The mid section of Silent Möbius is definitely weaker than the first third of the series, and has brought a wider issue with anime storytelling into focus for me.
The Limelight Episodes
There are several Day in the Limelight episodes in this volume, and this continues the trend from the previous volume.
Yuki Saiko comes in for special attention with both XRP-77  and episode 16 Labyrinth . These are strong episodes that respectively explore Yuki’s past as a genetically engineered empath, and a love lost in time. Given that the gentle relationship between Yuki and Katsumi is what made the 2nd movie so effective, I’m was glad to see Yuki receive such careful handling in the anime.
Unfortunately the Lebia Maverick centred Alice in Logic-Space  felt indulgent and fell far short of the equivalent chapter in the manga. As I recall, Lebia’s chapter in the manga established her as a major Power of cyberspace, and the same feeling just wasn’t there this time.
The focus on Rally Cheyenne in episode 12  is used to good effect as a means of shattering Katsumi’s worldview, and this echoes through the remaining episodes.
Destiny  is another good episode for Kiddy Phenil although this is more focussed on reconciling Kiddy to her present state than on exploring her past.
The Sixth Ranger
Episode 15 Lum Cheng  sees the introduction of another front line combatant in the form of the eponymous Elementor.
I haven’t read the equivalent chapters in the manga, but I hope that Lum Cheng is a much less of an annoying Sixth Ranger there.
The addition of Lum feels awkward, and as presented here Lum is more than a little arrogant. Her inclusion in a would-be love triangle with Roy and Katsumi only works to the extent that it is part of Katsumi’s advancing disconnection from her humanity.
The middle 9 episodes do start coming to grips with the sins of the father, and with Katsumi’s possible responsibility to fix (or at least mitigate) those sin. It is fair to say that Katsumi isn’t handling things terribly well as of DOMULL .
These episodes also address what Rally and Grospoliner were withholding from Katsumi, but this only contributes to Katsumi’s mental fragility. Given that Katsumi has the potential to be the most powerful sorceress on the planet, “mental fragility” is a not particularly good sign.
The thing is, there are only eight episodes left to resolve all of the issues established so far, which leads to a side topic about anime story telling in general.
A problem with anime story telling
It is nice to have stories that delve into the depths of their characters, and Kia Asamiya is certainly good at this.
However this can create a sense that a series has far too many balls in the air at once. I’m increasingly of the opinion that this can lead to problems with ending a story. I’m wondering if this explains the unsatisfying ending of so many anime series.
Two symptoms of the problem are that having too much going on can sharply limit the number of episodes that deal with the main storyline (e.g. A Certain Scientific Railgun) and/or lead to a cramped ending (e.g. Scrapped Princess).
A third possibility is simply ignoring some of the elements in play and coming up with an ending that doesn’t satisfy what came before (e.g. Last Exile or Witch Hunter Robin are a couple that spring to mind here).
At this stage I am concerned that Silent Möbius has left itself in this position, and this worry was growing as I worked my way through episodes 10 – 18.
I’m still enjoying this viewing of Silent Möbius, and for many of the same reasons. However the mid section is definitely weaker than the opening volume.
The question now is whether Silent Möbius can deliver a strong ending, or fumble the dismount. In the meantime here’s a clean version of the end credits:
- Silent Möbius (1998): First Thoughts (piratesobg.wordpress.com)