Secrets and miscommunications are rife within the world of Cape of Spirits. They often form the ‘Elephant’ in the room. With the empire, this can be said to be what are they after? What drives their desire to collect the spirit coins? The most obvious answer would be Power but if that was their sole motivation, it would be at odds with the carefully choreographed ebb and flow of detail that surrounds every other aspect of Cape of Spirits. The question then remains: who is ultimately behind their drive? Episode 42 provides some clues to this and a question that has needed to be asked since the revelations that arriving in Mapulehu gave us: Why didn’t Jinsei Know? Though the whole answer is not provided, there are some moments of revelation that will matter and will have an impact on Jinsei. For good or Ill, this episode carries the shadow of a turning point.
Secrets and uncomfortable Truths
Episode 42 starts with Jinsei and Marius walking through the jungle around Mapulehu. “While you collect yourself and recover, I’d like to show something… deplorable happening within these lands”
We can glean a lot from Marius’ profile in this panel. The set of his eyes, the slight furrow of his brow all indicate anger he is holding back. His words resonate with his expression, whatever it is he wants to show Jinsei, I have a feeling it is not good. Up until now, we have seen a playful, flamboyant and jovial Marius. We have had a taste of his serious side when he explained the mission. But in this panel, we are shown a glimpse of his motivation and perhaps the disgust he feels for the direction the empire went in.
At first glance this pannel is serene. A second look gives a sense of foreboding. Then I noticed Jinsei and Marius’ clenched fists.
Their faces in this panel say so much. The half grimace etched into Marius’ face doesn’t come near to the angry set to his eyes. Jinsei’s stunned expression radiates disbelief. I particularly like the muted, colours in the background, like a cave painting showing the faded record of what was once juxtaposed against the vivid reaction of the now. It is becoming a familiar journey beat that draws us onward.
We have seen the degradation around Mapulehu, but that is a drop in a bucket compared to this. The veins of lava contrast against the barren earth and we, at last, can see the true legacy of the Empire’s actions. I really like how the setting sun compliments the depiction.
This sequence really highlights the damage the empire has done and is continuing to do. The different backdrop on this image really gives an impression of scope. While we do not know how large the land around Mapulehu is, but it is clear that this is a massive swathe of ruin. The devastation and disruption to their way of life are going to be profound and far-reaching.
We learn from Marius that there is a high probability that a corrupt Spirit Coins rests at the heart of the devastation. This is poignant at this point as it reaffirms the stakes. Katsurou and Punarvarsu are in the hands of the empire and could easily be destroyed.
It is interesting that Marius and the Village use artificial coins to slow the spread of ruin. If the ruin is indeed caused by a Corrupted spirit coin, then this shows us on a fundamental level just how vast the difference in power is. A single Spirit coin can not truly be countered by an artificial one.
I think this is a really important moment and one that is done really well. It is one of many turning points for Jinsei. For the entirety of Cape of Spirits, we know that Jinsei has been viewed as a traitor to the Empire. But this is the moment where his doubt really shows. Faced with the true legacy of the Empire and his actions, Jinsei has to accept the reality of his past. The Carefully choreographed visage that had prevented Jinsei from seeing the world as it was, has finally cracked and os falling away and in its place, we see not shock, not joy. No, in this panel we see Jinsei’s anger. He realises that above all, he has been lied to
This sequence really shows how much Marius cares about Jinsei. He sees where Jinsei’s thoughts are going and immediately stops them in their tracks. Unfortunately, Jinsei doesn’t accept Marius’ interjection.
No. I did everything Father told me to do, without question. I believed his vision of building a better world. I believed migrating people from the Old World to the New World would save them…Jinsei
Father saw these Old World natives as people who held onto a dying past… but… could it be…Jinsei
Jinsei’s focus on his hands shows the gravity of his mental state. It is symbolic of having blood on one’s hand and as the former heir to the empire Jinsei seems to be questioning just that. His view on Kasurou being a supposed Traitor shows the shift in his perspective more than anything else. It shows his allegiance is with Katsuriou and his perspective rather than the emp
The more you spend time searching…The more dark secrets you will uncover.Marius
That is, if you’re ready for them.
