Welcome to all readers… This was a well-made but truly sad episode. It’s put a downer on my mood. I’m sad that Anna made herself suffer so much and could not accept reality. I’m sad that she couldn’t forgive Shingetsu or at least stop obsessing over her.
I’m probably one of the very few viewers who can understand Anna. I’ve ever been quite that hurtful to others… but I’ve certainly had my crazy, hurtful moments during onset of Borderline Personality Disorder 7 years ago. I wasn’t rooting for Anna, nor do I agree with her, but I understand her. BPD is a disorder believed to be caused by a hyper-active limbic system, but it’s not the only condition characterized by this. People without a diagnosable disorder can have the same root issue: they/we feel too much. We have too many of those primitive and overwhelming emotions produced in the midbrain and lymbic systems, like raw rage, animalistic desire, envy, jealousy, and spite.
When overwhelmed by these powerful, ancient animal emotions, you temporarily lose the ability to empathize, as well as losing sight of long-term consequences and any dreams, goals, or values that were important to you when you were “sane.” Anna describes it perfectly well to Clara, her little sister. “I’m not sure why things turned out this way, either. Fun times, things I wanted to do, dreams for my future… I had so many of them, but now, none of them matter. Sometimes I don’t even care about Granbelm or being a mage. But still… I want to hurt Ernesta.”
People with hyper-active emotional circuits also experience intense craving for stimulation, or for anything that produces a sense of satisfaction. We experience a sometimes manic sort of “joy” when dopamine or similar endorphins are activated. The writers of this show must have had some knowledge of psychology and neuroscience, because they gave Anna a very relevant line. As she’s joyfully attacking Shingetsu, she shouts, “Adrenaline! Dopamine! Endorphins!!” I liked the inclusion of that line.
Incidentally, maaaany things other than violence and power can produce dopamine and other endorphines in your brain. Watching anime, for instance. Depending on the person, what they like, and what anime they’re watching, they can feel a short surge of dopamine causing a feeling like thrilling joy! I feel that when I look at the many bright flashing colors during the mecha fights in Granbelm. Or the vividly colored Armanox and their lights. when there is beautiful scenery with highly saturated colors. Man, it feels great!
So anyway, that was more of a rant about the psychology of Anna than an episode review. Hopefully you can forgive that because I’m running out of time to write much more. Real quick, let me note: 1) the action scenes were excellent; 2) I really enjoy the instrumental music used here; and 3) there was a lot of interesting information about different kinds of magic, like crafting spells that summon spirits who will aid you in your fight. That’s about it folks, so thanks so much for reading! This is 7mononoke at Anime Rants, wishing you all the best! Bye now!
(Images from: Granbelm. Dir. M Watanabe. Nexus. 2019.)