Casshern is a humanoid robot who finds himself in a decaying, desolate world. A plague known as Ruin kills humans and robots alike, and apparently Casshern is responsible for having slain their guardian entity Luna, the only one who could have healed the world. Unfortunately, he isn't sure how much of this is true, since he has amnesia. All he knows is that he is built for combat, immune to the Ruin, and able to regenerate any damage — and that rumor has it if a robot devours Casshern then they will live forever.A Darker and EdgierContinuity Reboot of the post-apocalyptic 1970s anime Neo Human Casshern, the 2009 Madhouse anime Casshern Sins focuses on the sudden appearance of death among robots who once thought themselves immortal.Produced in 2008, the series made its US television debut on Toonami beginning on May 26, 2012 (though it aired a year before that on the Funimation Channel). Is also available (in some countries) on Youtube.
Anime Hair: Almost everyone has improbably fluffy, spiky hair. Then again, it's Umakoshi style.
Anti-Villain: Pretty much everyone. Everyone in the average mook army only tries to "devour" Casshern to save themselves because they'll die from the Ruin if they don't. Even the common bandits only attack innocents because they need to replace their ruined parts.
Both Braiking Boss and Ohji show elements of this as well, since they both feel somewhat responsible for the assassination of Luna that killed the world. The first one gave the order to kill her, while the second one created the killer.
The Bad Guy Wins: Dio eventually succeeds in his goal of beating Casshern in a fight. Fortunately, since that's all he cared about doing, he simply wanders off and waits to die afterwards.
Barrier Maiden: Luna, and also a combination of Fisher King (well, queen) and Cosmic Keystone. Her death not only introduced entropy to the previously immortal robots, dooming them to eventually die, it caused some form of environmental collapse. Even her mysterious resurrection did little to restore the world.
Battle Couple: Casshern and Lyuze once they begin traveling together, and even more so once they fall in love and become an actual couple.
The two robots that appear in episode 19, Castor and his unnamed female companion, also seem to be this.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Through the whole show, we see that the effects of the Ruin on robots aren't pretty, with most of them rusting and falling apart slowly till they die. However, in Lyuze's case, she only gets a little rust on a few parts of her body (which are not immediately visible) and dies in Casshern's arms with her body pretty much intact.
Appears in-story as well: Leda's ultimate goal for seeking eternal life is to ensure her beauty and perfection are never tarnished. Ironically, her greed distorts her horribly in the end.
Bewildering Punishment: Due to his amnesia, Casshern has no idea why everyone blames him for the world ending and either want to kill or eat him. Once they find out his identity, no one wants to be around him either, so if he's not fighting then he's lonely.
Bishounen: Casshern, for a robot, is slender and very pretty. Everyone comments on it.
Blessed with Suck: Casshern's immortality can really come in handy, but he also hates it for varying reasons through the course of the story, the worst one probably being that he outlives Lyuze.
Luna's actual, pre-death power also counts. Her powers of death allowed her to grant mortality to robots and immortal humans, but the experience was apparently so traumatic that after her resurrection she became hellbent on creating a world of eternal life so she wouldn't have to deal with death ever again.
Crapsack World: Imagine that you're a near-human robot with type II immorality. Now imagine waking up one morning and learning that the immortality of your entire race has been not only stripped from you but that you're guaranteed to die a shocking, horrific death as you slowly rust away into nothing. Now consider the fact that you're nearly as likely to fall into the despair event horizon and commit suicide before then or find yourself getting torn to pieces by half-insane robots who want to use you for spare parts. Sure, there is some small glimmer of hope here and there but this includes either devouring perhaps the only true immortal left who eventually accepts his position as the avatar of death or walking the span of the globe in hopes of meeting a healer who is probably dead.
Though depending on your take on the ending (see below), it eventually becomes a A World Half Full.
Cry for the Devil: Both Dio and Leda get a lot of sympathy from both protagonists and probably audience by the end.
Dance Battler: In combat, Casshern performs intricate flips and spins reminiscent to ballet. Look at his lithe, elegantly posed post-battle silhouette and he resembles a dancer as much as he does a powerful, bolt-grinding android.
An impressive feat, given that the original Neo Human Casshern was already set in a postapocalyptic world with an army of robots/cyborgs hellbent on wiping out humanity. (It's still more upbeat than the Live-Action Adaptation, though).
