In Caligula episode 6, “Looking forward doesn’t equal progress on its own. Understanding one’s situation is also an important step.” Kashiwaba Kotono escalates her battle against Mirei as the other Ostinato Musicians close in on our other heroes. μ asks the Musicians to go easy on their enemies, and can you guess how well they listen? Our heroes rise to the occasion as all of them except Ritsu Shikishima manifest their Catharsis Effects. In a fit of despair, μ loses control and begins to destroy the world. With the Musicians in retreat and his companions unable to act, is there anything Ritsu can do to save himself — or the world?
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.
What’s In This Post
3 Favorite Moments
As the Ostinato Musicians push their attacks on our mostly unawakened (only Satake Shogo has invoked his Catharsis Effect at this point in the episode), μ senses everyones pain and objects to Thorn (8:33). We’ve had suspicions before, but scenes like this make it more and more clear that the Musicians are manipulating μ. Put into context with the first scene in this episode, this moment foreshadows μ’s demeanor later — when she realizes just how little the Musicians or anyone else listens to her. That’s despite her protestations that she’s just trying to make everyone happy!
At first, I was afraid the light shining on Shikishima’s face as he pondered who or what he was would turn out to be a cliche shot of Understanding Dawning(tm). But no, it was something way more interesting than that. The heavens literally opened up and μ descended. And she was seriously angry (17:28). At first, she’s singing a cappella, and you gradually get the idea she’s mad. Then you see her face (17:37). She’s not just angry. She’s enraged. The Ostinato Musicians ignored her orders to “not be mean.” She had just witnessed what amounted to Aria’s betrayal, at least from her perspective. Aria’s attempts to communicate just push her closer and closer to losing control until all of the negative emotions just explode from her (18:26). She begins singing — more like raging with with perfect pitch — as her faltering control begins ripping the world apart. There are moments for me when a voice actor’s performance transcends the medium and becomes part of a season’s zeitgeist. The last time that happened was in Re:CREATORS episode 6, when Makagami Chikujouin laughed with this feral, primal lust (around 13:52 in that episode). In this episode, μ’s attempt to control her voice as she sings “I’ll grant your wish, so tell me…”, culminating in her screaming the word “Cry!” (18:25) rises to that level. Props to Reina Ueda. Honestly, when it comes to art, I live for moments like this. Though they did seem to cut it shorter than it needed to be…
Okay, just who the heck is Shikishima? Why did μ’s suffering so move him? How is he the only one who can manifest his initial Catharsis Effect on his own (19:59)? And why does μ weep as she calls him an idiot (20:43)? He’s been the most introspective character; he’s been the most intellectual. He wants to understand absolutely everything while everyone else just wants out of Mobius. Moments like this, where character, plot, art, music, and voice come together in a moment of narrative harmony, where I’m so drawn into the world that the these questions are the most important thing in a suspended moment of time — I’m repeating myself, but I watch anime, I read books, I listen to music precisely for those moments. That total suspension of disbelief, transported into a fictional world, caught up in its movements to the exclusion of everything else — that’s why we have art.
Kudos to the voice actors in this series. As they manifest their Catharsis Effects, the raw emotion in their screams gives me goosebumps.
I wonder what it means that μ wants everyone to be happy, but Aria grants people power based on the negative emotions they’ve been suppressing? I wonder what the look Kagi-P gives Shikishima means (18:52)?
This episode really hammered home something that’s been on and off a theme from the start: namely, that every one of the Ostinato Musicians and every one of our heroes are carrying painful psychological wounds. Most of the characters seem to respond to those wounds by wanting something from Mobius: Mirei wants to live a life of elegance; Ike-P wants to be attractive; Naruko Morita wants to be recognized; Tomoe Kotaro wants to help people. Others, like Minesawa Izuru and Kagura Suzuna, have simply realized that they want to face reality — whatever form it takes. That’s good stuff!
Now that I’ve given you a few paragraphs since my third favorite moment, do you mind if I address an objection you surely have at what appears to be my hyperbolic reaction to this episode? Maybe you think that I’ve lost my mind? That all this effort trying to stay positive about the series I’m reviewing has finally overthrown my reason?
I don’t think that’s the case, though I supposed I have to admit it’s likely I’d be the last one to know! But there’s something about this show that hits me just right. Is the animation better than anything I’ve ever seen before? It’s good, but it’s not Kyoto Animation good. Is the soundtrack the best I’ve ever heard? It’s solid (okay, it’s fantastic), but it’s not Re:CREATOR’s level of fantastic (link goes to Amazon — if you haven’t checked out this soundtrack, you really should!). I could go on down the list of all the elements that make a series work, but in the end, I think it comes down to this:
Caligula’s mix of rocking soundtrack, mysterious circumstances, powerful characters, alluring philosophy, and dynamic action hits a sweet spot for me. For example, most of the time I need to hear a song a few times before I can really get into it. The instant I head μ singing at 19:23 I was hooked. The animation of the nearly insane μ in background cemented the effect. That drove right into Shikishima somehow triggering his own Catharsis Effect, must to the astonishment of Shogo and Aria — and through them, I was astonished as well.
I haven’t even brought up how both the OP and ED have so captured my imagination!
Do you remember my reviews of The Ancient Magus’ Bride? I choose that series to review not only because it looked like it’s be a powerful show, but because I knew it’d stretch my emotional vocabulary. This show’s giving me a similar task: To find a way to articulate why I love this series so much, with all of its philosophical and musical underpinnings. That’s the method I’m trying to overlay onto my madness, and I hope you stick around for the trip!
What do you think about Caligula? What do you enjoy about it? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts of Interest
Other Anime Sites
- Reddit Discussion of Caligula Episode 6
- Marth’s Anime Blog: Caligula Episode 6: The team is assembled already?
- Anime Q and A: Caligula Episode 6 – Anime QandA Review
This Site (Crow’s World of Anime!)
- Caligula Episode 1
- Caligula Episode 2: Anxiety, Irritation, and Other Such Negative Emotions Spread to Others
- Caligula Episode 3: Why do we live? The further we pursue the meaning of life, the more confused we become
- Caligula Episode 4: People who do not respect themselves will not be respected by others
- Caligula Episode 5: Everyone gets hurt. But those who don’t realize they’re hurting can’t be healed
- Caligula Episode 7: When you’re in a desperate situation, it’s all the more important to keep smiling
- Caligula Episode 8: Your life shouldn’t be built from someone else’s blueprint. No matter how unskilled you may be, you should draw it yourself
- Caligula Episode 9: Even if something has already happened, you can still choose what you do
- Caligula Episode 10: Caligula
- Caligula Episode 11: People constantly seek out the right answer. Yet, is being right really all that matters?
- Caligula Episode 12: Destroy your ideals and self, and return to hell and reality