In Re:Creators episode 19, “The story continues, as long as there is someone out there, who believes in my existence,” Charon’s arrival severely tests Selesia Upitiria’s loyalties, much to Rui Kanoya’s fury and dismay. True to her hero’s nature, Alicetelia February refuses to back down and makes a final, desparate charge against Altair. Later, forced into a corner, having to question everything that she stands for, Selesia makes a fateful decision.
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious!
What’s In This Post
Watching the Episode
Right out of the gate, this episode drives home how conflicted Selesia is (0:29). She seemed to have been Charon’s apprentice, but now she’s on the side opposed to Altair. She finds it almost impossible to confront Charon. She even interferes with Kanoya’s attack on Charon, much to Kanoya’s annoyance. I get where she’s coming from; but can’t she see how this plays into Altair’s hands? Or do you think I’m being too harsh on her?
Am I wrong for wanting to slap Altair when she cackled and destroyed Selesia’s prison (2:35)? I mean, seriously, her immunity to almost all forms of attacks is trying my patience. Interestingly, I’m not blaming the writers — her over powered-ness seems to be intentional. Instead, my annoyance is focused almost entirely on Altair, the Creation.
For a second, did you almost feel like Altair was talking to us when she said, “You, the audience, are also inside of a performance” (3:26). Seriously, there are times when I think the worlds of the Created are fiction, and what’s going on in the main story is part of our “real” world. I love how this show plays with my perceptions!
Proving once again that she’s a mistress of psychological combat, Altair taunts Alicetelia in a way guaranteed to inflame the knight (3:44 and again at 7:19; see below for 7:19). She keeps Alicetelia engaged and unable to help Kanoya. Good tactics!
I didn’t know Yuuya Mirokuji had such a nuanced understanding of theology (4:46). In one sentence, he debunked Shou Hakua’s assertion of pre-destination and substituted free-will* by saying that the Created don’t act as puppets; they make their own choices, even within a story. Further, he says, “A Creator is nothing more than fate with a personality stuck onto it” (4:51). Can’t say that I have a problem with that! Even Blitz Talker was impressed (4:59)!
Why does Altair think the world owed her creator anything (7:03)? I haven’t said much about this out of respect for Setsuna Shimazaki,** but it’s not like she’s the only one who’s faced rejection or been treated unfairly. Sure, Souta Mizushino deserves scorn for not going to her aid, but if you’re a writer, you know full well that rejection and strife just goes with the territory. What’s different about Shimazaki that Altair is so full of rage and despair? I hope the show reveals that before the end.
I have a feeling Alicetelia’s fate was sealed when Altair begin talking about Mamika Kirameki (7:19). In order to inflame Alicetelia and keep her attention, Altair confessed to killing Kirameki — in very graphic terms.
Take a moment to remember how central Selesia’s been to the Creator’s plans. Remember how she’s always been on the front lines, trying to move the plan forward. And now, think of the turmoil that pushed her to interfere with Kanoya’s shot — and to be indirectly responsible for Giga Machina losing an arm (8:31). That’s drama, that is!
At least Selesia defended Kanoya after he had fallen (8:43). Do you think this was the moment that clarified her loyalty and duty? This was the first time we saw her directly oppose Charon, after all.
This is an episode that’s full of theological references. Selesia throws her interpretation into the ring when she says that despite everything happening in her world that her Creator had made, that same Creator made it possible for her to meet Charon and “see the grand finale someday, after fighting together to the very end.” (9:05). Again, she forcibly rejects the idea of predestination and embraces free will, just like Mirokuji.
Takashi Matsubara realized too late the consequences of making Charon tired of fighting (9:52). It changed Charon’s character so that he despaired, and that’s why he listened to Altair. The music in the background (“rE:CRe@T0RS” from the OST, I think? Seriously, if you haven’t bought this soundtrack yet, you should!) was a perfect exclamation point to Matsubara’s emotions.
