kekkai sensen

Rie Matsumoto at the End of All Things

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“Myoue, I’ve been wondering, can we stay together a little longer? We’ve come all this way, and even came back to life and all. I can promise I’ll finish everything off. Let’s stay together just a little longer.”

-Koto to Myoue, Kyousougiga, Episode 10

A common thread in Rie Matsumoto’s directorial work is the inevitable destruction of whatever world she has spent the majority of the series or movie building. There is a ruined garden, structures flying everywhere, and an overall sense of disorientation in the face of the work’s respective protagonist coming to terms with what is most important to them.

As it turns out, what is most important is also wholly mundane and unquantifiable.

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The Children of Rie Matsumoto: Mary Macbeth and Koto

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When children tell stories, they’re often stymied by an inability to communicate. Adults are frequently too far removed from their own childhood to understand, or the child is unable to make adults comprehend – much like the narrator of The Little Prince who, as a young boy, draws an elephant inside of a snake which is then interpreted as a hat. Additionally, when adults look back on their youth, they look at it from the eyes of an adult, reframing their experiences in a different context.

This makes portraying children in fiction and varying forms of media incredibly difficult. All too often a creator will underestimate a child’s intelligence and show them doing unnecessarily stupid things rather than a more nuanced display of ignorance. It’s remarkable when a director or creator gets children right.

With that being said, I’d like to draw your attention to Rie Matsumoto, director of Kyousogiga and Blood Blockade Battlefront.

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Through the Eyes of God (And Leonardo Watch)

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“Life, which is hard enough as it is, is even harder here. Even more so for a small timer like me, whose only redeeming feature is that I’m normal.”

– Leonardo Watch, Blood Blockade Battlefront, episode 1

Both viewers of anime and in-universe characters alike often yearn to be exceptional. The traditional special teen narrative focuses on plucking protagonists from their humdrum lives and plopping them elsewhere, bestowing upon them universe-breaking powers. Blood Blockade Battlefront‘s Leonardo Watch is no exception, only he never wished for the all-seeing eyes of god. They were given to him unwillingly, as his sister Michella was able to act more quickly in a high pressure situation, offering her eyes as part of a sacrifice.

As a result, his ordinary looks become his greatest asset, hiding his one of a kind power.

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