Hello! As I mentioned last week, I’ll be pretty much dumping the notes I took while watching Argento Soma, and I have no idea what I’m doing. Also, bear in mind that there will be spoilers. However, reading these will hopefully provide some fun! And motivate me to keep a schedule as I tend to have a problem finishing the season entirely, not watching the last 2-3 episodes after I get my fill. We’re fixing that as well.
I’ve met Argento Soma thanks to iniksbane. He was speaking so favorably of it, and I had already started on my mecha journey. To be honest, my first impression from the imagery and the tags was that Argento Soma was going to be a mecha series. Safe to say I was wrong, but I still got to see lots of cool robots and machinery designs so no complaints from me. Enough with the chitchat, here’s what I thought when watching the first three episodes!
Episode 1 – Rebirth and Death
- The dreamy opening sequence got me in its clutches right from the get-go. Blue is both a soothing and cold color and seeing Takuto lying in a room painted in shades of it set the mood immediately. I’ll gush about it more later too, but the sound design and the soundtrack of this series are nothing short of amazing.
- To me, the year 2000 feels like it was just a couple of years ago, but doing the math kind of hurts. Argento Soma came out 21 years ago, and the aspect ratio is different too but I feel reluctant to call it an “old anime”. I don’t know what qualifies as old anyways. Still, compared to contemporary series, these older series speak to me more when it comes to design. Maybe it’s the nostalgia speaking, but the interiors, everyday life objects, clothes; they all look super nice and well-thought-out to me. Loved the intricacy Takuto’s room had, and certainly enjoyed the interiors of the labs and the hospital.
- Homeboy has an interesting hairdo, and he emits the energy of an overly-eager first-year engineering student who just learned about the cardioid equation in polar coordinates and plotted it in Matlab to flex on their crush. He’s cute though, so no complaints.
- He had the nerve to say this after research-blocking their relationship.
- Don’t you just love biking with your girlfriend on a sunny afternoon while the military flaunts their new machinery built thanks to taxpayer money in the background? Jokes aside, the first episode makes sure you understand the influence military has with planes making a cameo in an otherwise normal, daily moment or soldiers casually walking in the background in the campus.
- I’m in LOVE with the alien’s design and how it was experimented on in the lab. Wanted to screenshot every panel starting from this one to the moment it went berserk.
- I think I’ve seen enough anime to know when some young girl or a woman starts singing a hymn-like song abruptly, they’ll be one of the key characters when it comes to communicating with the otherworldly. I was immediately reminded of RahXephon as well. Can’t say I’m a fan of this, and I let out a bigger sigh when I saw it was indeed a little girl hoping I won’t be seeing her much. But of course, it didn’t age well. I’ll talk more about Harriet.
- Before I wrap this episode up, flares!! The lighting and the flares from the headlights immediately captured my attention, they look so goodl!
Episode 2 – Death and the Maiden
- One of the most interesting things about science is how discoveries are named. The first episode has similar moments with Takuto naming his lab’s research outcome Soma or the talk he had with Maki on element naming. And this episode, it’s calling the alien Bigfoot because… well it’s certainly big and it’s somewhere between being fictitious and real.
- Another aspect of Argento Soma that made me happy was that so far, both the battlesuits and Maki’s lab wear aren’t significantly gendered and sexualized. If I had more than two thumbs, I’d have them all up.
- The great dilemma of “Does the Christianity imagery have a significant place in making sense of the aliens or is it just to look cool?” strikes again.
- I loved it when a different artistic choice was made for what happened to Harriet instead of going for the usual flashbacks. Provided an extremely similar parallel, but not quite.
- Did I say the soundtrack is dope? Because it is.
- So I’m guessing the yellow guy is using those lasers to see, but seeing them coming directly out without a hint of its source kind of looked funny. Still, when it was struck down by Bigfoot (I prefer this over Frank tbh) seeing it decay like an organic being was a good way of emphasizing that these are biomechanical beings.
- I was on my way to complain once again about how young girls abruptly singing probably worked better in the past but it doesn’t alienate me now. But the way the old song was connected to a happy memory of Tokuto with Maki only for him to wake up from the dream to the dark hospital room managed to land the uppercut.
Episode 3 – The Maiden and the Meeting
- Now that I’ve reached the 3rd episode, it’s safe to say that episode titles all connect with the previous title and the theme. So cool.
- This series is making me do basic arithmetic and I’m not sure if I appreciate it. We finally learn we are in 2059. If it was mentioned beforehand, then I probably missed it. We also learn that Harriet was heavily traumatized after the incident with the primary alien and she managed to go back to her daily life after living with her grandfather in a calm environment. Again, throughout the episodes, we understand that she isn’t in contact with the outer world and is pretty much living in her own world and believes in the fairies her grandfather’s talking about.
- So. I’ve mentioned before I’m not fond of kids, this is also the case with anime since their characterization is always a hit or miss for me. Since this is only the 3rd episode maybe it’s a bit early to make grand comments but so far, I found Harriet to be inconsistent. She is traumatized and seems to be wary of strangers, but then she’s taken to the headquarters and she’s suddenly happy with a burger at her hand. When the guns go, she’s suddenly screaming again and talking about running away. I prefer smoother transitions between the stark emotions and she kind of dampens my mood just by being there but other than that I love every bit of the series. And damn, she needs to lose that hat…
- I wanted to screenshot every second of that hospital scene. The line between real and surreal was blurred and both the colors and juxtaposition of different images enhanced the trippy feeling. Just pure perfection.
- Bear with me, but the red-haired guy munching on an apple reminded me of God and the State by Bakunin. He praises Satan as the “eternal rebel, the first freethinker, and the emancipator of worlds” for provocating Adam and Eve to take the first step. I was of course young and impressionable, but it was also the first time a well-known story on the original sin was reversed in a way that made more sense to me. And that praise stuck with me even after all those years. It’s highly possible that there isn’t any heavy metaphor behind the apple or his earrings with metal crosses, but after making the connection, the other apple he left for Takuto felt more meaningful.
- Our homeboy gets a new name, Ryu Soma, along with a different look after the incident. Too bad he had to go through dreading events, but I’m loving his glow-up.
Wow, looks like I had a lot to say. I’m seriously enjoying the series and glad that I gave it a chance. Any details that I haven’t talked about but captured your attention? Anything else you’d like to add? Let me know in the comments ~ Otherwise, enjoy some more screenshots and see you next week!
Argento Soma Watchalog:
- Episode 1, 2, 3
- Episode 4
- Episode 5
- Episode 6, 7
- Episode 8, 9, 10
- Episode 11, 12, 13
- Episode 14, 15, 16
- Episode 17, 18, 19
- Episode 20, 21, 22
- Episode 23, 24 & Finale
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