Kurau Phantom Memory Anime, Volume 6 (English)

September 11th, 2008

Hey, look at that! The Large Hadron Collider started spinning particles around and, inexplicably, mini black holes did not suddenly split time and space open and destroy the world. I’m sure you’re as shocked as I am that the world refused to be destroyed yet *again*. It’s so irritating of the world, isn’t it? We get all our cans of food and ammunition and whatever else we think we need to survive the end of the world and, dammit, the world is still here. Gets on my nerves, and now what am I gonna do with all that bottled water and batteries?

In honor of the world not being destroyed once more, today’s review is of Kurau Phantom Memory 6, the final volume. Watching this volume of anime was a bit like waiting for the world to end….

Not really of course. It was more like waiting for the dentist to start drilling. Only this time, I guess I had a good dose of NovacaineTM in the form of the director’s liner notes for the series. Apparently I had it all wrong.

*I* thought this was a series about a powerful, competent woman, being chased by another competent woman. Instead, I was informed by the director that all that was just an aside to the real story, which was about utter and complete normality. Apparently the real moral of Kurau was that not being different is way better than being different.

So, let me get this straight – being able to fly, to leap across the Alps, to open a portal to a new world, to have incredible strength and to love deeply and permanently because a being is out there who complements you perfectly is *not* as good as marrying some guy or other (who never gets a name or a face, so you know he’s special) and having his kid? I’m just checking, ’cause nothing personal, that really doesn’t fly with a sci-fi/fantasy audience. It’s almost as irking as the crap at the end of Labyrinth with whatsherface “putting away all her childish things” and me hurting from gritting my teeth, until the sappy ending sort of belied the point. Ptooey. Surely flying and phasing through walls would be a small price to pay for having nebulous government organizations hounding you day and night?

While it didn’t make me want to chew nails this time, I still found the end of Kurau frustrating. I’m glad that Christmas finally finds her pair again, because otherwise this entire series would have been rendered into a tragedy.

Thankfully, it was not a tragedy, and Kurau was able to pass into the obscurity her non-Rynax self deserved, while Christmas was able to once again discover the finest thing about the human condition – love.


Art – 8
Story – 6
Characters – 7
Music – 7
Yuri – 2
Service – 1

Overall – 7

The second best thing about the human condition is that no matter what the change in society or technological advance, *some* group of people will start screaming about the world ending. It’s nice to know that some things, other than particles, are universal.

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10 Responses

  1. Kaja Rainbow says:

    Yeah, I never liked those “Yay, being a mediocre boring conformist to particular stupid social norms is better than being awesome!” themes.

    Related is what I call the “Awesomeness is illegal” trope (i.e. it being illegal to use methods to push yourself beyond normal human capabilities such as cybernetic augmentation, etc.). Somewhat justified by stupid societal fears, but bleh.

  2. JazzCat says:

    Those director’s liner notes strike me as odd, since I never got that feeling from the ending. Kurau somehow still seems to resent the loss of her Rynax, even though she acts as if she doesn’t care.

    I also still don’t understand why she and Christmas had to part ways. Even if she didn’t have her Rynax anymore, Kurau was still the closest person to the girl in all of the world.

    The Rynax that comes back to Christmas is also not the same we grew to know and love. The original combination of that Rynax and Kurau died during the heroic sacrifice, so my view, yes, the ending is a tragedy.

    Still, it’s my favorite anime by far. Even the “feh” ending won’t spoil that fact.

  3. jazzcat – that interpretation flies in the face of everything the director and voice actress say. Kurau doesn’t resent losing the Rynax at all. If anything, she’s relieved. Any resentment you see there is a construct of your desire. :-)

    kaja – I was being sarcastic. Conformity and normality are not the same. :)

  4. Rin says:

    The only reason why the LHC didn’t is because they haven’t started colliding things yet D:


  5. Here’s a link for a RSS feed that will let you know whether the world is destroyed: http://hasthelargehadroncolliderdestroyedtheworldyet.com/

    I suggest looking at the source code for a money-back offer.

  6. JazzCat says:

    Resentment and relief are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I get the idea Kurau experiences something of both, since she can still feel her Rynax’ return. But of course, viewers will always project their own feelings onto a show.

    What about Christmas though? She is not quite that conforming, since she still has all her powers and even gets reunited with her pair. Actually, it would make great material for a sequel.

  7. Kaja Rainbow says:

    Ah, heh, I’m not very good at detecting sarcasm.

  8. “…being able to fly, to leap across the Alps, to open a portal to a new world, to have incredible strength and to love deeply and permanently because a being is out there who complements you perfectly is *not* as good as marrying some guy or other (who never gets a name or a face, so you know he’s special) and having his kid?”

    You seem to forget- this whole time, throughout the whole series until this point, Kurau is the Rynax, while the human, or original Kurau is merely ‘inside’, watching the events as they happen. Of course the ‘real’ Kurau doesn’t feel the same way about having powers and Christmas and everything. She didn’t ask for all of this to happen in the first place. This doesn’t mean she simply didn’t care, she’s just a human, and is unable to have the same connection with Christmas that the Rynax Kurau had. She even took the time to actually go and tell Christmas that her pair taught her something, and it’s clear that she cares about the girl as much as she can. Thing is, it’s just not the same. The human and the Rynax are two different beings, with equally different thoughts and desires, naturally.

    Also, there wasn’t really a need to show human Kurau’s husband, seeing that this was the last episode of the series. It wasn’t about human Kurau’s life anyway, it was about the Rynax. The important thing was conveyed: everyone had their own happy endings.

    In my opinion, the ending was very realistic.

  9. Ceci says:

    I know this post is ancient history, but I just finished watching Kurau last night and the ending got me so upset that I feel compelled to comment. My biggest problem was that we’d had 23 episodes to bond with the human/Rynax Kurau, but at the end of the anime, she no longer exists. Yet no one seems to mourn the loss of that unique individual. Christmas seems to be mourning the loss of her Rynax pair, the father acts like even after over 10 years, the only daughter he ever had was only human, the aunt and uncle aren’t shown to mourn, nor do we see human Kurau affected by the loss of her symbiote. If I were a merged consciousness for over 10 years, I’d sure as heck feel a real sense of anomie having part of my self ripped away. I’d probably also want that part of myself back!

    Furthermore, I have no idea who those people were in the final episode. I have no emotional connection to human only Kurau, nor to Rynax only Kurau. I’m intellectually happy that supposedly they are happy, but really how am I supposed to be viscerally, emotionally happy about people I don’t even know?

    I’ve concluded that the entire last episode was an attempt to remove any vestige of Yuri from the anime. The human part of Kurau was removed from the relationship with Christmas and that was the entire point of the final epsidoe. Human Kurau ended up being “normal” with a man and a child, and the Rynax are on their own.

    Wow, this episode really peeved me.

  10. @Ceci – I agree so much my neck hurts from me nodding along with your comment.

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