Tegami Bachi Reverse – 24

Epic was definitely the order of the day for the penultimate episode of Letter Bee. Some of it was predictable, some surprising – but it packed a good deal of excitement and emotional punch.

Of course this space correctly called out what Largo Lloyd’s “business trip” was – he was off to recruit The Maka to help save Yusari Central. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who pegged that but it’s nice to be right once in a while. On the flip side I didn’t pick up right away that Thunderland was actually still with The Hive, and actually helping out those who were not able to become spirit. Turns out the double agents – triple agents, really – were Signal and Signalless. They still hate the government, but in the end not enough to sacrifice the helpless in order to do it.

All this leads to a sort of standoff at Yusari Central. Everyone of consequence in the series is here, pretty much, and we have an all-out battle – starting with a monster mash that would do “Godzilla vs. King Kong” proud. The new and upgraded Cabernet seems to have the edge in the battle with the Maka, and even with Niche and her (still discreetly covered in the crucial places) sister joining the fray, the beastie seems unbeatable. Meanwhile, Garrard unleashes a jar of powdered spirit bunch more gaichu and making things an even bigger mess.

Of course, you know this can’t end badly with another episode to go. So with Jiggy and the other Bees holding off the other gaichu Lag and Noir try and stop the Cab – which they’re finally able to do after Niche and Onee-chan combine their powers to make a dent in it’s shell. Their combined shindan of brotherhood brings the Cab down – but it doesn’t blow up, so you know it’s not actually dead.

And here’s where things get really interesting. Lawrence has always been a complex villain, given that his motives – if not his tactics – might reasonably be argued to be just. Here he shows he’s a man of his principles. With his gaichu down for the count, he sacrifices himself – offering his own super-charged heart to the Cabernet to replenish it’s strength. And not only does it spring back to live after devouring Lawrence’s heart but it goes super-seiyan yet again – sprouting new wings and unleashing a tornado of debris before taking off. Noir – proving again that heart or no, he’s basically the same kind guy – takes one for Lag and collapses, unconscious and bleeding. And going by the the PV, it looks pretty iffy for him.

I know it always seems that way, but they sure have a lot to sort out in 20 minutes. Noir’s fate (and his identity, if he survives), Lag’s mother, the final battle with the Cabernet, the political struggle between the government and Reverse. If indeed the Cabernet is defeated before it can destroy the sun, I hope the series doesn’t take a pass on holding the government accountable for all they’ve done – this was certainly never a simply good vs. evil scenario with Reverse as the bad guys. I suppose it’s still possible we could see a third season of this – that would certainly give the anime time to settle things – but it doesn’t look like this season was plotted with that in mind.

No, I expect we’re going to get a definitive conclusion of some sort next week, one way or the other. This was a strong set-up for it, although not a great episode overall in my view. It was a little too frantic and action-oriented, because I think this series is better when it gives itself a chance to slow down and let the characters react to what’s happened on screen. I’ll give it credit for this – the moment when Lag and Noir, at long last, fired their shindans in unison was a nice reward for two seasons of buildup. Could it have been Noir’s swan song?

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