lunes, 17 de julio de 2017


My Own Review

(The Sky Stained in Darkness - Ciel Stained by Noir)

CIEL: DREAMS... AND HOPE... (Yume mo... kibou wo...)


Oh, next episode is the one with Ciel appearing as the new French girl at class (Secondary school, NOT high school! Seven hells... at least we get a new cadre, this Dark-Skinned Blond hunk with a scar over his right eye that looks like he's made of badassium...); it's next FORTNIGHT that we get the one with Yukari's betrothal and her fiancé.
Anyway, referring to the present episode: it's been sheerly cathartic. I recommend watching it with a package of tissues at hand. When Giulio took that shot --right in the middle of the chest, through both the heart and the spine; he even bleeds kirakiraru and his whole yousei body fades away after the shaft is taken out!-- for his sister. I felt just like when Padfoot was shoved down that chute by Bellatrix (not to mention Oberyn's, Renly's, or Ygritte's demise; neither Remus, Tonks, nor Fred Weasley). This kind of tearjerker is a graphic scene that we are very unlikely to see on a Magical Girl Warrior show in the present day. Old-time 1990s MGW series of my childhood, like Sailor Moon (Mrs. Tomoe, Makoto's parents, and all cadres... but above all, the first cadre casualties and first non-resurrected casualties, the four Generals/Elite Four of the Dark Kingdom, oen of whom was the codifier for such instances of Redemption Equals Death like Giulio's), Wedding Peach (both star-crossed lovers' mothers, some demons, and the angel general Limone), and Cardcaptor, didn't shy away from showing the violent deaths of parents, love interests, and cadres; some of whom were resurrected and others were killed for real. Doki Doki Pretty Cure is the only Precure series --with the Queen's death and her daughter Marie-Ange's terminal illness in the backstory, aside from a civilian massacre in the magical land-- to reach that epitome of Dark and Edgy which refers to the depiction of this aspect of life --fatal violence and the ensuing grief--. The nearest thing I remember is the Redemption Equals Death moment of Nephrite/Neflite in the 1990s season 1 of Sailor Moon.
As for Ciel's and Pikalio's character arcs... I love how Pikalio saved Ciel from the corruption that had taken advantage of her remorse (by entering her heart, her metaphysical heart or kokoro, and healing her from within [this reminds me of an excellent and equally cathartic gaslamp fantasy YA novel called The Paper Magician, by Charlie Holmberg, in which the plucky heroine --who looks like me with that titian hair and freckles-- chases the sexy femme fatale villainess through the four chambers of the male love interest's heart, to save his life and stop her, in a metaphysical manner, quite similar to Ciel's kokoro but with the difference that Emery's heart is far more complex, the right half of the dying young man's heart harbouring positive emotions and the left one harbouring negative emotions: the right atrium hosting his best memories (love, as in ai or selfless love), the right ventricle his greatest dreams (hope), the left atrium his most tragic memories (hate/guilt), and the left ventricle --where a riveting climax takes place-- his most dreadful fears (anxiety, even angst)... fortunately, Emery Thane is saved when they leave his heart and put it back into his chest. Trust me: it's a Snow Queen retelling worth the pain perusing and one of the best novels in the genre, and I wish they had expanded Pikalio's journey through Ciel's heart to make it just like in this book, even if it took another part more for this finale!]), then took that projectile aimed at her by using his own chest, his own life, as a shield. So he dies --fading away, he Disappears Into Light just like the deceased do in, for instance, Mushiking-- at the end of the episode... Redemption Equals Death for maximum catharsis... and presumably we will see his sister going through all the stages of grief for her saviour as the episodes of next half-cour keep on making the plot unfurl.
There are any number of reasons that authors do Redemption Equals Death:
  1. It shows that the ex-villain is serious about helping the heroes, enough to risk death to save them. It also plays up the drama of having a character turn good, but then tragically not survive to live out their redemption. This version is sometimes subverted with Redemption Earns Life or Redemption Equals Affliction, especially if the ex-villain is popular enough; since the willingness to die is all that is needed in this version of the trope.
  2. It may be that the bad guy is just so bad that it's hard to accept the idea that they get a happy ending even if they've sincerely changed their ways, and so they have to die to make things seem right. Sometimes Executive Meddling forces this so as not to cross Moral Guardians who will object if the ex-villain suffered another suitable punishment. See Do Not Do This Cool Thing.
  3. Maybe the author is reluctant to change the status quo of the story by introducing an Anti-Hero to the cast but still wants an antagonist to be sympathetic, so they have the villain redeem themselves before dying. Thus the main cast experience What a Senseless Waste of Human Life.
  4. It could be that there is no place in the world for them. Sure, the redeemed villain going off to a happy little life with Babies Ever After is heartwarming, but it might just not be possible if they're especially infamous with the general public. Even if the heroes are willing to forgive the ex-villain it doesn't always mean that the muggles will comply. In this case death by Heroic Sacrifice may actually be a happier end for the character than being strung up by an angry mob. If subverted the character may end up having to hide their identity or go into exile otherwise the heroes may end up having to plead the villain's case.
Non-protagonist atoners are especially likely to be hit by this trope.
To put an example from military fiction:
  • In The Gentleman Ranker, the disgraced Lieutenant Graylen rejoins the army as Private Smith. He finds himself under the command of his father, Colonel Graylen, who tells him I Have No Son. Smith volunteers to push through enemy lines to make contact with reinforcements. He makes it through, but dies of his wounds. Colonel Graylen acknowledges his son again, posthumously