Defeat Means Friendship: Inverted. Casshern's two premanent companions Friender and Lyzue originally wanted to kill him. He allowed the first to bite off a piece of his collar and the second to slash his chest several times. After that they were friendly, or in the latter's case, less hostile.
Despair Event Horizon: Some robots are so far beyond this that anything even remotely hopeful only serves to piss them off.
Downer Ending/Bittersweet Ending: It depends on your take on the whole ending. On one hand, Lyuze and Ohji die from the Ruin, Luna is still granting salvation to whoever wants it, Casshern is once again wandering the Crapsack World alone, still cursed with immortality and Ringo grew up with only Friender to keep her company. On the other hand, while Luna grants life to those who want it, Casshern has decided to become death itself to remind the immortals that merely being alive and actually living are two very different things.
It's also implied that Ringo has healed from the Ruin by herself, and will have a moderate lifespan (neither immortal, nor dying from the Ruin), thus giving hope that the world can return to the balance of life and death, which along the flowers seen on various spots through the world, and particularly those grown by the main cast, grants a way for the planet, and life on it, to be returned to peace.
Luna is the most prominent, "Find Luna and she will heal you."
Janice inspires with her songs.
Casshern himself is an odd example. He brings hope by the rumor that his flesh can cure the Ruin.
How the Mighty Have Fallen: Braiking Boss. Once the leader of the robot army that conquered the world, now just another robot Walking the Earth and slowly succumbing to the Ruin just like everyone else. For added irony, he was the one that ordered Luna's death to begin with, making his eventual fate his own fault.
Identity Amnesia: At the very beginning Casshern doesn't remember anything from his past, including his name. Thus he begins a quest to remember who he is, and the truth behind his past (particularly, Luna's death), though he never really remembers much of his past by himself, and only learns of it from others.
I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Casshern's killing of Luna, which was what set off the Ruin in the first place and led to so much suffering. While he doesn't remember killing her, he feels responsible for the after effects.
Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The reasons behind Luna's assassination, her true purpose, the origin of the Ruin, Casshern’s immortality and pretty much anything else that happened before the beginning of the story is revealed very little by little, forcing the viewer to pay attention through the whole series and fit the pieces together, with some elements even being only implied and never outright stated as such. In fact, a second viewing is almost guaranteed to grant newer insight into the plot as a whole, since random elements that appeared unimportant upon first watching will suddenly gain a new meaning.
Kill 'em All: Along with all the dead One Shot Characters, out of all the recurring characters, only Casshern, Luna, Ringo and Friender make it to the end of the story.
Lady and Knight: Janice (Bright Lady) is introduced with a heroic robot bodyguard (White Knight). He is almost immediately killed and his place taken by Casshern.
Left Hanging: Leda’s past, her connection to the lab where Luna was created and whatever happened to her while she was pregnant, as well as the fate of her unborn child are never explained, aside from it all having been fairly traumatic. It’s very heavily implied that Ringo is actually her child, but how exactly did she end up where Ohji later found her, is also for the viewer to imagine.
And then there's the Prism from episode 18. All we are ever told by Ohji is that it has Luna's nanocells and he needs to study it. It's never seen again and we have no idea what happened to it.
All of the robots that want to eat Casshern are this trope. They're pissed because they were enjoying immortality and now they can't because of the Ruin.
The other robots follow rumors of Luna's revival in the hopes that she can make them live forever too.
Luna herself enjoys eternity and is determined to make every robot in her presence share in it if they want.
Lyrical Dissonance: The opening theme song sounds like a relatively catchy pop-rock song. It's about fearing the unknown and uses a verse about flowers in a barren landscape as a metaphor for people clinging together in the face of death.
Mauve Shirt: Do yourself a favor and don't get attached to any of the one-shot characters. Unfortunately, most of them are written so well that it's hard not to.)
Mechanical Lifeforms: Robots became Ridiculously Human Robots, but they still couldn't breed (meaning that newer robots had to be built, either by humans or other robots) nor grow (so if a robot is created as a child or baby, they remain so forever). For this reason Braiking Boss askedOhji to create robots that could actually function as an actual specie and thus, Casshern, Dio and Leda where created, being heavily implied that Ringo is actually Dio and Leda's child.
Mind Screw: Episode 18. Lyuze experiences some pretty abstract dreams of her dead sister Liza, along with repeated photographs of a live action woman who may or may not be Lyuze's voice actress.
