Otherwise, why would his body be there? Who is that lady? What is she doing to Art? Please come back, Art!
Honestly, this attachment that I have to the character would not be possible if HiroC hadn’t done such a marvellous job with the character. Every single time I hear him speak, my love for him grows by leaps and bounds (if it were even possible for me to like him even more than I already do). There are a few categories of really good seiyuus, they include some who can change the way they sound completely, that you can’t tell it’s them; then there are others who use the exact same register, but are just beyond skilled at acting that they sound like a completely different person simply by virtue of the tone and the manner of speaking. For me, HiroC falls in the latter category. With the exact same pitch/register, he managed to convincingly pull of Art and Moral-as-Art. I’d dare to go even further by saying that he does a better Moral than Ono Yuuki does! Call me biased, but it is what it is.. HiroC, you never fail to impress me （*＾_＾）/～♡