This review on Gleipnir Contains spoilers. If you have not seen the chapter yet, I recommend you do it and then go back to read the review.
Chapter 11: The Price of Determination
Gleipnir chapter eleven. Despite having survived such a situation, the group is too exhausted, physically and mentally, to continue the search. The only one who opposes abandoning the search is Claire, but that does not change the final decision to leave the mountain and separate. Even so, since the enemy knows their faces, there is some anxiety and fear among the members of the group.
The days go by, and nothing really happens at the beginning. This, however, soon begins to change for Shuichi when he notices that one of his friends has been missing for a while. He becomes suspicious, and hearing of the appearance of a burned body in the mountains, that of his friend, apparently, is when the situation becomes clear to him. With great rancor, Shuichi visits the alien on his own, waiting for him to clear up the memory fragments that are so fuzzy inside his head. Although she doesn't get answers about it, her determination has never been so powerful and unmovable.
After finishing his conversation with the alien, Shuichi prepares to receive the next guest. After reaching an isolated area, one of the survivors of the enemy group finally appears in order to claim his revenge for the death of their leader. However, that is not what happens, because Shuichi, in addition to overcoming it in combat, makes sure to finish the job, ending his life with a single shot.
That which we saw in this episode, the cold and logical attitude of Shuichi shown on more than one occasion, that is something similar to what a descent into dementia must seem. That's what I expected to see from the moment I read the description of Gleipnir. The idea is to explore what is required to completely break the ideals and morals of a relatively normal person, as he begins to lose his humanity.
Shuichi's character evolution has been a… slow and irritating at times. Still, that was to be expected. Most people are not able to pull the trigger, let alone do it so calmly, relying only on the logic behind their actions. And that "logical" part that is extremely satisfying when analyzing a character who abandons his humanity for the sake of something greater than him / her.
Slowly, we have been able to see how the protagonists have faced battles that are a great burden for a normal person. Shortly after meeting Claire, Shuichi witnessed a murder, one perpetrated using his power. He has had multiple near-death experiences, even worse, he has died at least twice. Terror and despair became common elements for his life. I would say that it is impressive that he has not yet fallen into dementia. Instead, they decided to play around with the rational part of their mind, setting priorities, and slowly shifting their perspective from one based merely on the emotion of the moment, to one that thinks based on self-benefit.
It is not to say that he has ceased to be human, because the moment he made his anger and desire clear, he left no room to question that. What I'm saying is that we can finally start to see a real monster grow inside Shuichi. The moment you stop just seeing the benefit of ending the life of another, and instead act conscious of the implications, is when you begin to notice how you lose your humanity.
Personally, I think his character leaves a lot to be desired in some areas, but I can appreciate the way his character has developed since the beginning of the series. It is not the descent that I expected to see, but the way in which they have placed obstacles that contribute to the creation of a more determined character at the moment of pulling the trigger, aware of why their actions, has not been bad at all.
If there is any element of Gleipnir the one I have forgotten on more than one occasion, in short, would be the alien. I would say that, apart from setting the plot in motion, he really does not have great relevance within the story. And there is really nothing wrong with that. Its purpose was to start the conflict and give a final goal. I have no problem with characters created just for that purpose.
With that idea in mind, I can say that seeing them explore the character a little more was an addition that I can appreciate a little. We are talking about a character who seemed to define characteristics such as: interested in the human species, with some solidarity towards his companions and the fact that he is an alien. That would be the general idea that the character generated for me.
It was what you would expect to see from someone outside of planet earth. Someone who looks like us, but who is not human. But, then the episode decides to show us something that I did not expect, a memory. One that connects deeply with the protagonists and the events presented in the story.
To think that this gathering started as an innocent recommendation from a girl, from a human. Someone who underestimated human nature and the observer status the alien would take. That was an interesting revelation that goes so far as to say how far our naivety goes. But, what caught my attention the most here, was the alien's initial disposition regarding the idea of finding his companions.
It is an interesting contrast to the character that we have been shown so far. Imagine that you really cared about your peers, but it turns out that was never the case. It makes sense, I mean, he never really showed himself making any kind of real effort towards his cause. Maybe he just accepted the idea of the vending machine because he found it entertaining, something extra that he could entertain himself with while having other people doing all the work instead.
In that sense I would say that it is quite like us. Letting laziness decide instead, taking advantage of any opportunity to make things easier for him. Although I still agree with Shuichi, opining that he will surely lack emotions, at least, human-like emotions. Instincts and desires may resemble each other, but emotions may be the only trait that separates us. Things like this give a bit more depth to a character that he honestly only considered a tool for the story.
The reality of the situation the group got into finally came through in the previous episode. Here, it is time for them to process everything that happened to them in just one day. People who assumed that they could succeed in facing such monsters as humans were too naive, and the reactions that came out of it were pure gold to me.
I've always hated characters who get carried away because of their naivety. That is why that moment when they are forced to face reality is so satisfying. That's also why I appreciate Claire's character so much. Its true nature is not a very "human" one so to speak, so when it is revealed in a moment of crisis, the reactions of its companions are somewhat understandable. Except everyone's life, but in doing so, he showed his lack of remorse in taking the lives of others.
The scenes where Claire and Shuichi start to doubt, how calm they are about it, is so satisfying. As they try to accept the method that saved them, they can't help but question the reality behind the method. So helpless and so naive, they better accept the facts. What I hope to see from this group is simple, conflict. It is the ideal way to develop the characters. If they are to continue their search, they had better prepare to take more drastic measures. Better yet, they don't need to agree with Claire, just follow her plans. This is an opportunity to see how they process the situation by being between a rock and a hard place. That is what I would expect to see.
Then we have the group that seems to have already reached the final goal. A group that in the past probably formed a special part in Shuichi's life. But, just like with the alien, the naive words of a single girl completely changed everyone's lives. Furthermore, this revelation also begins to explain a little why Shuichi and Elena got involved with the coins in the first place.
It will not be the full story, but it is an interesting detail that gives a very important piece to solve the mystery of Shuichi's past. What kind of tragedy will the group have experienced and what will be their ultimate goal in collecting the coins? I admit that this issue catches my attention a bit, but I still have some small complaints that lower my expectations a little. Nobody likes to end on a negative note, so I prefer to keep to myself any personal conflict I have against the episode. At least for this occasion it will be so.