Shingu, 3rd DVD

Another quick post, because I’ve got too much going on today. Managed to get through the third DVD. I’ve been expecting one of the major revelations since the first DVD, but not the full extent of it. I’m cutting the show some slack on the whole “I’ve got a seeeeeecret” angle now because it’s beginning to look like nobody really knows what the hell is going on. There’s a lot of maneuvering going on behind the scenes and we’re just seeing the surface. People who thought they were in a privileged position are having to scramble; conspiracies are becoming obvious, yet remain hidden. I think the count of four conspiracies might be low. (The last time I saw anything this complex and mysterious, I was bitterly disappointed. Yes, I’m still bitching about Simoun.)

And throughout it all, the characters are the real treasure. They do change and grow, yet they remain themselves without being caricatures, and without overly dramatic battle scenes being when it happens. I’ve always thought that the changes a character undergoes shouldn’t happen in those melodramatic moments during action sequences, when characters are shouting “ganbatte!” In reality, they happen afterwards, when the person processes what happened and internalizes it. Perhaps they seek or are given assistance, through talking it out with someone senior. Or perhaps they work through it themselves. That’s the moment of actual change — until then, whatever happened was just a fluke. Shingu understands this subtle difference, and we see both Harumi and Nayuta working through such moments.

Steven said:

There are so many things that are just right in this series, and by far the most important is that the characters are so vivid and well conceived. Sometimes a series will have one or two memorable characters. This one has a lot more than that.

Spot on. I can’t think of anyone that hasn’t turned out to be really memorable in some way so far. the only characters who fade into the background are meant to, and even then this show never treats them as nobodies. They’re characterized like they should be, whether it’s the crew of a spaceship doing the “Hwot” dance (a tiny piece in the background that will slip by if you’re not alert), or a couple of random kids on the beach.

Up through DVD 2, the annoyance factor over the secrets was really aggravating me, and I wasn’t willing to give the series more than a B or maybe B+. Halfway through this DVD, I was thinking “you know, at this pace, it’s definitely an A-, if it keeps it up.” I’m now beginning to think it’s going to take an A or A+. I hope I don’t have to start doing like Taniguchi in Melancholy and making up ratings like “Triple A-plus!”

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