Colloquium: Kyokai Senjou no Horizon 7 + 8

This week we’re once again down to only the most rugged and foolhardy crew of bloggers: draggle, redballJohn Satoand Foshizzel (who provided pictures). Enjoy!

draggle: For a show which is normally so logical and easy to watch as Horizon, this was a difficult pair of episodes to follow. Well, parts of it were simple to follow: Double-Bloody Mary, her love affair with the ninja and impending death due to the recreation of history were pretty straightforward.

It’s the negotiations where things get complicated. And this, I feel, is intentional on the part of Hoirzon’s creators.

Why are the negotiations so complicated? Because there are so many people involved.

In world affairs, we tend to fetishize multi-party negotiations. After all, conclusions can only be reached when everyone has a place at the table, right? But Horizon shows that this ideal of multi-party negotiations may be misguided. The more parties that are introduced, the more complicated things become. We not only have to please two parties, but n to reach a consensus. And consensus may ultimately prove impossible, as demonstrated by the recent negotiations on preventing climate change.

redball: I think misguided is a strong word. Multi-party negotiations are difficult, and the result is not always consensus. History, and now Horizon, teaches us that.

I believe that these two episodes were a bridge in the story to move from the Bloody Mary arc onto the Anglo-Spanish War. These negotiations were not an historical re-enactment, but a metaphor for the politics of Europe during this time.

More importantly, I must return to the idea that the actors in this are high school aged children. This serves as a teachable moment for our cast. They learn that the world consists of a number of complex systems and motivational forces. Even when it appears that two parties’ interests align, this can be tangential and collapse as easily as it arose. Worse, a closer examination of the interplay between various forces can prove a seemingly perfect alliance to have massive flaws.

John Sato: I have a slightly different take on what exactly these negotiations mean. I like both the ideas that Draggle and Redball brought up, and I definitely agree with Redball that these seemed more like “bridge” episodes than anything else. However, I see these political rapids the cast of Horizon ride through not as challenges or learning opportunities, but rather as an affirmation of how far they have come.

The scene where the Queen of England talks about how the Musashi, as an independent country, is “climbing up to join [England’s and the other major European countries] ranks” is very indicative of the theme of these two episodes. The crew of the Musashi are growing stronger, more knowledgeable, and certainly more mature (just look at Tori), of that there’s no doubt. But at the same time, when we observe how deftly these high school kids negotiate with other countries and diplomats far older than them, it becomes apparent that they have already come a great distance. They can hold their own in international diplomacy, and can even succeed despite hitting roadblocks. There were several challenges presented to them, as Draggle and Redball brought up, but in the end they still managed to win the debate (for it was very much a battle). Just like their ship, the Musashi’s crew is still ascending higher and higher; but we cannot forget how far they have already traveled, either.

This is part of the reason these episodes work so elegantly as bridges to the next arc; they imply that there are still new avenues to explore, but they also serve as almost a summary of sorts, showing all our favorite characters’ progress.

Episodes 7 and 8 of Horizon sum up why we here at classy are still blogging this show (albeit tardily, which is entirely my fault). These episodes, as Draggle said, were uncharacteristically confusing of the series, and no one can deny that anyone who has read and understood the prologue to Horizon will have a much better understanding of what is happening than the average layperson. That said, even the average anime viewer can easily derive the messages of character growth happening, making what would have been dry, convoluted, and even boring negotiations a satisfying, exciting scene for the whole two episodes it was present.

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