Caligula Episode 5: Always Read the Fine Print and At Least It Didn’t End with the Swimsuit Competition

Quick Summary

In Caligula episode 5, “Everyone gets hurt. But those who don’t realize they’re hurting can’t be healed,” Ritsu Shikishima drags Tomoe Kotaro and Marie Mizuguchi to the grand opening of a new sea-themed park. Once there, Aria notices that Kashiwaba Kotono, a young woman popular with the male students, seems to be able to see her. But only some of the time. What does that mean? Why has Mirei, one of the Ostinato Musicians, gathered everyone at this park? And what does Kotaro see in the dark room with sexy music when he peeks through his fingers? Hint: It’s not what you’d expect!

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

What’s In This Post

Quick Episode Summary
3 Favorite Moments
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For as smart as he is, Shikishima makes some silly mistakes. Like not reading the fine print on the ticket. Kotaro and Aria were certainly surprised! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  1. To be up front and honest, I’m not entirely sure this will rate as one of my favorite episodes. I struggled with this one. For example, did Shikishima really convince Kotaro and Mizuguchi to go to a park — without having read the not so fine print? When Minesawa Izuru was talking to Kagura Suzuna (in what has to be one of the most awkward conversations in history!), he noticed the blurb saying “Confess and be Lovey-Dovey Together!” right away (5:14)! Aria and Kotaro seemed pretty surprised (5:32). That might be understandable if Shikishima didn’t show them the tickets. But you’d think he would at least have glanced at the ticket! Or had he really read it — and he secretly wanted some friends as wingmen? Could Caligula really be that subtle?
Some psychological wounds are too deep to heal completely — as Shikishima’s reaction demonstrated. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  • Shikishima is turning out to be an interesting character. At Aria’s prompting, he approaches Kotono to try to convince her to join their group. Though she had seen Aria before, the brainwashing is apparently on top for the moment, and she thinks Shikishima is just trying to hit on her (9:36). She brushes him off. He starts to panic; it’s clear he’s awkward around others, as we’ve seen before. The situation degrades rapidly as Kotono’s other suitors notice and take offense. Shikishima tries to recover, but he gets so flustered that Kotono finally says his pickup line reminds her of something a middle-schooler would say (10:15). It’s like she stabbed him in the heart. He completely lost his composure. He wasn’t angry or enraged; he was emotionally devastated. The narrative didn’t have to say it, but it’s obvious he’s been through some traumatic experience revolving around romantic relationships. Do you feel like you’re starting to get a handle on how the Ostinato Musicians are keeping people in line? Scenes like this are making it more clear, I think.
  • Kotono doesn’t even seem to realize the impact that Shikishima’s had on her — until the meltdown. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  • Okay, when Mirei had her lackey announce the “Which is the Good, Sexy Woman” contest, my reaction far exceeded that of Aria and Kotaro’s incredulity (15:21). Mine took the form of “Are you effing kidding me?” As the scene started to unfold, it began to feed into my loathing of the cliche. Then, we started to get hints that the scene was actually setting something up with Kotono — something more than an inane excuse to show women in swimwear. At one point, Kotono wondered why she even had to play along with this contest (16:31), a reaction with mirrored mine — and Shikishima, Aria, and Kotaro’s, too. But it set the stage for Shikishima to ask Kotono (18:00), “How long are you planning to play along with this yourself?” That was her psychological tipping point. She completely melted down, and Mobius’ hold on her slipped. Looks like Kotono’s the latest addition to our team of heroes, and it seems that she is bearing the burden of psychological damage just like the rest of them. I wonder where the show’s going to take such an interesting and tragic set of circumstances?
  • Thoughts

    Okay, just to be sure I understand the setup for this episode: Our heroes realize they’re in a virtual world. They’re surrounded by enemies who could attack at any second. They don’t have a coherent plan yet, but their numbers are growing. They’ve established a base of operations. So, what do they decide to do?

    They go to an amusement park.

    They go to an amusement park?

    Kids these days…

    Throughout the episode, we see Satake Shogo running after someone. We briefly see him talking to someone who’s standing on the edge of a roof. At the end, we see him collapsed in despair. Who was he trying to save?

    It looked like Shogo was trying to save someone’s life in this episode. Who’s? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

    How is Shinohara Mifue’s mom in Mobius?

    And where did Mizuguchi go after she fled the brainwashing room? She wasn’t with our heroes at the annoying — I mean the “Which is the Good, Sexy Woman” — competition.

    Even mentioning that competition reminds me how I struggled with this episode. The first time I watched it, I wondered if this show was starting to veer into Taboo Tattoo territory — get me hooked with some intriguing ideas, then descend into the depths of blithering-ness. That would have been a real bummer.

    I always watch an episode twice to write my reviews. The first time through is for me to see it as an unencumbered viewer — no thought of reviewing it, no pausing to take notes. Just watch it. The second pass is to decide what my favorite moments were and to get an idea of what I want to put into this section.

    At this point, I was pretty disappointed — until it became clear what was really going on in this scene. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

    By the time I’d finished watching it once, I almost hated this episode! Not only for that competition, but for not showing us more of the world. For not moving the characters forward. And for not showing us what was going on with Shogo!

    The second time through, though, I began to pick up on some subtleties that I missed the first time. My second favorite moment, for example, showed us a lot more about our main character than it appeared to the first time I saw it. We now know that like our other heroes, Shikishima has endured some kind of psychological trauma. In another scene, we learned that re-applying their brainwashing techniques seems to help keep the Ostinato Musicians in power (which is what Kotaro saw when he peeked). I also began to see what was going on with Shogo as a dramatic choice that’ll likely be clarified in the next episode.

    This wasn’t my favorite episode, but it’s not as bad as I’d first thought.

    What do you think? Could you get past the competition? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!

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