C³ – CubexCursedxCurious Episode 8: Very Tough Love and The Heart of the Matter
In C3 episode 8, "Like an Inescapable Curse," Fear, Konoha Muramasa, and Kirika Ueno devise a plan to deal with Sovereignty Perfection Doll and Shiraho Sakuramairi. None of them will tell Haruaki Yachi what the plan is, and when the operation starts, he's aghast. Can he trust this seemingly deadly plan as it unfolds? Or should he intervene? And just what did Shiraho's father tell the school's director?
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.
What's in This Post
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3 Favorite Moments
Fear in Cube, previously a prolific torture device, apologizes to Shiraho for being insensitive to her feelings. Now that's character development! Capture from the Funimation stream.
I live for interesting character development. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much! That why I chose this as my first favorite moment in this episode: Fear, she who just last episode learned what it means to help others, showed an awareness that her words might have hurt Shiraho. Fear had asked why both Shiraho and Sovereignty were so adverse to breaking the curse (4:02). Shiraho exploded, saying that if the curse were broken, she feared their love would disappear, too -- and she was willing to risk her own death to avoid that. Her reaction was so strong that Fear realized she'd spoken cruelly. And how did Fear react? Did she get self-defensive or make excuses? No. She apologized (4:50). Fear in Cube, previously a torture device, said she was sorry. Associating with Haruaki, Konoha, and Kirika helped her heal to the point where she's becoming sensitive to other's feelings. That's good stuff!
There's a level of pathos that only this series can evoke... Capture from the Funimation stream.
I bet we all thought something was up when Haruaki said the women wouldn't tell him the plan. Then Fear confirmed our suspicions: She said she'd told Sovereignty they would kill Shiraho to entice her to come to them. Konoha did her part by forcing Haruaki to hold her cursed-blade form to Shiraho's throat. Things got pretty tense at that point! As it played out, the plan was to draw Sovereignty out using a credible threat to her beloved, and it worked! Their goal was actually simple and effective: get the doll to extend all of the killing organs (blades), then use Konoha's disarmament special move (which we saw used against Peavy Barroy in episode 4) to, in essence, pull her fangs. The show already established that the doll couldn't extend the blades by act of will. The only thing that would work was the curse being triggered. That's why Haruaki and Shiraho couldn't know the plan! But as well-crafted as that was, that alone would not quality it as my second favorite moment. Instead, it was the raw emotion in Shiraho's reaction to Sovereignty apparently being tortured (10:10). Shiraho's screams bordered on primal (10:20). There were so intense that I started feeling anguished myself. I wanted to take some kind of physical reaction -- defend her, rescue the doll, something! The performance was a testament to the voice actor's skill -- but then, I guess I should have expected that kind of amazing performance from Chiwa Saito, who was also the voice actor for Hitagi Senjougahara from Bakemonogatari (among others)!
Fear's come a long way. She's asking questions she could not have imagined just a few weeks ago. Capture from the Funimation stream.
Remember Fear's apology back at 4:50? One of the things that helped her realize she didn't understand Shiraho's feelings was the discussion of love. Fear is coming to understand that she can't just wish the curse away. As Haruaki showed her in the previous episode, she has to help people. Beyond that, she's learning that love needs to play a role, and she's scared: she doesn't know if she has that in her! After the end credits, Fear pulls Sovereignty aside and asks if the doll could sense any love within her (22:37) -- since the doll's curse required her to measure the love in another. The doll's response was wonderfully ambiguous, which (by design!) served to strengthen Fear's resolve to develop whatever feelings she had.
As I rewatch this series, one thing that jumps out at me is how it uses stark, simplified imagery to drive home a point. We've seen it several times in previous episodes, like the flashback to Peavy Barroy's childhood in my Thoughts section of episode 5. This episode opened with such a scene, and it made clear the feelings Shiraho and Sovereignty had for each other. It also setup the scene where Fear realized she had no idea what love was, which built into my third final moment.
This series makes effective use of minimalistic imagery to present only the essential emotional "data." Capture from the Funimation stream.
One of Fear's cube configurations this week, the Daughter of the Duke of Exeter, has a basis in history. We're members of an effed up race, aren't we?
Am I the only one who suffered whiplash at the transition between the first and second halves of this episode? Going from Shiraho's gut-wrenching sobs to Kana Miyama's cute possessive attempt to convince Fear to join the sports festival was quite a jolt! But I'm kinda learning to expect that kind of transition from C³!
I've rewatched this series several times, and I'm beginning to understand what draws me to it. It has an unconventional approach to developing the tropes usually associated with its genre!
That's a dangerous thing to do, of course. Viewers expect certain tropes, and a writer toys with them at his or her peril. An inexperienced writer might discard the ancient civilization trope from a Space Opera, for example, only to find his viewers are disappointed and don't enjoy the work. On the other hand, a skilled writer might tweak the trope in some way so that the viewer sees something new and interesting introduced through an expected motif.
It's something special when a series can play with tropes in a unique and unexpected way. Say, am I the only one who thinks Kana looks a lot like Mako from Kill la Kill? Capture from the Funimation stream.
That transition between the show's first and second half I just mentioned? That's an example of what I'm talking about it. I really liked it, even through it was so abrupt. This show has established that it has roots in the supernatural horror genre and the slice of life high school drama genre, and so far, it's navigating both genres with an unobtrusive ease!
My favorite example of this his how the show could have used the post-end credits scene to degenerate into a standard harem. How many times have you seen such a conversation open the character's eyes to her love for the main character? But CubexCursedxCurious remains focused on the story it's telling: The story of Fear's journey away from the darkness of her curse. Sure, some of the harem tropes are present, but the worst of them remains blessedly absent. They're present enough to meet expectations, but tweaked enough to be fresh and interesting. I like that in a show!
What did you think of the resolution to Sovereignty's arc? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts of Interest
Other Anime Sites
This Site (Crow's World of Anime!)
- C³ – CubexCursedxCurious Episode 1: I don't know what moved into my futon
- C³ – CubexCursedxCurious Episode 2: Where, What Something
- C³ – CubexCursedxCurious Episode 3: The Antimony of their Temperatures
- C³ – CubexCursedxCurious Episode 4: At Night, a Mother and a Hugging Pillow
- C³ – CubexCursedxCurious Episode 5: Even if I'm Cursed
- C³ – CubexCursedxCurious Episode 6: Weak, Like a Spherical Glass
- C³ – CubexCursedxCurious Episode 7: Not Reflected in the Eyes of a Seer
- C³ – CubexCursedxCurious Episode 9: The Returnee Seems Somehow Strange