Alicetelia’s charge (10:36) was like something out of Lord of the Rings (the book). It reminded me strongly of Théoden and his speech before leading the charge in the battle of the Fields of the Pelennor. I’ve always been attracted to scenes like this, where the hero lays all their cards on the table and throws themselves into battle. Unfortunately for her, the charge ended pretty much the same way as it did for Théoden, minus the slaying of the Chieftain of the Haradrim. For just an instant, it appeared she’d won; then Altair invoked the Fourteenth Movement of the Holopsicon (11:21), which reversed cause and effect.
I’ll be honest. It wasn’t easy watching Alicetelia fall from the sky (12:18). I’d almost not realized it, but I’d grown to like her a lot after Kirameki’s death.
When Charon tried to take advantage of our heroes’ shock at seeing Alicetelia’s death, did Hikawa Hikaru just stand aside and let it happen? Nope! She leapt up and kicked Charon’s mech out of the air (13:21). Think of that for a second. Little Hikaru leapt into the air, and with a single kick, knocked a huge mech from the sky. She’s progressed from blubbering mess to probably the strongest fighter they have in a few short episodes! How cool is that? And she looked pretty determined, too!
Not only that, she opened her heart — in the middle of a battlefield — and talked sense into Selesia (13:37). Ordinarily, I’d chide a show for stopping a battle for a monologue, but we’d just seen that Charon’s cockpit was resetting, so we knew he was out of action for a few moments. So, I say, “I’ll allow it!”
The award for Shocking Revelation of the Episode goes to Nishio Oonishi for writing something that was actual touching (14:06): chapter five of Hikaru’s story where her dear friend dies. I absolutely did not see something like that coming. I figured his stories wouldn’t have such depth, because of their primary content (eroge). I guess that says something about my preconceptions, doesn’t it? BTW: The music was perfect in this scene (I think it was “Pf:Creators V” from from the OST — seriously, it’s a good soundtrack!).
Cosmic Hell Fist (15:56)? That’s awesome. Pretty effective, too — well, against anyone except Altair. Who then has the audacity to observe that Hikaru’s powers are unbalanced and so aren’t good for building stories (16:11). That’s pretty much text-book hypocrisy! As if Altair isn’t an even better example of a character with unbalanced power…
Wow — the look on Selesia’s face said volumes (18:02). That’s the look of someone who’s made a terrible but necessary decision. I am not liking where this seems to be headed…
Remember back in the first episode (9:34 in that episode), when Mizushino read Charon’s lines, “If you’re not sure, then follow me. And then you be the one who protects my back.” Mizushino had read those lines to prove she was from an anime. Selesia was embarrassed by those lines, because they were so personal to her. And now, in this episode, as she’s fighting her old mentor, Charon and Selesia recall the same lines (19:11). Eighteen episode of narrative build-up are about to pay off.
Battlefield decisions by noble characters can hurt like hell (20:06). Selesia’s right, of course. Neither she nor a damaged Giga Machina can prevail against Charon. There’s no other way forward. But, dang, did it have to be Selesia? Did she really have to sacrifice herself?
The same thought and feeling seemed to go through Meteora’s mind (21:13). The two of them have been together since the first episode. What’s she going to do without Selesia?
“Matsubara, please, give my world stories and coffee” (21:42) she said asVogelchevalier was about to go super critical and explode.
Damn. Just damn.
I’m not going to say anything else about this scene.
Except: We didn’t see Selesia pixelate and disappear. So maybe…?
* For those of you following along at home, I’m an Aristotelian Thomist (if I have to make such a disclosure at all!), so naturally I take a dim view of predestination. I think it’s an affront to human dignity and freedom.
** What’s it say about Rei Hiroe’s skill that I’ve extended respect to one of his characters? Again, this is one of the things I love about this show.
Reflecting on the Episode
Okay, the foreshadowing and other techniques to setup Alicetelia’s death were hard enough to take — expertly setup, crisply executed, and brutally effective.
