Try to imagine the “Star Wars” prequels if Jar Jar Binks had been the main character, and you have a pretty good notion of why Last Exile’s sequel is simply unable to take flight.
This episode is full of the same problems that have plagued the series since the very beginning, so as not to be a broken record I won’t rehash them in grisly detail. Fam simply weighs down the show too much for it to ever amount to anything – her scenes are close to unwatchable, and instead of developing she seems to be regressing even more as the rest of the series gets grimmer and darker, and she stays exactly the same as she’s been all along. Sophia got a mention this week, and Claus and Lavie turned up in the preview. Now admittedly the preview is of another recap episode – and two recap eps in 16 weeks is an embarrassment for Gonzo – but I don’t think they’d show them even in that context if they weren’t about to enter the story. With Anatoray and Sophia about to become central that makes sense, but my fear is that Gonzo thinks they can save the show by injecting the stars of the first one into it now. To be honest, I’m hoping the three of them don’t show up – I’d rather their contribution to the mythos stand as is that see it mixed in with the sequel.
I’ll be skipping the recap ep unless there’s something notable in it, and it seems like a good opportunity to put the series on blogging hiatus. If nothing has changed in 15 eps it’s not likely to change now, and in rereading my posts on the first few episodes I realize my view on the series’ problems is almost identical now to what it was then – except that I have much less hope that things will get better. My approach for the rest of the series is that I’ll continue to watch and if I see something noteworthy I’ll blog it.
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE – 17
This arc definitely feels like more of a traditional school drama than the first did, at least so far. We have Zeheart emerging as a love rival for Romary’s affections, we have a good deal of focus on Asem’s friends (who look too young to be classmates of a 17 year-old, and act even younger) and we have the developing prospect of a conflicted relationship between Asem and both his embittered father and his double-agent friend. The focus on more conventional relationships in this arc is paired with a general lighter tone and faster pace, though there’s plenty of violence and potential for heartbreak here, too. I think it’s fair to say that now that the UE have a name and faces, the morality of the conflict driving the series is much more clouded than it was in the first arc, and that’s a positive change in my view. I’m not emotionally invested in this batch of characters yet, but there’s definitely potential there.
Shakugan no Shana III – 17
That was a pretty fascinating episode on the whole. Yeah, just what we needed, more character names to remember – but the three Earth Gods’ introduction was really a minor part of the episode, which centered mostly on giving some exposition at long last to the nature of Yuki/Snake of the Festival, and of his plan. We got some standard obsessing over Shana cuteness, a brief cut-in of the Flame Haze fighting amongst themselves in Switzerland, and then things shifted back to Misaki City – and got really interesting.
I’m curious, so please feel free to comment – am I the only one who totally thinks Yuji’s plan sounds a lot better than anything the Flame Haze have come up with as an argument against it? The God of Creation sounds like an idealist, there’s no question, but I really haven’t seen anything from the other side except that fighting is all they know how to do. It was extremely interesting to hear Yuji explain his existence to Tanaka and Yoshida, and it really does seem as if the part of this existence that’s actually still Yuji believes in this plan of his own free will. He was startlingly honest with his old friends about what his plan was, including the risk it was putting Misaki City under, though he never did give a good answer about just what he needs Yoshida for. For her part it seems clear she still isn’t over Yuji in spite of everything that’s happened, and since she’s always been something of a tragic figure in this series it wouldn’t surprise me to see Yoshida go out that way. It was nice to see Ike and Ogata too, however briefly – a real flashback to days gone by.