Captain Earth – 09

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If you’re looking for Ogone energy in Tokyo, Shinjuku (Kabuki-cho specifically) is probably as good a place as any…

If only science could put Captain Earth and Sidonia no Kishi together, like human and gauna – combining their best elements into one super-being.  Well – maybe not a super-being – but a super-freaky one anyway.  I don’t know what that result would look like but it would surely be interesting at the very least.  The strengths seem to complement the other’s weaknesses awfully well, and I suppose it’s just that much more of a reminder that shows that manage to get everything right are an extreme rarity.

I like Sidonia no Kishi most of the time, and I like Captain Earth most of the time too – though in the latter case that’s in the face of a pretty stiff headwind in terms of English-language viewer opinion.  An episode like this one is a good example of both the charms of CE and its limitations.  Akari Yomatsuri is a pretty shameless character – stick a cute girl in micro-shorts and belly blouses and pump her full of tech wizardry and otaku slang and it’s going to pretty hard to completely whiff with anime audiences in this day and age.  But she’s a lot of fun regardless, and while I find her less interesting than the more distinctive and edgy examples of the trope (Frau Kojiro springs to mind) she does bring a lot of energy and humor to the episodes that strongly feature her.  Like this one.

I’m also finding that I like Captain Earth better when it’s set in Tokyo than Tanegashima.  The familiar urban settings are somehow a more interesting backdrop for the unfolding battle-of-wits between the humans and Planetary Gears – a battle which, so far, is pretty close to a draw.  Globe manages to stymie the PG every time they try to activate a Kill T. Gang on Earth, but it’s the aliens who are driving the action.  They’re always a step ahead, for example, when it comes to getting to the Designer Children – and in this case that means Ai (Yamamoto Nozomi) a popular idol riddled by insecurities who’s just been “outed” as having come from a harsh background (in the upside-down, depraved world of idol fandom, I suppose this too would be an unforgivable crime).

You’d think, especially with Akari’s mahou shoujo script kiddie skills, that Globe would be doing everything they could to get to the Designer Children before the Planetary Gears do – after all, that’s really nipping the Kill T. Gang issue in the bud.  But there’s no evidence that they were looking for either Ai or Zin, or at least that they had any idea of where they might be (even if Pitz’s warnings were a clue).  The other interesting element about Ai and Zin is that both – though in quite different ways – seem much happier once their ego blocks are activated.  Of all the DCs we’ve met so far Teppei is the oddball in that respect.

Teppei’s developing role in the story is that of not having a role in the story.  Since he became a Muggle he really hasn’t had much to do, but it’s a positive that the story is acknowledging this, and it’s certainly going to come to a head soon (maybe next week).  Meanwhile the spine of this ep surrounds Moco and Amara’s kidnapping of Akari right off the streets of Shinjuku in broad daylight (violent crime is exceedingly rare here, but Tokyoites are legendary for not interfering when they see it happening).  It’s a very sound stratagem on their part, though not especially sound thinking on the part of Globe to let someone who’s both a great asset and who knows way too many of their secrets roam about unprotected (and I don’t really blame Teppei – if anything he should have been under firm orders to guard her at all times).  The plan is simple – take Akari’s first kiss.  And if there’s time, use her to kibosh Globe’s defense systems so they can’t interfere in Aiatar’s (that would actually make a more interesting idol name) coming out party.

I quite liked the way this battle played out, with Daichi pretty much forced to MacGyver a solution on his own and Akari outwitting Amara and Moco.  The nature of Akari’s talent is such that you have to let her hook up to use it, but in doing so you’re taking a big gamble that she’ll do something bigger than what she’s ordered to do.  Her solution is a good one – “Let me go or these humans and their pheromones are dead!”  That showed both nerve and tactical wit on her part, but in the larger scheme of things it amounts to pretty much one more standoff between these two sides, and I suspect that’s going to be the state of affairs for quite a while yet.

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  1. K

    The new girl is hot and Akari was such a badass. So calm and collected.

  2. J

    Why do the PGs, evidently an ancient spacefaring species, have to come off as a bunch of goggle-eyed, lip-licking twits?

  3. R

    to be honest, I am not really liking the episodic manner they are doing with the introduction of the other designer children. It somehow feels clunky.

