25 Days of Anime - #24: Casshern Sins

The single most beautiful vision of a post-apocalyptic world I've ever seen, Casshern Sins breaks many a convention with such a currently-popular subgenre. It's a series that focuses primarily on lead protagonist Casshern and the friends and foes he makes during his journey to find Luna. Meanwhile, more and more of a surprisingly colorful world on the road to ruin is revealed with each new encounter Casshern makes.

What really made this show for me was the fact that there are so few humans left in the world, and with everyone else being a robot, they face an unavoidable doom from the disease-like Ruin. There's a sense of mortality associated with mechanical beings that shouldn't understand what it means to die. Yet they have adopted very human characteristics, or - at the very least - behave in ways they understand to be human.

Similarly, Casshern is constantly trying to understand what it is to feel emotion. He doesn't know what he is at the outset of his journey - but he quickly comes to discover that most other robots fear his power, and many believe that killing him with solve the problem of the Ruin. Casshern has no recollection of his supposed murder of Luna, yet everyone seems to know of it. Lady Leda has plans for a new robotic empire, but her figurehead Dio becomes increasingly defiant, wishing only to fight Casshern and prove once and for all which one of them is superior.

At the same time, Casshern experiences friendship from young Ringo, unwavering companionship from his robotic hound Friender, and a hatred that slowly turns into love via Lyuze. With all of these emotional concepts coming in at him at once, it would be no surprise for Casshern to lose his cool. Yet somehow he manages to better control himself as time goes on, only letting himself off the chain when he is terribly outnumbered by whole armies of robots. Casshern Sins presents a very curious vision of a decaying world, but also one of the most highly original. There's plenty of off-the-wall DBZ-style fighting action, but the real winning element is Casshern's (and everyone else's) understanding of the inner self.

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