Sunday, July 22, 2007

Steampunk eye candy

A lot of the time it's hard (on the wallet) to go back and watch older series but I was fortunate on this occasion, so thanks for the recommendation, necromancer.

With ZetsuSensu making one the more prominent impressions as of late, Gankutsuou just continues the surrealist bent with its disconcerting mix of dadaism, expressionism, and most of all, steampunk. I wasn't really drawn into the world, but was quite content to stand on the outside looking in, thinking, Damn, this is a nice work of art, a sentiment I've seen expressed by no small number of commentators elsewhere.

The world of Gankutsuou isn't something that is possible to immerse yourself in, anyway. Those mechanical spheres and rings charting out orbits, an eye embedded in the ersatz sun, even the skull on the real moon. All reminded me of those absurd little shorts that I'd occasionally see on television as a child, commissioned and maybe produced by the National Film Board of Canada. Incidentally, take a guess as to where Boards of Canada, who take surrealism and put it on crack, got their name from.

Then there was that little inconsistency where, in a world that turns your hand into a mouse, Danglars had a typewriter for a keyboard. And apparently you have to destroy a painting in order to access a giant fighting robot, or maybe I just got the wrong impression there.

No, despite being pretty as sin, it's hard to get into a world that you can't take seriously at all.

I couldn't really take the ending seriously either, but the build up was intricate. Actually, the ending proper didn't make sense. A hug is all you need? Or does it have to be a hug from some incorruptible innocent. Or is a teenage boy okay too? None of these options are satisfying given that the enemy is some demonic power whose removal ought to be accomplished through means more in line with an exorcism.

And once again, a bad message is sent in the form of Fernand. When you decide to stop running from your past, you don't go kill yourself, you atone for your crimes. Wise words spoken by Tanabe in Planetes episode 24.

The characters are really just there as chess pieces. They all have the usual functions, they all get pushed around the board, and no one is actually interesting other than Bertuccio for his gangster appearance, the Count because he holds the initiative, and Eugenie for not being the typical sappy girl and being able to play a Rachmaninov piano concerto. Incidentally, it's the second piano concerto [YouTube], which Chiaki plays in Nodame Cantabile.

Unfortunately, to associate her with the OP does a disservice to her composition skills. Too bad that had to happen.

OP and ED: English lyrics, badly written English lyrics, ruined both. Sometimes it's just better to not know what's being said. The OP deserves an added kick in the pants for ripping off and butchering Chopin's Etude in E Major. Most beautiful melody made not so beautiful. For shame.