ARGENTO SOMA WATCHALOG — EPISODE 5

Hello, my friends from the internet. Last week has been a bit crazy with last-minute changing plans and fatigue hence the two day-delay of my watchalog. I, once again, write on a single episode because the things I wanted to talk about got long and it might get boring to read all three episodes in one go. Here’s a pretty gif for you so you’ll forgive me for being late.

Marvelous.

Episode 5 – Hatred and War

  • I’ll talk about Ines a bit more later on, but I’m glad we finally get to know a bit more about her attitude towards this project. 
  • Finally, some sensible words on angry soldiers dying first on the battlefield from Michael to Dan. And an exquisite example of men accusing women of being emotional, and then pulling sh!t like this and having women pick up after them. 
  • Below was a great shot, incorporating depth and giving us an idea of the alien’s size once again.
  • Another great shot with an intricately drawn background. My mouth watered a little. 
  • The music choice for the battle was interesting. It started with a classically composed tune and quickly changed into another tune that signaled danger. And then, it’s suddenly jazz? I was a little thrown off at first, but I enjoyed how the high-pitched impact sounds of metal smoothly found their places in the background music. I think I said it before, but I love the overall soundtrack and sound direction in the series so far. 
  • The crew knew about aliens and their classifications more than I initially thought they did. I also appreciated that Funeral is a more ‘research & analyze first, fight later’ minded group. Although things go awry on the battlefield, that’s their topmost priority. 
  • The ‘progressive alien’ idea was brilliant. Just like armed forces capturing aliens and using them as weaponry against aliens themselves, aliens can do that too. Take that, humans!
  • At this point, Takuto’s stance in the Funeral and his relationship with others is still vague. Only Dan seems to openly despise him but how do others see Takuto? As a tool, like Harriet? As a talented fighter but a stranger who joined late? Hope we’ll get more answers as we go. 
  • I’m sorry for my Harriet-lover friends but she continues to annoy me to no end and her trauma pops up whenever it’s convenient, otherwise, she’s a hot mess in terms of her characterization. This is one of the many instances, but how she’ll witness all those pieces of machinery flying around with gigantic weapons and won’t feel intimidated or interested? She’s giggly one moment talking about baggy clothes and reliving past trauma the next. I won’t get too negative about her but want to let you know that I feel like punching a pillow whenever I hear her say “Mr. Fairy”. 
  • On the other hand, I find Takuto’s characterization done competently. He isn’t the talented, loved, and popular hero. He’s aggravating at times or too logically calculating. But we also see him falter when the time comes to put the plans into action and he second-guesses himself. He also scored brownie points from me when he yelled at Harriet to shut up. 
  • Another vague point (as of now) is what makes Bigfoot fight the other aliens. Is it its sense to protect Harriet? Or a general sense of danger? We’ll see. 
  • Now, my favorite moment of the episode. After the fight with the progressive alien is over, Michael tells Ines that he doesn’t approve of the way she led the whole operation. In response, Ines says that “mettle and valor are words reserved for men” and for going to such lengths, she becomes the “heartless woman” instead of a “courageous, risk-taking leader”. Three Guineas from Virginia Woolf come to mind, where she is asked in a letter “How in your opinion are we to prevent war?”. She, among making many other great points, highlights the fact that even if both her and the man who sent the letter can be considered as “educated”, they are of different gender, hence it’s impossible to talk about a unified look at war when the war machine is inherently male. Here’s a great quote.

“Though we see the same world, we see it through different eyes. Any help we can give you must be different from that you can give yourselves, and perhaps the value of that help may lie in the fact of that difference. “

I can’t generalize when it comes to this genre in anime. But there’s a tendency in fiction, especially in science-fiction, to write women as these mystical creatures that are impossible to understand, that don’t make sense (in the logical sense), and they hold some strange powers that are akin to magic. It also shows itself in the singing girl trope I mentioned in my first post. This idea has deep roots in history, but the most well-known example that comes to mind is the Medieval witch hunts. In science-fiction too, women are either mystical, evil, or they are on the hero’s side, but they have to become one of the guys to earn themselves a place. I’m going to compare it to RahXephon again since it’s the most recent show I watched, but it doesn’t come as a surprise that both shows have one young girl abruptly singing and can communicate with the otherworldly (Harriet Bartholomew/Reika Mishima), and another who is silent most of the time and communicates in cryptic ways (Maki Agata/Quon Kisaragi). This notion of women being incomprehensible, of course, stems from androcentrism.

This framing was marvelous in terms of accentuating her loneliness and authority.

While the two women that are crucial for Takuto, Maki and Harriet, are insufferable to me and I can’t seem to become interested in them, there are several points that Argento Soma is doing good. One of them is, although may seem like a passing remark, the words of Ines I mentioned above. And the other point is that Funeral’s female members altogether are individuals, they have different values they stand for, and they aren’t necessarily male-ified. We are made aware of these characteristics early on in the show, and the way we meet them is through these characteristics and not through their femininity/outer appearance. Seems simple at first glance, however, lots of otherwise great series fail when it comes to these points. I am not anti-fanservice, I’m just tired of the female cast being downgraded to it or introduced through their appearance instead of their positions, or important emotional scenes being taken away from them with fanservice-y shots. First impressions are important, even when it involves fictional characters.

This is all I have to say about this episode! You can enjoy the rest of my screenshots and meet me in the comments if there’s anything additional you’d like to contribute. If not, thanks for checking out my post, and see you tomorrow!

“What kind of stupid move they’re gonna pull now…”

Argento Soma Watchalog:

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2 Replies to “ARGENTO SOMA WATCHALOG — EPISODE 5”

  1. Ines is definitely one of my favs – so is Takuto, but for different reasons perhaps.

    He’s got a fantastic arc – he’s such train-wreck but I can’t look away. (I was talking about ‘Argento Soma’ just a little while ago, maybe on twitter, and was told something amusing about Takuto, which is that has no idea that he isn’t the hero of the story 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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