Tegami Bachi Reverse – 7

First rhinos, now sea lions

Letter Bee continues to impress with dazzling new landscapes, crazy place names (Blue Note Blues – superb!) and odd animal conveyances. Bes of all, the story is on track and continues to impress every week.

Wow, a lot sure happened this week. Zazie really got a chance to shine – first, trying to take Lag’s place in journeying to the North to look for Gauche. Then, standing up to Noir when the latter stole his letters. His concern for Lag and fervent hope that he would not suffer the same fate as his own parents was really good stuff. Of course, he and Wasiolka were no match for Gauche and Roda, but his courage was all the more inspiring because of it.

In the course of following Gauche’s trail to the small northern village of Blue Note Blues, Lag finds one of his friend’s old shindan cartridges and shoots it. In the ensuing explosion the ice cracks, leaving Lag stranded at the bottom of a crevasse as Gauche’s memories rain down on him. There are some interesting tidbits in those memories, not least of which that “Noir” had an interaction with his sister. Sylvette didn’t see his face, but Gauche recognized her – if only for a moment. Speaking of recognizing, Niche recognized the little village in the North – turns out, she was born there 200 years earlier. Looks like Niche’s past is about to be revealed.

There was a lot to digest there. We seem to have a real moral dilemma building here. Judging by Gauche’s memories he’s acting entirely of his own free will as a marauder, even if his memories of his prior life are almost gone. Even more troubling, as we’ve seen hinted at earlier the larger struggle here is not a black and white one. It does indeed appear as if a very unfair system exists here, with only the privileged few in the capitol allows to see the light of the Amberground sun. The “One Who Could Not Become Spirit” may indeed be a terrorist, but are his goals as stated entirely unjust? I fear for Lag, here – he’s such an innocent that if he precious Bees are proved to be the tools of something nefarious, it’s going to shatter his black-and-white view of the world.

In terms of the episode itself, I continue to be impressed by both the perfect pacing and the amazing visuals. This isn’t Moribito-like in terms of smooth and seamless animation and detailed backgrounds, but Letter Bee has an ability to create memorable, beautiful images. I loved the frozen wasteland of the North, the little village on the edge of the glacier, and the shots of Lag at the bottom of the crevasse, staring up at a snowfall of Gauche’s memories. There’s an almost Western look to the style, but still uniquely Japanese.

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