But then, tying Selesia’s death to some of the very first things we learned about her? Putting her through an emotional hell before she as a hero had to make a wrenching decision that resulted in her death and the death of someone she loved?
Damn that hurt. And that shows me just how effectively this show’s been executed. Man, I’ve love to be able to create characters and plot like this…
“Only a barbarian would make so much noise and disturb my melody,” Altair said (15:03).
I can’t tell you how much I wanted Hikaru to answer with something smart-assed like “And thus Rome fell…” If no one can best Altair with power, then maybe they can out sass her.
I’ve been worried for awhile now that Altair might have a plan to play on the viewers (2:48). As early as episode 12, I was concerned that Altair might become aware of their plans and subvert them. It looks like that’s exactly what she’s doing. Now, my best hope is that the Creators have anticipated this and have a plan to twist it. Maybe taking advantage of how stupidly powerful Altair is? After all, Altair herself complained about Hikaru’s “unbalanced power.” Was that foreshadowing? Can they play on the audience’s rejection of an over powered character?
I’m impressed with the clarity and simplicity with which this series has presented some complicated and thorny theological questions like predestination versus free will. I’ve read tons and tons and tons of arguments about this, mostly back in my college days. And no, I didn’t sit next to a Velociraptor! Jeesh, how old do you think I am? The Velociraptors died out at least 15 years before I started college…
Instead of intricate arguments about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, Re:CREATORS just lays out practical examples of how these concepts affect characters and their worlds. I don’t think that it’s coincidence that the Created who are our heroes all embrace free will and reject predestination. That’s the only path if you want to have dynamic characters whose choices matter. After all, if everything’s predestined, choices matter precisely zero.
That’s kinda the antithesis of drama!
And yes, I’m using dry theology to try to distance myself from the emotional pain from the deaths this episode, especially of Selesia’s. Alicetelia’s fall stung, but Selesia’s felt a lot more immediate. I’m glad a series can still affect me this way. It means I’m not quite the hollow emotional husk I feel like sometimes! And it means that the show’s doing a great job executing character, plot, and themes.
What do you think about Alicetelia and Selesia making their exits? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts of Interest
- Titans, Heroes, Queens, and Swords: Spring 2017 Anime Preview Part I
- Re:Creators Episode 1: I will remember everything that happened to me
- Re:Creators Episode 2: ……. that wasn’t funny
- Re:Creators Episode 3: Don’t worry about what others said. Just be yourself
- Re:Creators Episode 4: If so, I want to protect what he loved
- Re:Creators Episode 5: So, why don’t we have ourselves a guys’ night out?
- Re:Creators Episode 6: You are the one who knows where justice lies
- Re:Creators Episode 7: I don’t want to make a mistake for the sake of the people who are in my story
- Re:Creators Episode 8: I CHOSE this way of life
- Re:Creators Episode 9: The world requires choice and resolution
- Re:Creators Episode 10: We know exactly how you think and how you’re fighting
- Re:Creators Episode 11: We cannot decide where we go but you can
- Re:Creators Episode 12: Be desperate and draw something fascinating
- Re:Creators Episode 13: An unpredictable story that no one knows where it’s leading to
- Re:Creators Episode 14: I feel painful and so useless that I want to cry but it’s fun nevertheless
- Re:Creators Episode 15: This is perfect! She couldn’t have been any more perfect!
- Re:Creators Bonus episode ENTER THE WORLD OF Re:CREATORS
- Re:Creators Episode 16: This is the actual beginning, isn’t it?
- Re:Creators Bonus episode: Summer Special Spending Time with the Girl Creations
- Re:Creators Episode 17: I mean I’m the CREATOR
- Re:Creators Episode 18: As long as we’re alive, we have to enjoy our lives to the fullest
- Re:Creators Episode 20: Somebody receives the power of creation, and the spirit is redeveloped from their passion
- Re:Creators Episode 21: I love you, too
- Re:Creators Episode 22: Re:CREATORS