Like any other anime season, Winter 14 has had its fair share of “unexpected twists”. The first twist that I’d like to talk about happened at the end of The Pilot’s Love Song Episode 4.
Those of you who watched that far will know exactly what I am talking about and for those of you that haven’t, I just hope I didn’t spoil anything.
(Protip: Only read this post if you have seen up to and including episode 5.)
I am of course referring to the revelation that Nino Viento (Karl’s sworn enemy) is actually Claire Cruz (the female protagonist and Kal-el’s love interest).
I probably should have seen this twist coming (the ending song actually alludes to it), but maybe because I marathoned the show (or I just suck at twist predicting), I didn’t.
THE GOOD STUFF
Bucking my usual, “save the best stuff for last” policy, I want to quickly run over the good things first. Well, I say things, but really, I just mean one thing.
Humans like seeing fictional characters suffer emotional pain. Well, I do anyway.
We have already seen a bit of suffering and anguish over this “Nino Viento” truth, and we can expect a heck of a lot more going forward. Both Claire and Kal-el are going to suffer and I can’t quite figure out who will suffer more.
On Claire’s End
In fiction, it is not too uncommon to find relationships where one member has hurt the other.
Back stories sometimes involve things like accidentally shoving someone onto a busy road, or failing to protect them from a falling tree branch or saying something mean in the heat of the moment. In many monster related fantasies, you often find characters who are full of guilt because they couldn’t control their “impressive” power/inner demon thing and ended up hurting someone they loved.
Regardless of whether it was a complete accident, a failure to do something or a rash emotional decision, most of the time these incidents are not intentional. Claire’s case is a bit different in that respect.
Claire didn’t do something like accidentally crashing her plane into Karl’s house and killing his parents because of a mechanical fault. Oh no, she rode atop a battleship and reigned destruction down upon the unwary citizens.
Yeah, technically, she was just a doll putting on a show (the rebellion was going to happen without her anyway), but still! She was at least somewhat aware of what she was doing and it was by no means an accident.
So, what does all this mean? It means that poor Claire is going to be dealing with a heck of a lot of guilt. Guilt as an emotion is notoriously difficult to eliminate, but at least if its guilt over an accident, then it is a bit easier to mitigate.
There is a great moment in episode 5 when Claire looks at Kal-el and sees the young Karl in his place. She immediately runs away, not because she is scared of being killed (I think a part of her would prefer that to be honest), but because she feels really, really guilty.
I am looking forward to seeing
her suffer how she will redeem herself and get over her past “sin” if it is even possible.
On Kal-el’s end
While Claire will somehow have to find a way to forgive or accept herself, Kal-el will have to find a way to accept her.
There could be some guilt involved. For example, he might feel bad for liking her when she killed his parents, or he might feel bad for hating her when she likes him.
But more than the guilt, it will be a battle between his love and for Claire and his hate for Nino. I can’t picture this. I actually can’t. If I had someone I loved very much, but was one day told that that said someone were responsible for killing my family, well, I don’t know what I’d do.
Regardless of how the drama plays out, we can probably assume that it will end up with a happy resolution. My inner romantic pictures something like this:
EXT. MYSTERIOUS FOREST- EVENING
Claire and Kal-el had to crash land in a forest somewhere. As they were coming down, Claire confessed the truth about her identity to Kal-el. The two are currently standing near a campfire awaiting rescue.
Kal-el-kun. I am sorr…
Claire, just leave me alone for a bit.
Claire walks away sobbing and quietly tries to sleep against a tree.
Claire, while trying to collect branches for the fire accidentally bumps into Kal-el. Both of them have bloodshot eyes and weary expressions.
Ah, sorry Kal-el-kun. I will go away now.
As Claire tries to walk away, Kal-el reaches out and gently grabs her hand.
Claire…you know… I hate Nino Viento.
But you know, as much as I hate Nino Viento, I love Claire Cruz a lot more.
Both of them start sobbing and hug. They then kiss and do kinky things on the forest floor. They are then rescued by Muscle Sensei.
Okay, I am terrible at fan-fiction, but you get the idea.
Even if the show decided to go for a more tragic route, there are lots of fun possibilities. Claire could somehow regain her powers only to use them and her life defending Kal-el. This would leave Kal-el feeling terrible (especially if he never made up with her) and us viewers would relish in his suffering.
Or, Kal-el could learn to forgive her only to die shortly before telling her. If he died saving her then poor Claire would suffer even more guilt and that would be a very delicious dose of suffering.
THE BAD STUFF
I really only had two problems with this twist. I think a lot of the viewers of this anime would actually classify both of my problems as good things.
The twist killed my hopes for a nice sweet love
So, you can imagine my initial joy watching this show. Pretty much right from the moment they met, Claire and Kal-el started liking one another. There was no yelling, no gross misunderstanding and no tsundere antics.
In the first couple of episodes, they rode a bike together, held one another and come close to kissing several times as well. Even the ending song depicted the two together and featured a nice embrace.
It was all so very nice until the anime decided that giving me a cavity was a bad idea and it chose to stab me in the heart instead.
Good job Pilot’s Love Song.
It made me like Claire less (kind of).
I suppose Claire wasn’t really that interesting at first. She was a cute, shy, timid girl of noble origin, and aside from that, she didn’t have much else. But, she wasn’t an idiot and that alone was enough for me to like her (surprisingly hard to find female protagonists who aren’t dolts).
I will admit that throwing in the Nino thing greatly fleshed out her background and set the stage for future character development. Without it, Claire’s only real problem would be rising above her status to go out with a lower class individual and we all know she cares naught for things like that.
As grateful as I am for the potential development, I can’t see her the same way anymore. Every now and then, when Claire is doing something like hanging out with the others or having a moment with Kal-el, my mind flashes back to the scene of her standing atop the ship and reigning destruction down upon the capital.
I guess you could say it is hard for me to think of her as being sweet and nice when she was once shown to be that indifferent and cruel.
That is probably an achievement on the show’s part. It made me feel a bit of what Kal-el will no doubt feel when he learns the truth and that is quite an accomplishment. Unfortunately, I am too shallow and much too subservient to my emotions to classify that as a good thing.
Okay, this was a bit of a strange, useless post.
Do note that a lot of Claire’s guilt and Karl’s hate would go away if the former Queen is shown to be alive. She wasn’t explicitly shown dead, so I think assuming she is still alive is probably a reasonable assumption to make (she is probably with the Spring Defending Tribe).