Marius’ closing remarks on this segment of the episode is poignant. It’s an indication that what Jinsei has uncovered is little more the surface. That he will ultimately face the same path that Marius has already trodden. A path that ultimately led to Marius abandoning his place in the empire. The final line questions whether Jinsei is ready to know the truth. If an answer is to be found, we will have to wait and see.
Jinsei’s State of Mind.
Finally, we come to what is arguably the most poignant section of the episode. It is no secret that throughout A Cape of Spirits Jinsei has had his share of emotional baggage. Over the past few episodes, we have seen both glimpses and direct exposition of his mental state. For all purposes, Jinsei is suffering from acute PTSD brought on by the sudden death of his father at his hand and then Katsurou’s transformation to a spirit coin. It is one of the first things we learn about him in season one and has largely been skirted around, Jinsei’s actions being the driver of any exposition. In this segment that changes and for the first time we perhaps see why Jinsei needs Marius. Unlike Kanae and Flayvus, Marius has at least until his disappearance been a positive role model for Jinsei, someone he could trust and someone who ultimately cares for Jinsei. Marius is understanding and if he has any misgivings over the death of his brother and Jinsei’s part in it, he gives no outward sign. Where Sumire and Saz, the other two important people to Jinsei already judge him harshly, Marius simply accepts Jinsei as who he is looking out for him when he needed help the most. It is with this care and compassion that Marius tackles the very thing that holding Jinsei back.
So tell me….
…. why did you regalia fail to activate the past few times.Marius
As he speaks he activates the sword coin that Jinsei refused to use previously. The very thing that triggered his PTSD during his and Seven’s duel. Curiously the sword manifests with him holding the blade rather than the hilt. Before Jinsei is even able to answer, Marius continues.
While this may seem odd and unrelated to his PTSD, it is actually a confirmation of sorts. The trauma Jinsei has over killing his father directly interferes with the bond he has with Katsurou. It is noted that the contract is not complete, but we don’t actually know why. Could it be that his PTSD overusing swords is subconsciously preventing the contract from being made? this last image certainly indicates the bond is hindering his ability.
Like you said earlier: ‘If your body and mind is strong, the coin is as well.”Marius to Jinsei
This is no diferent when forming a true bond with your spirit coin. This Sword coin is merely a representation of your current state of mind.
I’m saying that you should be able to control your weapons….
Not let it control you.Marius
What i love about this entire sequence is how it carefully and expertly moves us through the conversation while being tactful. Marius summoning the coin to use it as a representation only to place it between Jinsei and his path while highlighting the things Jinsei needs to consider is sublime. This sequence ends with a poignant question for Jinsei, one that has deep ramifications.
What will you do with it?Marius
What the empire is doing.
The final segment is a switch of focus onto the empire. General Rhylus and some soldiers are testing Apophis gauntlets and Spirit coins… with deadly results. A soldier tries to activate the coin but soon loses control. In a similar manner to the Emporer, the red-black energy lashes out at its wielder and a nearby soldier seeming to kill them both.
Before the corpse has even stopped smoking we see the true ugly face of the empire as General Pisca emerges from the shadow. “Amateurs.” Her only words drip not only with arrogance but disdain at those who just lost their lives. The meaning is abundantly clear, these soldiers are expendable, their lives mean nothing. As General Rhylus commands her to “show them how it is done” I am left wondering if General Pisca and General Rhylus are in fact, Father and Daughter. Their cold eyes are the same blue, their perception the same rank arrogance. I am reminded also that is General Rhylus who convinced Jinseis father to continue the experiments against Marius’ concerns and it is also General Rhylus who convinced Sumire that Jinsei was a traitor. If ever there was a candidate for a puppeteer behind the screen, he fits the bill neatly.