This episode of KKPCàlM has the same vibe similar to how Kanata freed Towa from Dyspear and she was given Kanata's violin to become her new weapon. 

Usually a former antagonist who was purified by the Precures will be back to being good but for Pikario, it was different. Even though he was no more crazy psycho from last week, he is still the arrogant jerk who hates his sister, Ciel/Kirarin, and he is not really wrong. Seeing how he can never make normal food again as he is too corrupted to come back, Ciel took it very hard and Noir took this chance to corrupt her. 

Even though we have a really colorful battle with Ciel becoming Cure Parfait, but the price was too heavy as Giulio/Pikalio paid the ultimate price and died! (For kids!) Cure Parfait's debut battle is perhaps the best usage of the Candy Rod without pulling a punch...

This was probably the best episode of KiraKira ☆ PreCure à la Mode yet, or at least it is in my opinion. The introduction of a new Cure halfway through a season always tends to be a rather spectacular event, and Cure Parfait’s debut was no exception.
Cure Parfait is the highlight of this episode, but Noir attempting to shoot her is certainly worth noting. First of all, he was attempting to stop her transformation into Cure Parfait – not many villains try to pre-empt that kind of thing in magical girl warrior anime.
Secondly, it resulted in the what appears to be the death of Pikalio. It probably isn’t as simple as that, but for now, Pikalio was pierced by an arrow in th middle of the chest, and he disappeared shortly afterwards.
Noir has earned my respect as an antagonist after this episode.

So, as he breathes his last, Giulio bequeathes his wand to his sister, who infuses her signature characteristics --dreams and hope-- into the Dark Rod, and thus, renewed is the blade that was broken as the Candy Rod of Ciel's new powered self, Cure Parfait: her motif is a glass cup of parfait, her characteristics are dreams (yume) and hope (kibou), and her Finishing Move Kirakuru Rainbow could mean that the tendency for the whole Five-Girl Band doing the finishing move (which is at least better than the Idiot Hero performing the bulk of it) is a thing of last arc. At least it's the Ace who performs the bulk of the Finishing Move. Right what I expected, and seeing her in the new ending with Macaron and Chocolat also reinforces the whole concept of being more or less similar to them...

Macaron and Chocolat struggle to fight B-ill-bury. I love how the idea of them as a battle couple is being reinforced. A fortnight away from our OTP being put to the test by a marriage of convenience.

Anyway, I loved the Bilberry+Iru fusion and how both of them were done with. Next arc brings us this new cadre... this Dark-Skinned Blond hunk with a scar over his right eye that looks like he's made of badassium... his MO, as usual in this series, (new cadre, new MO) remains to be seen. There is also the conjecture that he will steal the identity of Yukari's fiancé to close in on her in episode 25... anyway, we have only got a fortnight to find out if it really happens...


A new Dark-Skinned Blond cadre shows up; he's a real badass!
Ciel, viz. Kirarin, blends in as new French girl at class...
If she'd attended high school, I would feel a little better,
yet this whole audience surrogate thing is a heavy fetter...

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