    But hey, this episode is good. Especially that last twist of Akari actually being dead serious about blowing up the planet. Hope they call back on that one later.

    And yay! Teppei finally gets to pilot something.

  4. R

    "The duel of the week format worked quite well in Utena because each was filled with symbolism that progressed the greater themes of the story."

    actually, that has always been one of my biggest gripes with CE. Those "symbolism" simply doesn't seem to amount to anything in the story, And yeah, there is still that severe lack of meaningful and continuous character exploration and development that would really draw a viewer in. Only Teppei seems to be getting that introspection and Hana has, well, close to nothing.

    So, yeah, still watching this on a per episode basis, and I don't think that CE is going to be one of those series that I will rewatch once it is over.

  5. Z

    I don't think Akari should even be let out of the building, let alone sent out buy a new computer. No wonder Team Rocket+2 is ahead of the curve. They don't even need to do anything.

  6. m

    I still think the show is entertaining. Not groundbreaking or deep, but solid entertainment each week.

    I'm glad someone finally called Akari out on that stupid "I'm a magical girl" shit. "Logical, Logical" is the dumbest catch phrase of all time. I don't know if it's a problem that pops up when Japanese people try to use English words, or if they really understand what that means and just made a poor decision, but it's really annoying.

  7. R

    for all my issues with the series, I actually find Akari's "Logical, logical" phrase quite amusing. Considering how non-hackers often see the work as "magic" (hence her magical girl schtick), those who do understand it will often see it as something composed of several simple, logical steps. So, her catchphrase is more like a brag saying "You idiots don't understand how easy it is?"

  8. m

    That's a stretch. I don't think they were thinking that deep when they wrote it, I could be wrong, but I won't accept that unless the writers came out and said it themselves. Do nonhackers see it as magic? I dunno she just annoys me sometimes, except when she's threatening to blow up the world. When she's serious she's a lot more likable.

  9. R

    Do nonhackers see it as magic? That's why i put the word in quotes. It's more of the figurative meaning of the term. But, yeah, it is a bit of a stretch on my part.

  10. m

    Well your theory does fit, and so I can't say for sure it isn't correct. I've just never been of the mind to read so deeply into things without actual confirmation. It's always easier to make a conclusion fit the evidence after the fact than it is to make something piece together so well you can't deny it. If you have to dig that deep into something to make it fit, it's generally a sign of bad writing, or at least needlessly convoluted writing. Like people who tried to make the ending of Clannad fit. Yeah you can explain it so it COULD make sense, but if that's what the writers intentions were, than it's poor writing. She died bc she had to or the MC wouldn't have made that wish. They didn't write it well enough. And it feels the same here, it's essentially the same concept as a Zebra in medicine. The most obvious answer is usually correct. It's just a catchphrase, and personally I hate characters who have weird little catchphrases. I find them annoying. I wouldn't say logical really applies to hacking, it's a misuse of an English word. I know that's a trivial thing to be annoyed by, but it's apparently a pet peeve of mine.

  11. R

    Well, considering the many gripes I have with Captain earth (bad writing and all), Akari's silly catchphrase is not really something that would bug me.

    "She died bc she had to or the MC wouldn't have made that wish."

    That's definitely one of the weirdest interpretations of Clannad's ending that I've heard.

  12. m

    Haha it's not really an interpretation. It's just that the writing was bad, so they had no way of getting to the "true end" from the game without killing Ushio off. If she was alive whatever his name is wouldn't have made that wish bc he was happy. It's bad writing, not really much of an interpretation. My point was the interpretations of that show I came across all picked aspects of the show to make their theory fit, which isn't how proving theories works. Logically and scientifically speaking anyway. Unless the writers came out and said that was it, it's faaaar more likely it was just bad writing…."if you hear hoofbeats, you just go ahead and think horsey" -Dr to speak.

  13. R

    Never really felt that way with Clannad's ending (I didn't play the VN, mind you). Though I wouldn't say that it was excellent writing, it still fell in just right for me, even without trying to come up with those convoluted theories. My problem with After Story, in particular, was that there was just too many side stories. They could have cut some of those to make room for building up the ending.

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