Most of Space Brothers 13 was a question: Why are we spending billions of dollars sending people into space when we could devote the funds to something more worthwhile?” The three teams in their little environments are asked to write a rebuttal to a harsh TV critic, and while they do so we’re presented with practical answers (advances in technology) and more philosophical or spiritual ones. An interesting dilemma because the latter goals are more far-reaching but hardly able to convince a “2-D” thinker like the lady on TV. Mutta again distinguishes himself with an unconventional answer.
But I was more interested in the contrasting thought processes Nitta and Mutta show early on. Nitta feels JAXA wants calm, deliberate people. Meanwhile Mutta seems to simply react to whatever is placed in front of him. His mindset, unless confronted with something like the big question of the episode, is practical, sometimes instinctual. The problem is resolved, you move on. I was reminded of when I watched “Nightline” the night of the Challenger disaster. They had two guests, Ray Bradbury and Chuck Yaeger. For their final thoughts Bradbury spoke eloquently about space and dreams; Yeager simply said “They’ll find the glitch, they’ll fix it. They’ll move on.” Both are valid. This may be one of the reasons why Mutta is still in the astronaut exam.
Everything that’s bad or depressing in Sankarea is concentrated into one character: Dan’Ichirou, that complete tool of a man who kept Rea locked up in that mansion with no friends and took naked pictures of her every year, while boasting about his superior genes and moral direction. You want to see him slapped down–hard, especially because it’s mostly his fault Rea “died” in the first place. Worst of all is that he follows through on his sick whims and has the money and power to do it. So it looks bad indeed for defenseless Chihiro. But Dan’Ichirou is defeated the moment he gets Chihiro into the dojo to duel.
What must have been going through Chihiro’s mind? Here’s a rich, violent, sick ninny trying to force him to fight him. Chihiro would have no chance if he went through with it. In fact, he finds the whole situation so ridiculous that he spends a minute mocking it, and a few more mocking Dan’Ichirou himself. Dan’Ichiro has no defence. That Chihiro delivers this ridicule in that blasé tone he always has only makes it funnier. Meanwhile, Rea has been taken captive by two maids and forced to put on costumes. There is no reason for this, but it helps undercut any tension Chihiro hasn’t laughed away, and gives the fans a look at her in a bunny costume.
When Dan’Ichiro snaps and runs Chihiro through, we get a technical explanation for him not dying, but mostly we get proof that Dan’Ichirou has no clue how the rest of the world lives, or at least how this anime works. Anything serious is going to get a dose of humor along with it, an element that may turn and make you look idiotic while everyone laughs. I don’t think he even knows the meaning of humor, or irony. He can only smile when he’s in complete control. It’s partly why his household is so miserable and why he loses Rea. And so, back home, Chihiro, Rea, Ranko and the maids have a completely silly scene for themselves, away from the threat. Well, Ranko’s a threat, but more of a heartbreak one.
It’s hard remembering what was going on in Eureka Seven Ao after its week off, and I was almost at the point of not caring. But episode 10 was good enough to regain my interest. More than anyone else Ivica dominates this episode. Rebecka has her moments too what with her dark secrets and interesting bargaining position she used to allow GenBleu to enter US territory and take on the latest secret, but it’s mostly Ivica’s show. To actually cross the Arizona border without authorization demonstrates that his motives are somewhat different from GenBleu’s, which is a good thing, and makes us (and Ao and the Pied Piper girls) spend much of the time wondering what goes on in his head, well at least after his heroic actions during the battle. And there’s a nice use of the Pied Piper legend as metaphor, which they play with but don’t overuse. However, Ao goes from shell-shock to quick-thinking and decisive not very realistically, but maybe they just wanted to give him something to do. Alas, there’s more of “Truth” this episode. I really wish they would do away with him. Every time he comes on I want to turn the show off.
Natsuiro Kiseki 12 sent me into a brief panic. When the girls were sitting near that shrine in Tokyo idly wishing that the summer wouldn’t end, I grew suspicious, then came the two rocks glowing right before the ED. And then … I settled down. This series is only supposed to run one more episode. What are they going to do, make an “Endless Two?” No wild looping in store for us here; this series isn’t like that. Instead, I think the girls are getting an extension because Natsumi isn’t ready to let Saki move away yet. While everyone in this show is sad about it, they’re pretty much resolved. Only Natsumi, with those lines made bitter out of sadness and her sudden illness, hasn’t come around. The previews show the girls having fun with their extra time, but I have the feeling Natsumi’s acceptance will make the finale bittersweet. As for the idol auditions, it was all expected, and the girls kept it in perspective except for Yuka, which was also expected.
Polar Bear’s Cafe 12 has a slightly higher number of good moments than its average. Panda passing the time during the slow period at work kept throwing little surprises and non-sequitors at us, like Full-Time Panda’s hidden model collection. But mostly it makes you wonder how the long-suffering zookeeper Mr. Handa manages to cope. The second half is all about him, well, the Pandas make it about him, and his lack of a girlfriend. And at the end it almost seems as though the show is trying to pair him off with Sasako the waitress. Maybe not, but it would explain the ED sequence they’ve been using recently.