Re:Creators Ep 21: Challenging Fate and the Spirit of Recreation
In Re:Creators episode 21, “I love you too,” Altair comes face to face with the recreated figure of her creator, Setsuna Shimazaki, and the world hangs in the balance. Will Shimazaki try to argue Altair out of destroying the world — and risk triggering her rage? Or will she side with her creation? How will Souta Mizushino deal with the revelation about whose glasses Shimazaki is wearing — and why she was wearing them?
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.
What’s In This Post
3 Favorite Moments
- When Shimazaki began walking towards Altair (3:43), I had no idea how Altair would react. The panic in her voice was evident as she said, “Don’t call my name with that voice. Please!” Altair’s face, too, was in anguish. I was afraid on one hand that she would skewer her recreated creator. On the other, I worried that she might go berserk and incinerate everything! But Shimazaki continued her gently relentless approach and begins to apologize. To apologize! These first few moments set the mood for the entire episode — and the basis for a happy ending.
The sound of the train crossing and the engine’s approach (12:55) — and the recollection of what those sounds represent — struck me as hard as it struck Altair. Fate is fate. The world’s engine isn’t about to stop for someone like Mizushino, despite his need or the skills he’s developed — and even he was caught unawares. The moment’s feeling of inevitable tragedy, and its reference to the opening scenes of episode 1, felt frantic. It really gave the narrative a punch! The way Shimazaki serenely walked past Altair, and Altair’s panicked expression, helped the effect.
“These glasses aren’t mine,” Shimazaki says (18:17) when Altair hands them to her. They were Mizushino’s, and Shimazaki tells her creation that the glasses are “really, really important.” Why? Because they belong to Mizushino — and we learn that she had created Altair just show to him. Back then, he had been so wrapped up in his feelings of insecurity that he didn’t notice how she’d felt about him. In this moment, the series dramatically fulfilled the promises it made in the first episode. Mizushino had grown into someone who could not only stand beside her. He had recreated her, and she’s able to communicate her feelings to him.
Well, wasn’t this episode just packed with beautiful little moments? Not sure about you, but I thought that seeing Altair and Shimazaki together in the proto-universe, lying side by side in the waters of creation, was beautiful.
If must be Voice Actor Achievement week. First Made in Abyss episode 10, and now this! Though everyone contributed, I have to give special recognition to Aki Toyosaki’s work as Altair. From the strangled cry in the beginning to the emotional conversations later, her work helped keep my attention riveted.
Shimazaki’s honest apology and gentle acceptance was the only approach that would have worked. If she’d tried to argue with Altair, she would have jeopardized the authenticity of her creation, and Altair would have perceived her as a cheap trick designed only to stop the rampage. If she’d tried to sympathize with Altair and appear to be trying to gain her trust, I think the reaction would have been the same. The only way forward was sincerity. And to demonstrate just how far he’s come as a character, Mizushino recreated Shimazaki as close to her namesake as possible, including her unassuming honesty. Everything came down to that decision.
I’ve seen some discussion across various social media that since Altair was the villain, she should have faced consequences. Was it really fair for her to end up happy, and a goddess to boot? I think it’s an interesting and fair question. The show itself has talked about the differences between the role of hero and the role of villain, and it was ambiguous about the universality of the answer. I think that’s intentional, and I think the key is Shimazaki’s observation that maybe Altair was the villain, but maybe she was the “knight of the weak.”
What’s that have to do with the idea that Altair ending up happy is unjust?
If you had asked me 30 years ago if I was in favor of justice, I not only would have answered, “Of course!” I would also not have understood why you would even ask the question. Everyone’s in favor of justice, aren’t they? Isn’t that the foundation of society? Without just laws, wouldn’t society falls apart?
Then, I lived another 30 years. In that time, now-mandatory body cameras showed that some officers who are supposed to uphold these just laws planting evidence instead. Innocent people have been put to death in the name of justice, even though there were clear signs that they weren’t really guilty. It’s not that justice is the problem here. It’s that people have perverted the implementation of justice. They promote their own agendas or impose their wills on others who are weaker than they are — and to divert attention from their intentions, they cloak themselves in the name of justice. For me, justice has lost its sheen. More precisely: I no longer believe that humans can get it right often enough to matter. So, I’m no longer looking for solutions that simply just.
What am I looking for instead?
Shimazaki’s invocation of the ideal of the “knight of the weak” resonated with me. So many people in the audience were drawn to that aspect of Altair. That’s what made her so powerful. From the perspective of the people who were under threat (like Team Kikuchihara), Altair would appear to be a villain. But from the perspective of those who had been bullied, or whose work and/or persons had been cast aside? Altair was standing up for them. She was their knight. She was every bit a savior as much as Alicetelia February was to her people.
Was Altair misguided? Heavens, yes! Trying to destroy the world is as close to objectively evil and unjust as you can get! Was Altair trying to be evil? No. To the contrary, she was trying to enforce her own perception of justice on behalf of Shimazaki. She may have been extreme in terms of her remedy, but her intent was correct. So, instead of blindly seeking justice, knowing that perspective and intent plays such a huge part in interpreting and administering justice, I prefer something else.
I prefer mercy. I prefer to be relieved that Shimazaki was not only able to save the world, but Altair as well. The two will spend eternity making up stories for one another. We shouldn’t forget, either, that Shimazaki, in a way, saved Mizushino. Mercy yielded the creation of worlds, in this case. I argue that’s a good thing.
Of course, I could make the case that I’d like to see Selesia Upitiria and Alicetelia get a happy ending as well, but they can’t because Altair eliminated them. I have to admit, that within the logic system of a story, they all fulfilled their purposes. I guess I’m saying that my rules of justice and mercy were based on the perspective of being within the context of an anime called Re:Creators… So I can’t say for certain that applies to the real world.
Or can I? Where does Re:Creators start and our “world” begin?
What do you think? Am I off base? Is there an argument to be made that Altair deserved some kind of punishment? 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 19: “The story continues, as long as there is someone out there, who believes in my existence
- Re:Creators Episode 20: Somebody receives the power of creation, and the spirit is redeveloped from their passion
- Re:Creators Episode 22: Re:CREATORS