In Planet With episode 11, "Azrabarakura," we join our heroes five year into the future. The dragon is about to awaken on the far side of our moon. Sensei, Generalissimo, and the other Nebula leaders have tried to come up with a plan to defeat it, with the responsible for the physical fighting falling on the previous members of Grand Paladin -- as well as Souya Kuroi and Kogane Shiraishi. Augmented with Earth's telepaths like Nozomi Takamagahara, they launch their attack as the dragon wakes up. Can they achieve something that the entire might of Nebula failed to do in the past? Just what is the dragon, anyway, and why are the People of Paradise so insistent on helping Souya?
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.
What's in This Post
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3 Favorite Moments
Nozomi can see the People of Paradise, too (5:26)? That's interesting. She and Souya had just been talking about their psychic training, with Souya saying he'd been certified as a level 3 telepath and Nozomi wondering how much help she'll be in the battle at level 8. The conversation noted that Nebula's best telepaths were level 20, so Nozomi's leveling up fast! But she can do something even the best Nebula telepaths can't: she can see the People of Paradise. In this scene, she makes a show of taking Souya's hand before talking to the form of his older brother (5:42), and that's the point where the People of Paradise speaks directly to her. But I'm sure she looked at him at the very beginning of the scene, before he'd even spoken to Souya. I wonder what impact that'll have in the last episode?
During their planning session, it became clear that Nebula wasn't strong in preparing for battles, so Souya and the previous members of Grand Paladin were taking on those tasks. There was a general consensus that Souya was the tip of the spear. So much so that one of the gathered Nebula asked him if, as a child of Sirius, he was fighting to take revenge on the dragon (11:50). The camera touched on several people like Kogane, Generalissimo, the previous members of Grand Paladin, Sensei, and finally Ginko before zooming on on Souya. Souya's answer was simple: "...I'm fighting to save the dragon from his loneliness and send him to be with his true comrades. I'm the only one who can forgive him" (12:09). Souya's come a long, long way from the furious young man we met in the first episode. He has come to terms with his past and wants to move on, and we got to watch his journey! Have I mentioned lately how much I enjoy character development?
As far as Souya has come, it seems there was one negative feeling that had clung to him until now -- he felt guilty that his previous world, Sirius, had attacked Ginko's Riel. On the night before battle, Souya's sitting on the roof looking at the stars. Ginko joins him, and after a little small talk, he comes out and says, "I'm sorry about Riel" (15:07). He tells her she can take revenge on him if she wants. But Ginko's the product of a far different culture. There's no way she would do something like that, and Souya, clearly struggling with the question, asks her why now -- after attacking her planet, why doesn't she hate his world? And moreover, why did she decide to save him? Saying Riel wants to walk the path of love and join Nebula, she said, "We'll save anyone and forgive anyone" (15:38). It seems hard for him to understand until Ginko tells him something that's been obvious to everyone but him: "You're the same, Souya... you're about to go off to forgive the dragon who destroyed your home... You're my little brother, and I'm very proud of you" That's the capstone for Souya's journey right there. Her words seemed to overwhelm help. Souya's shown that he's used to fighting; he can take a physical and emotional beating and bounce back. Back an attack of kindness like Ginko just showed? There's no defense against that!
I guess I should have seen it coming, but the dragon is the last physical remnant of one of the People of Paradise! And he's the younger brother of the People of Paradise representative that Souya (and Nozomi!) have been talking to? No wonder Souya perceived him as an older brother -- he really was!
Not only that, but the dragon was the one who scattered the vials to Earth so they could defend themselves against the Sealing Faction? He must really hate Nebula, and I can't say that I blame him.
The representative of the People of Paradise said (21:21), "Justice forgives no one, and without forgiveness, love is impossible. And without love, having a soul is impossible! I, Nebula, Sirius... We've come to forgive you!"
I like this progression. It fits in with some points I tried to make in my Thoughts for the Re:CREATORS episode 21 review and, on a more limited basis, in my Thoughts for my D.Gray-man (HALLOW) review of episode 11. In the former, I argued that give her circumstances, Altair's motives should best be judged through the lens not of justice, but of mercy. In the latter, I contrasted Allen Walker's insistence on showing mercy to the souls trapped within the Akuma with the "justice" (divine or otherwise) demanded by the church hierarchy.
I think Planet With is making the case for mercy (in the form of forgiveness) better than I ever did!
Yet, there's an aspect of this that makes me uneasy. Reddit user Zaugr, in the discussion for this episode (See Other Posts of Interest, below), brought up an interesting point: The dragon murdered billions of people on Sirius in the name of his justice. Would forgiveness let him off the hook?
Trying to jail Altair would mean the new worlds she wanted to create with Setsuna Shimazaki would never come into being. Trying to send the souls of those trapped in an Akuma to hell would deprive them of reunion with their Creator. The world (or worlds!) would be better in both cases if mercy would be the choice instead of justice.
Yet, the dragon still wants to destroy Nebula...
I think it comes down to this: There are times when simply being merciful and forgiving just isn't enough. In the case of the dragon, Souya and Kogane are going to have to bring the dragon to a state of understanding, likely the same way that Sensei and Souya brought understanding to Generalissimo and Kogane: through a beat-down. I'm not entirely satisfied with that answer. But Zaugr's right: We can't just tell the dragon, "You're forgiven!" and watch as he destroys Nebula. Our heroes will first have to adjust the dragon's understanding.
I think there are implications for the application of mercy at a more meta level, but I think I'll leave that for another day.
What did you think of the People of Paradise's motivations in this episode? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts of Interest
Other Anime Sites
- Reddit Discussion of Planet With Episode 11
- Lost in Anime: Planet With - 11
- Marth's Anime Blog: Planet With Episode 11: Space Battles!
This Site (Crow's World of Anime!)
- Planet With Episode 1 (Light, Seven Flashes) and Episode 2 (Nebula Soldiers)
- Planet With Episode 3: Avenger 1
- Planet With Episode 4: Avenger 2
- Planet With Episode 5: Paladin Break 1
- Planet With Episode 6: Paladin Break 2
- Planet With Episode 7: Sirius
- Planet With Episode 8: Power is What Dwells Within Your Own Self
- Planet With Episode 9: Messenger of Awakening
- Planet With Episode 10: Karellen and Rashaverak
- Planet With Episode 12: Behold, The Universe is Filled with Blessings