Pointless Debate #29: Moments of Transcendence

Eden of the East’s 2nd episode features this picture where the background symbolism and the topic discussed match perfectly

Recently there have been a few moments this season that have I have found a plenty of interest. These go far beyond thinking that I had watched something that was merely cool or amazing on the surface. Then again, I could also be reading far too much into this again, but there is a reason why this is Pointless Debate. The question is this: what makes a scene transcend the medium itself?

There were three episodes that came to mind and the moments range from nearly full episodes to a part of a scene in length. So I present what I found in each and why I thought they are special.

Hyouka Episode 13

Satoshi doesn’t know the face of the person he’s seen many times

There’s been a bit of analysis out there of Satoshi as the database character in this series. He knows a lot as the self-identified database character and his knowledge has helped in solving the mysteries the Classics Club has run into thus far. There was an important conversation in episode 10 where he and Hotarou talk about his own abilities. Satoshi knows he will never be the main character, and he’s jealous for it.

But what if he was the main character? Early in episode 13, he’s given a chance to shine in the quiz. It should be the one thing that he can do better than anyone else, but as he foreshadowed in episode 10, there is nothing that only he can do.

What I Found Interesting: Between the elimination rounds and the finals of the quiz, Satoshi was confronted by Tani of the Go Club. It took a few moments for Satoshi to recognize him, but it was clear they had this rivalry that was one-sided more than anything. At the end of the quiz, they both lost on a question about the Student Council president.

Why I think it’s important: I got the impression that Satoshi has run into this problem before where he has problems recognizing people he meets regularly. Even in episode 14, he seems confused by Hotarou calling for him. I was also surprised that the self-proclaimed database would not know about the president of the Student Council, of which he is a part. The first thought that came to mind was that he could be a character who suffers from prosopagnosia. It would be fascinating if that were the case, but that might be asking too much.

Satoshi wonders why I’m even pondering this about his character

Kokoro Connect Episode 2

Having already been consigned to an indefinite period of body swapping, Iori in Yoshifumi’s body and Taichi talk on a train platform before going home. Up until this point, there had not been much in the way of seriousness from Iori’s character. She had comically discovered that her class rep had feelings for her, but beyond that there was little. Until she provided a monologue which seemed to come out of nowhere.

Train platforms are the perfect place to discuss the nature of the human experience.

What I Found Interesting: The monologue itself initially seemed like it was just going to be a question about Taichi. Then she begins questioning the basis of identity. If there personalities keep getting switched, what meaning do their bodies have for identifying each other? In fact, she even goes as far as asking what it means for their own identities.

Why I Think It’s Important: First and foremost, I think it made up for the rather weak reasoning behind the premise of the series. They are being messed with just because a mysterious entity feels like it, and only until they get bored with it. Just from those few lines, a show that seemed to be about curious body switching had become an examination of identity. It allowed the scene between Yui and Taichi in the third episode to make some sense. Yui’s body involuntarily shaking when she was near a man implies that the body is part of an identity, even if the personality is different for instance.

The human experience is filled with pain and complete defeat, but there are lessons in that.

Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita Episode 3

The new character Y finds yaoi manga. Humanity was not prepared for its reintroduction.

Y holds the data that would lead to her destruction.

What I Found Interesting: There were actually two parts I found interesting. The first was after Y’s manga had started to spread far enough to inspire clones. The other was the issues Y had with supply chains.

Why I Think It’s Important: The important thing to remember in this story is that there is no money that is changing hands. Watashi tells Y that she as the originator of a culture, she is obligated to produce higher quality material than the copycats to keep the culture spreading. Then as she gets more and more successful, her manga begins to be a burden on society because if anything it actually detracts from what’s left of society. Women stop working because they are enthralled by the fantasies that Y brings to them. They take up too much room on supply trucks for goods that are essential.

However, I still think there are positives that come out of it. I think it showed that while the creation of culture would seem to not make sense in a world like Jintai‘s. Yet, I still felt that having the convention at the mansion and all of the women coming together to discuss their respective tastes was a good thing. It was a distraction from the day-to-day concerns of simply surviving the winter. Unfortunately, the fairies get involved quickly and after a disappointing 4th episode which serves as criticism of the manga industry, manga is deemed to dangerous for the Human Monument project.

This is good, right?

Those were the three moments that have come to mind this season. I think there is a high level of over-thinking in trying to call something transcendent beyond its medium, so feel free to chime in on that point. However, I don’t think the idea can be dismissed entirely out of hand. Surely there have to have been some scenes or episodes that have left some lasting impact on people somewhere, if that is how one defines the idea of a transcendent episode.

3 thoughts on “Pointless Debate #29: Moments of Transcendence”

  1. Nice point on Satoshi. I was wondering what to think of him not being able to recognize that guy. I personally thought that he had memorized so much information that his facts were starting to blur together, but I think your interpretation works a little better for his character.

    And hey, it’s so-called “over-analysis” and new opinions that make the blogosphere so interesting.

    Nice post. I quite enjoyed, despite having seen only two of these moments.

    1. Glad to see someone was enlightened by my views on Satoshi. Unfortunately, I think his character has been ruined by what has happened after the last couple of episodes. He’s just turned into a wannabe hero now.

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