Freezing in Bali: How the Anime Falls short of the Manga

Hisashiburi desu ne, my dear readers?  After too long of a rest from writing, some commentary on Freezing: Vibration offers good warm up before I tackle more difficult articles.  I especially wish to write my article on Kouichi Mashimo’s Girls with Guns Trilogy (Noir, Madlax, and El Cazador de la Bruja).  (To tell you the truth, I did not know that this trilogy bore that nickname until this morning.)  Anyway, the present article will express how the anime handled Satellizer and Kazuya’s adventure in Bali, which spans episodes 5-7.

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These episodes number among the most painful and dark one can watch; though, as is often the case with such tales, the story is quite powerful.  After the Chevalier organization succeeds in disgracing the Mably family in revenge for Elizabeth Mably whistleblowing on the reckless way this organization handled the E-Pandora project, Satellizer sets a course for Bali in order to enlist the aid of the El Bridget family against the Chavalier Organization.  Her half-sister, Violet, runs a resort in this area.  Unfortunately, Satellizer also meets her half-brother, Louis, at this resort.  The meeting is unfortunate because Louis sees Satellizer more as a lover than as a sister, and acts on this desire in a most churlish manner.

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Okay, the preceding remark stands as a gross understatement.  As children, Louis had taken to molesting her and resumes his evil ways at the hotel.  From these experiences in her childhood and early adolescence, Satellizer developed a fear of being touched, from which she earned her nickname at West Genetics of “the Untouchable Queen.”  These three episodes show Satellizer’s struggle to break free of his hold and perform an admirably good job of demonstrating the psychology of both the victim and the fiend.  I especially like the anime’s use of chains to show the hold that Louis has on her.

Oh, I might just mention here that Holly actual has character in the manga, which is completely absent in the anime.

Oh, I might just mention here that Holly actual has character in the manga, which is completely absent in the anime.

As much as these episodes covered that aspect of the story, they portrayed the events quite well.  However, this came at the price of Kazuya and Violet’s character development, and the final victory over Louis seems rushed and less believable than in the manga.  The manga makes Violet a much more developed character.  In particular, she was the person who initially discovered Louis’s harassment of Satellizer and caused her to be sent away from the family house.  At the present time, since Louis, ostensibly at least, has a girlfriend and plenty of time has passed, Violet hoped that Satellizer might reconcile with Louis.

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And the characterization of Kazuya was miserable, as it rather has been for most of the second season.  Two scenes where Kazuya stands up to Louis made me practically cheer when I read them, but appeared trite when watched.  I doubt that this is entirely because I knew what would happen.  Kazuya has been relegated to the role of an air headed harem hero–a Tenchi, if you will.  His character has greater value than that!  The first season of the anime did a much better job in characterizing him.  After all, Kazuya drives most of Satellizer’s changes for the better.  If not for Kazuya, she would still remain the fearful, cold, and diffident character of season one.

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So, I still enjoyed the episodes, but the brevity which which the anime dealt with the story–perhaps that this kind of story could not be narrated as well through the medium of anime–diminished its excellence.  As I said, the interior struggle of Satellizer and the psychology of the victim and the perpetrator were portrayed rather well.  But, they achieved this at the price of not developing the other characters and excising most of the back story, which lent more pathos to the manga’s version.  So, this arc in the anime was okay, but chapters 39-50 were superb.

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