Captain Earth is starting to get positively Valvraveian in its plotting. You name it, we’re seeing it – and my initial suspicion that this was an amalgam of sci-fi and mecha tropes in general in much the same way Valvrave was a one-stop compendium of Sunrise history may just be holding true. I feel now as I did then that CE is less BONES-specific than Valvrave was Sunrise-specific – more of a general survey course in sci-fi anime as a whole – but at the halfway point there’s the same sense of every possible ingredient being dumped into the pot, without the chef having much certainty about whether the finished dish will taste right.
This episode brought us back to the Designer Child of the Week format, but to a certain extent it did feel quite different from earlier examples. For starters, while Baku (Toyonaga Toshiyuki) – Planetary Gear name “Bugbear” – is obviously the last DC and obviously important, there’s a sense that other revelations and possibly other characters introduced (or re-introduced) are even more so. And the episode ends without giving us a clear idea on which side Bugbear is going to end up.
The focus for much of the episode is the fight club that’s held somewhere beneath the streets of Tokyo. It’s run by the same Yakuza gang that controls the Odaiba casino, and we even see the same strongman, Kariya Haruhiko (Onozuka Takashi) that was in charge of Zin acting as a kind of ringleader here. The head of the family is played by either Hayami Sho or Nakata Jouji – to be honest I always find it hard to tell them apart – and he and his daughter (who Kariya is obviously interested in and possibly engaged to) are involved in several mysteries. She’s sweet on Baku, and plagued nightly by terrible dreams – dreams which it seems are connected to a new wildcard. That would be the “Magus incident” – which might just be a boating disaster in which the Ojou-sama was drowned. That same daughter was also brought to the fight club by her father and “chose” Baku – though just what that means isn’t really explained.
As if all that weren’t enough, it turns out that Kariya is apparently immortal himself. After Amara and Moko break up a fight club evening re-introducing themselves to Bugbear he and his goons give chase, Zin extracts a little revenge against his old nemesis by running his heart through with a red-hot steel beam. But Kariya wakes up in the ambulance after he’s been declared dead, and declares himself undead (literally). It seems very likely that he and the Ojou-sama at the very least are immortal – or at least brought back from the dead in her case – and her father is clearly a candidate for strange goings-on as well.
Almost halfway in, it’s still an open question how well all of this is going to work. There’s some interesting intrigue here, and it seems very clear there are multiple conspiracies at work rather than a single unifying good vs. evil dynamic – I think perhaps the biggest question of all being whether or not there’s any actual alien involvement here or not. Captain Earth can plant the seeds but at some point it’s going to have to prove that it can provide compelling answers, too. The other concern I have is that the character development of the Midsummer’s Knights has gotten pretty stagnant with all these DC introduction eps, especially Daichi’s. The scene where Hana kissed him while he slept was cute, but he’s been so little involved of late and she’s gotten so little development period that it didn’t have the impact it otherwise might. This was a pretty good ep on the whole – not as good as last week’s but better than the several before – but I’m still on the fence about CE’s long-term prospects.