Tegami Bachi Reverse – 11

Connor succumbs to the timeless allure of the trap

In some ways Letter Bee is a very difficult show to blog, and I suspect that the reasons may be the same as the ones explaining why it sees so little post traffic on discussion boards. In a sense, the show is so damn good at what it does that it speaks for itself. Every episode is self-contained and perfectly placed, the emotions – while heartfelt – are straightforward, and the plot – while well-crafted and detailed – is so logically rolled out that it’s a piece of cake to understand what’s happening. It’s the tortoise vs. the hare, this show – no flash, no tricks. Just good, honest stories about very real characters.

Of course none of that stops me from trying, and after an episode as good as this one it’s easy to heap on the praise. Lag, Connor and Zazie all get their turns to shine this week. Of course the running gag is how cute Lag looks in a dress – Connor practically drools for him and Zazie calls him “My cutey-pie” after his dramatic rescue (and Lag can count himself lucky he decided to wear his boxers under the skirt). But balancing humor and pathos is something this show does well almost every week, and we have a lot of tragedy to contend with. Valentine and Garrard show up at the abbey, unquestionably Reverse members now, and plan to blow it up to hide their tracks after hatching their plan. The plan? To use the nuns as sacrifices to strengthen the winged gaichu Cabernet (another great name) with their heart. This is the one Noir freed from the Maka’s cave, and Reverse intends to send it to Akatsuki to steal the light from that forbidden capitol. They also dispatch poor Sunny to poison Connor, but she engages in some passive resistance and slips him a mickey in his cookies rather than the ordered poison.

Meanwhile, Lag dashes after Roda, determined to find Gauche and stop whatever plan Reverse is hatching. Lag gets himself into big trouble and Roda is about to finish him off when who should swoop in to the rescue but Zazie, too worried to leave Lag and Connor alone. Roda has stolen both Lag’s gun and his letter bullet, though an attack by Zazie retrieves the gun. Roda retains the letter shindan, so Lag shoots a heart shindan into Noir – to what impact we’re left to wonder until next week. For sure, Gauche now remembers Lag, which is a step forward. But meanwhile, in a scene darkly reminiscent of Spielberg’s remake of “War of the Worlds” the nuns – including Sunny – are dragged into Cabernet’s maw and have their hearts consumed. Strengthened by his repast, the gaichu swoops off towards the capitol to fulfill Reverse’s plan.

As usual, a lot happened here, but it all made sense and never felt rushed. Connor does reveal himself as even more if a simpleton than usual here, but he’s just a big softie by nature – a slave to appetite and unwilling to believe the worst of anyone. Zazie has grown a lot since the early days where he was all tsun and no dere towards Lag – how bad could a boy who loves kittens be, really? – but he really delivers the goods here. He’s no Jiggy Pepper but quite a strong Bee, though I wonder if his affection for Lag might not be somewhat less sarcastic than he lets on. The interesting plot element here is that, for all they seem ruthless and cruel, by no means has it been established that Reverse is fundamentally in the wrong. Their complaints about the government seem quite well-grounded to me, and I think there’s going to be heartbreak for Lag on this topic before the series ends. There’s also the matter of Niche to be resolved, though it looks as if we may see her next week – and I strongly suspect the Maka will be involved in the final battle. But for now the big question – now that Gauche remembers, will his feelings change?

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