Greetings, friends! Hopefully, the new week has been treating you well. Tuesdays were my weekly review days, and I know I probably look like I’m slacking in on my schedule but I’m here to talk about why.
I blindly picked The Idaten Deities Know Only Peace to review this season and eagerly waited for the first episode to be released. It was to be either The Pirate Princess or Idaten, and after seeing the trailers for both, it was a win for the cutesy deities. Last Friday, we got not only one but two episodes. However, maybe some of you noticed that there aren’t any ‘episode 1 & 2 reviews’ in the title because I’m… seriously conflicted about Idaten. I decided not to review it weekly because while I -hesitantly- decided to continue watching as much as I can, I want to be able to drop it without feeling guilty or forcing myself to continue for my blog’s sake. Whew, okay. Let’s unpack this.
A quick summary of Idaten would be: It’s been 800 years since the powerful, immortal deities called Idaten had managed to seal away demons. The world is a tranquil place devoid of fights ever since, and all the current Idatens do now is to train and basically… vibe. However, no peace is eternal and someone is about to release a demon trapped in a glacier to wreak havoc. It’s time for our trio, Paula, Hayato, and Isli, to finally put their training into work.
What drew me in was the flat colors, dynamism, and high energy the trailer is brimming with. It was just so good and refreshing. Certain depictions in Idaten are what had me hesitate, and I’m going to get to that soon, but visuals-wise, I watched the two episodes staring at the screen in pure awe.
What hit me first is that the stark change in color palettes when the climate changes. I can hear you say well, that’s how it works???? but that palette change applies to characters as well. It’s all bright, warm, and saturated when the characters run around in the open fields. Then, they visit a place with glaciers and ice to gather intel, and it’s all desaturated blues with neon pink popping out. When a character takes a hit, we get inverted colors of the said palette. Overall, it feels like we are viewing everything through certain filters. Man, words are hard and I know I don’t do the show justice but I love colors and I’m weak to such artistic takes.
As for the content, Idaten has a lot of gratuitous violence for comedic purposes. And, well… these scenes are not funny. The trailer had a lot of these instances too. I reasoned that maybe these don’t constitute a significant portion of the series, and were picked to attract attention. Safe to say, I was wrong. The biggest problem for me wasn’t even the violence shown or the blood spurting out of the noses of these immortal deities. It’s the sound. During battle scenes, when a character hits the ground, we hear a loud thud at most. In Idaten, the cracking sound of bones constantly accompanies the hits or the falls and it takes the effect to a whole other level. It sounds painful. And all of this beating from the master is so that the deities can stand against the demons, given that they appear at some point in time.
This part will be spoiling the end of the first episode, but it’s not spoiling a plot point. Yes, I’m talking about the sexual assault scene and will divide it again into two; visual depiction and the context. The evil soldiers enter the church to find a weak, cowering nun, praying for the army to leave. I guess all of you have watched enough WW2 movies to know what follows. The depiction of the scene reminded me of Clockwork Orange for a split second. We know something violent is happening, but the classical music, the painted glass-like colors, and silhouettes moving exaggeratedly have the purpose of distracting us from what’s going on, but not quite. And to me, visually, this works.
This is just my opinion, of course, so don’t quote me on this, but I don’t think there’s one universal way of depicting rape that’ll have everyone under this pretty, blue sky feel queasy. I don’t mean to say there aren’t better or worse depictions. Or the creators shouldn’t be conscious of what or how they are putting their content out there. I’m just trying to point out that there will always be someone who finds this scene funny or erotic. And when I say the depiction worked for me, I mean that I was extremely uncomfortable watching it.
What didn’t work, however, was the context. Horrors of war being equated to the rape of innocent women, to me, diminish the weight of the sexual assault. Especially when the assault itself is not an important plot point, but just a passing moment. You could take this scene out, and Idaten would lose nothing.
I have to say, it’s a huge shame. The premise is very interesting; deities who have to protect the land but the world is so peaceful, all they can do is train. A jaded master who does what she has to like it’s a 9-5 desk job. It was also commendable that she wasn’t wearing hypersexualised clothes. The shonen usual: muscle-brain-intel combo. Amazing animation and high visual quality. Megumi Ogata gracing my ears with their mellow voice as Isli. I’m eager to enjoy this show, but how I wish some of the aspects I talked about were handled differently. I was still ready to let some of these slide, but reading some manga spoilers really got me: NOPE.
While I was writing this post, a thought hit me. I could do weekly gallery posts and gif my favorite scenes without actually reviewing the material. This way, we could all look at pretty stuff without having to go into details.
Have you seen the first 2 episodes? Tell me what you think about them, or what you thought about the points I brought up in the post. And even if you don’t feel like watching the series, I highly recommend at least taking a look at its marvelous OP. Thank you for stopping by and see you later!
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