What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? (SukaSuka)
by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 6 of
SukaSuka gets back to business this week with some tangible progress in the main storyline. Willem meets Souwong, a mage who fought alongside him in his old life. Kept alive for centuries by a self-inflicted curse, Souwong is happy to see Willem and tells him about a plan to retake the surface from the seventeen beasts. Willem's ability to repair the dug weapons is key to Souwong's strategy, but he refuses to help with a plan that would send more fairies into battle. Back at the warehouse, Chtholly suffers a mental breakdown from using her powers too much. While laying unconscious in her bed, she has a vision that could be the first step in a tragic series of events.
Despite playing an important role in advancing the plot, Souwong and Eboncandle the talking skull make a relatively weak first impression. The writing overreaches in its attempts at humorous banter between them and Willem, and that leads to some confusion over how seriously we're supposed to take these new characters. Once everyone settles down and the conversation gets serious, things start to pick up. In addition to providing more details about what the fairies really are, this scene presents an interesting moral dilemma. Assuming the sky islands will eventually deteriorate, the characters are caught between the needs of the many and the needs of the few. As much as Willem is justified in standing up for the girls under his care, it could also be argued that he's putting the rest of the world at risk by doing so. I doubt these shades of gray will be addressed in more detail, but at least it's a more intriguing setup than the usual “humans good, monsters bad” fare.
Along with the narrative progress, we also get some emotional content courtesy of Chtholly's breakdown. The voice in her head finally makes sense now that we know how fairies are created; the jumble of phrases and images is likely a collage of memories from her past life. That would also imply that Elq is the spirit who was used to make Chtholly, so their encounter in the trippy dreamscape can't be a good sign for Chtholly's long-term health. It takes a while for all this to pay off on the emotional front, but we do eventually get a teary-eyed reunion with Chtholly waking up to see Willem and Nygglatho watching over her. Even if it's not exactly subtle, it's a positive sign that SukaSuka can still pack an emotional punch after a few weak episodes.
Throughout all of this, the show's shortcomings in writing and presentation continue to hold it back. It's not so much a matter of bad decisions this week; the basic outline of this episode makes much more sense than the detour through Corna di Luce. Instead, the issue lies in how the characters convey their emotions to the audience. The dialogue is often in such a rush to explain what a character thinks or how they feel that conversations end up sounding artificial. It's not always an easy thing do to, but good dialogue lets us understand a character's point of view while still sounding like something a person might actually say. This is something I've touched on before, and SukaSuka is losing a lot of dramatic impact by trying to push important information through with nothing but brute force.
Still, the series has definitely taken a turn for the better this week. We're back in the thick of the plot, and many of these new developments have the potential to pay off nicely in the long run. Thanks to this renewed focus, SukaSuka is back up to the level of a competent genre title. If it wants to climb any higher, it will need to refine the way it presents its story to the viewer. For now though, I'm just happy that the show has gotten back on track.
What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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