No Immortal Inertia: While the Ruin moves much slower than how this trope is usually applied, it can still be shown to affect robots much faster than rust would affect machinery in real life. At one point a robot strong enough to choke the life out of another is suddenly blown away by a strong wind. Suffice to say, the Ruin moves at the speed of plot.
One-Shot Character: Since he’s Walking the Earth, Casshern seems to meet at least one of these (sometimes several, though the main focus is still only on one of them) on almost every single episode for more than half of the series. They will usually teach him an important lesson about living your life to its fullest. The worst part of this is that at least half of them should have been seen again (see, What Happened to the Mouse?).
Stock Footage: Some battle scenes are reused a few times during the course of the show.
Superpowered Evil Side\Unstoppable Rage: We're not quite sure what Casshern's snapping exactly is, but whatever it is, it leaves nothing but complete devastation in its wake. This is quite tragic for Casshern himself, who personally seems to have very little awareness once it starts - he basically comes back around to see that everything he was getting friendly with has been torn into shreds and to wonder why his hands are soaked in oil.
The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Lyuze eventually tells Casshern that he's not allowed to die until she kills him and gets revenge for her sister. Though eventually, she refuses to let him die so that he can find a way to save the world instead.
Trailers Always Spoil: The dub version's tagline spoils the entire theme of death being preferable to immortality. It's part of the title graphic as well, so you get reminded once an episode that the Ruin is actually the robots' salvation.
Turned Against Their Masters: As part of the backstory, the robots at some point in the past rebelled against humanity (led by Braiking Boss) and wiped the vast majority of it. Interestingly, plenty of powerful robots decided to stay on the side of humanity by their own choice and are the main reason why we weren’t completely obliterated in the first place.
Unresolved Sexual Tension: There’s plenty of this between Casshern and Lyuze once they start traveling together, but unlike most cases, it doesn’t take them that long to resolve it.
Episode 18 even gives us a glimpse inside Lyuze’s head, and the conflict between her hate against her sister’s killer and her newfound love for the actual man he has become, as well as the fairly trippy nightmares this is giving her.
Waif-Fu: Regularly employed by everyone who isn't a mook. Somewhat justified since they're all robots and thus not susceptible to human biology.
Walking the Earth: What Casshern and most of the main characters do through the vast majority of the series.
This is also what Casshern decides at the ending, promising to travel the world forever in order to become death for those who don't know of it (mainly Luna’s immortals). To quote his parting words:
Casshern (to Luna): “If they can live, then it's better than just dying. I won't oppose you. But… If you… if any of you ever forget about death, then I’ll be back”.
What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to Bolton, the injured robot Casshern left behind with the promise that he would get Luna to heal him? We never hear of him again.
And for that matter, whatever happened to every single character, human or robot, that Casshern meet through the first half of the series and wasn’t dead by the end of its episode or didn’t fulfill their goal? Does Sophita ever meet Casshern again as she promised? Is Janice still bringing hope to humans and robots through her songs? Do Jin and his group ever find Luna? Does Toro ever get to repair Gido? We will never know. And while they aren't the focus of the story, all of humanity could be included here as well, since after they get to Luna, no human appears ever again on the story, and the fate of humanity by the ending is anyone's guess.
White Hair, Black Heart: Dio is certainly pretty enough to qualify, and cruel enough at the beginning, though he may not be completely evil.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: After realizing how the robots saved by Luna become completely devoid of a purpose in life once she grants them immortality, Lyuze, Ringo and eventually Ohji decide they would rather die from the Ruin, but with their feelings and personalities intact.
The first one to accept his death, rather than become immortal was Dune. Dio, and eventually, Leda, also count, both deciding to die from the Ruin in the end. Same thing with Braiking Boss, who despite bringing plenty of robots to drink Luna's blood to be saved from the Ruin, decides not to do it himself and dies fighting Casshern, as a way to repent for his role in the current state of the world.
Originally, Luna granted both immortal humans and robots alike the gift of a natural death, until Braiking Boss sent Casshern to kill her.
What You Are in the Dark: One of the major themes of the series. Once-immortal robots now have to deal with the prospect of inevitable yet unpredictable Ruin. What do they do about it? Some sit and wait for the end. Some stake everything on rumors of immortality in a desperate attack against an immortal robotic killing machine. As the series reveals, still others cross the wasteland in search of salvation in the form of the reborn Luna. And some just try to find purpose or meaning in their actions before their Ruin, despite the hatred of those who surrendered to nihilism and despair.