The Sunday God Shat on Humanity
Alternately, the Sunday Some Guy Kicked a Pre-Teen in the face. I’d take the trouble to give a screencap, but as this was a pre-air, the visual quality was slightly dubious (although much better than it could’ve been given how pre-airs usually look).
So, “Kaminai”, as this one is apparently shortened, is a story about a twelve year old girl named Ai who is a “gravekeeper” for a small village, having taken over at her mother’s death. Ai seems pretty good-natured and is proud of her duty, even though no one can be bothered to croak anymore. It is explained that God announced to the entire world at some point before the series started that heaven and hell were too full, so he was done with the world and no one was ever going to die again. Thankfully, someone shows up to make sure all those graves Ai’s been digging don’t go to waste and slaughters the entire town! Um, even though they can’t die, except, wait… uhhh…
Honestly, this is where things get rather garbled – God apparently gave the world gravekeepers who could put people who should be dead into deep sleeps so they could be buried, except Ai became a gravekeeper when her mom died about four or five years before the show started, and apparently only NOW do people not die. Or that, at least, is the way it came across to me, which may’ve simply been bad writing or a bad translation, and its only been that Ai lives in a town where people have really good luck and really great health. Or they did until some mysterious guy showed up and “killed” people in the old-fashioned sense, i.e. put them into states of being where they wouldn’t be alive if not for that pesky Nobody Can Die thing.
There are some intriguing ideas in the mix here, I’ll admit that, and although I dislike her visual design, I do like Ai thus far and I want to know what happens to her. At the same time, the execution is so-so, with a mood-killing “comedy” bit dead-center on the episode that made me roll my eyes so hard they almost fell right out of my head. And, well, I’ve seen some of this done much better already – Torchwood’s fourth season tackled the question of “What if no one ever died?” last year, and while it wasn’t up to snuff with prior seasons, it certainly examined that particular question in depth. So, yes, my attention is caught here, but I am skeptical about how much depth we will ultimately get.
By the way, during the episode, at one point I thought, “Hmm, that music sounds like Jigoku Shoujo.” and, well, wouldn’t you know? Hiromi Mizutani is responsible for the composition of the music, and she also worked on Jigoku Shoujo (although I think Yasuharu Takanashi provided the better pieces for Jigoku Shoujo, honestly). Soooo, cool, I guess, although this is probably only the feeling of me being slightly smug for being able to make that connection.
I suppose the upshot here is “Some of this stuff looks interesting, the execution is a bit off, but I really, really hope that they flesh this stuff out because I want this to be good.” And I don’t think it is impossible, even if I am seriously leery of light novel adaptations and doubt that it will turn out well. I just hope that it does.