Thursday, May 6, 2021

Episode 6 Joran: The Princess of Snow and Blood


 

The importance of the expression "popcorn amusement" has taken on new measurements for me since the time the pandemic hit, and I was denied the ordinary journeys to my nearby Cineplex that had become such an apparatus in my life.I promise, this isn't going to become another op-ed about the woes of pandemic life that has been sneakily Trojan Horse'd into a review — I'm not talking symbolically, here. What I mean to say is that what I missed the most about movie theater experience was, very literally, the goddamn popcorn, what with its perfect crunch and oily aroma, and the intoxicating mixture of salt, fake butter, and abominable science that make for that iconic “popcorn entertainment” flavor.

One of the principal things I made a special effort to sort out throughout the most recent year was the way to make that popcorn, seeing as it was basically the fellowship wafer that requested a spot at my unorthodox raised area of multi-media excessive admiration. (It turns out, the secret is a specific kind of processed salt called Flavacol, plus a healthy baptism of “Movie Theater Butter” oil that is almost certainly a Class 1 Carcinogen). The point is, I'm not exaggerating when I say that there is a genuine, personal value to be found in the objectively disgusting mix of chemicals, oils, and plant-based cardboard puffs that come part and parcel with the act of sitting down in front of a big screen and watching people with magic powers stab each other in the face…or whatever your chosen method of worship may be.

Crap, possibly I am talking emblematically, all things considered.Either way, this whole digression is meant simply to contextualize my feelings about Joran: The Princess of Snow and Blood, which is a deeply silly cartoon about murderous shapeshifters and nefarious government agents that wage war in an alternate history Japan that is filled with monsters, spies, mad scientists, and some kind of science-fantasy super chemical/stone/thing that hasn't been all that well explained. For God's sake, its episodes have titles like “Confidential File 623: Daybreak", and this week's story is all about how Asahi, an orphaned Japanese girl, had her life get flipped-turned upside down because a lovesick double-agent told her to take a minute and sit right there so he could explain how Asahi could fake a woman's death with some magic pills and escape the long, bloody arm of the Shogun's revenge. That's just…delightful. Utterly delightful.

It is likewise, as it occurs, by a wide margin the most direct story Joran has told hitherto. Regardless, the greatest problem I have with "Dawn" is that it takes a situation that we might have gotten summarized in only a couple minutes, and stretches it out to fill most of the scene.We already knew that Makoto gave Asahi the pills to “kill” Sawa with, and it was obvious that Sawa wasn't really dead, even before we see the flashback where Makoto tells Asahi as much. In keeping with the trickster's love of Shakespeare, the pills Asahi used were very much akin to what Friar Lawrence gave Juliet when she needed to do a little death faking of her own, though it works out much better in Sawa's case. Y'know, since a series of contrived shenanigans don't result in Sawa dying horribly just a few minutes after waking up.

Regardless, the exacting craftsmanship that the flashback goes into make Sawa and Asahi's arrangement less persuading than if Makoto has recently halted at "These pills will cause Sawa to appear to be dead.Dig her up when the coast is clear and be on your way, eh?” I'm especially stuck on the fact that Asahi only had three hours to spare from the moment Sawa kicked the bucket to when she woke up in her freshly made coffin. I get that Jin probably wants to take care of the issue as quickly as possible – it isn't like Sawa has anyone beyond himself and Asahi who will even know Sawa is gone, now ¬– but three hours? The only way that I buy Sawa getting into the dirt that fast is if Jin suspects something is up already, and is either encouraging Asahi and Sawa to escape, or allowing the scheme to play out for his own ends.

Discussing Jin: What's up with the person? We see him mistreat the doc that helped Makoto before, which bodes well, yet he likewise puts a similarly destructive smackdown on the two follower monitors who were thumping on a couple of spray painting splashing against Shogun regular citizens (that wiped out rifle inversion was cool as heck, as well).The only character development we've gotten for the guy across six episodes is that he's sneaky, and that he's dangerous, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see how is arc plays out. At least Sawa and Asahi get to run away and start a new life where they know each others names and don't actively try to murder other people and/or each other anymore! Until next week, that is.

Is Joran acceptable. As of this 6th scene, I'd say that it is, in precisely the same way that oily multiplex popcorn tubs are "acceptable". Sure, they have no nutritional value whatsoever, they'll probably shorten your lifespan in the long run, and it's way to easy to binge-eat your way through a whole tub without feeling an ounce of shame. Joran's just like that: Shallow, shiny, lizard-brain tickling entertainment that will go straight down your gullet as it clogs up your arteries, and that's exactly what I like about it.


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