Ima Sokoniiru Boku
(Now and Then, Here and There)
Episode 3: Yami no Naka no Utage
(Banquet in the Darkness)
Copyright: © 1999, AIC, Pioneer LDC Inc.
Length: 25 minutes
Rating: NR, Mature Audiences
Format: Original Japanese Dialogue (VHS, LD, DVD)
Ikiteitara, zettai iikoto aru!
(As long as you're alive, something good will always happen!)
A badly beaten Shuu is unable to stop his captors from trying to torture the location of Lala-ru's pendant from him. But, as he's already told them, he'd probably lost it in the fight with Nabuca.
However, Hamdo's orders are that the pendant's whereabouts are to be forced from the intruder, and so the torture continues. Abelia, determined to discover the whereabouts of Lala-ru's pendant orders Shuu to be trussed and hung outside in the sun. However, if he really doesn't know where the pendant is, will torturing him any further yield any results?
In the meantime, an enemy attack results in all forces being dispatched to do battle, including some of the youth troops. With the enemy fast approaching and determined to keep himself safe, Hamdo orders the use of the tower's main weapon. However, the question is how many of his own troops will be taken out along with the enemy? And does he care?
This third episode starts as the previous one had left off with the introduction of yet another character, Sala. Accidentally brought to the world because of her resemblance to Lala-ru, she's your typical victim and as a young teenager, it's very much a "life's not fair" view of things. Even so, we can't help but feel for her as we watch what fate has in store for her.
The story continues to develop solidly as we watch Shuu, Sala and the youth troops and the many encounters they face in this third episode. While this episode doesn't pull any punches, the violence isn't so much visually graphic as it is mentally, and it is made all the worse because it is aimed against youths. Continuing to depict the harsh realities of a world at war, for all that the characters want to know when they can go home, they cannot escape the reality of their situation.
With so much happening, every scene has meaning and importance in continuing the story line. Indeed there are times when we feel that there is almost too much being crammed into this one episode. From Sala's reaction to Shuu when he is first thrown into the cell to her reaction afterwards. Even the practise drills for the soldiers. All of this and more serves to illustrate the reality of the world that we've been introduced to. Likewise the story is brutal without being excessively graphic. Rather it is more psychologically harsh, and that more than anything makes this all the more difficult to watch. Since so much of the brutality is psychological rather than graphic, it tends to leave a much stronger impression.
In some ways, this series is beginning to feel a little like Grave of the Fireflies only in TV format. And while Grave is difficult to watch multiply because of a very strong and lasting impression, Ima Soko doesn't leave that same feel. Rather, we can watch it without experiencing that reticence which increases its replay value. In that sense the impact is slightly less harsh, but the message is much the same, and that is a look at the realities of war as experienced through the eyes of a youth.
The voice acting continues to be solid with all characters being solidly depicted. I'm truly enjoying the quality of the acting and story-telling to date. Likewise, the music continues to be excellent in this third episode. At times more atonal than anything else, the music works well at enhancing the tension of scenes.
While, a great deal happens, viewers are kept solidly fixed on the story without having too much information being thrown at them too quickly, nor by having too little happen neither. Indeed, while the pacing does on occasion seem a touch fast, never are we left hanging on trying to follow the story line. But that's not to say that you can just sit back and relax in this series. The story to date and especially the atmosphere of the series leaves a definite impression on viewers.
Very much an episode for character development and events, we watch the many characters adapt and change. And there is no question that they do grow and change from their experiences. The only constant character is Hamdo who is very much trapped in his borderline insane megalomania. Ending this episode much as we started, in Shuu and Sala's cell, the characters have changed a great deal within the course of the one episode, and we cannot help but feel for them.
- JYN, 2001.04.10
café rating (original japanese):
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