Tegami Bachi is a definitely a series that thrives on formula, but it threw a real curveball this week. The episode was full of time jumps and began in the middle, with Lag mysteriously working at an “imagery lighthouse” under the name Lugh with his grandfather. Lag seems perfectly at home in this scenario, except for the mysterious ghostly voice that keeps warning him to flee. Eventually there are visions, too – of a four-eyed shadowy monster and mysterious bruises on his body. In short, the first half of the episode plays like a traditional ghost story.
|That’s our Lag|
It’s only in the second act that the truth is revealed, and in this we have a classic sentimental Letter Bee scenario. Apparently the old man was the lighthouse keeper – and is there any lonelier job? – and was abandoned by his son, who took his beloved grandson with him. Driven half-mad by loneliness he set down his imaginary life with his grandson in a series of fake letters and journals, pouring so much heart into them that Lag was swept up in the delusion and a gaichu was attracted to the heart. Despite Niche’s best efforts (“I even tried licking you, biting you, dropping you, stomping on you, grabbing you, and dropping you!”) it isn’t until it’s almost too late that Lag recognizes the shadow as Niche, and Jiggy Pepper – at last – comes along and saves the day by destroying the gaichu with Niche’s help. The whole idea of a man whose loneliness was so powerful that it created a fantasy world years after his death was poignant, and the lighthouse a perfect setting. Lag, sentimental fool that he is, was the perfect victim but in the end, he still sheds tears for the old man – as always seeing only the kindness and sorrow and not the hate.
That was a very solid episode, in the end very much a classic archetype of the show in substance, though differing greatly in style. Jiggy Pepper knows about Lag’s good deed towards his sister and is grateful – indeed, Jiggy ended up being much more soft-spoken and less of a tool than I expected him to be. Not only that but the other bees all appear to be fanboys of his – Connor and especially Zazie certainly are, and Lag appears to have joined the club. And why not – he rides a chopper on his route, he has a cool raptor for a dingo and he carries himself like James Dean. He’s going to play a major part in the Lag/Gauche scenario before it’s over, of that I’m certain.