Captain Earth – 23

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Yup, that was as BONES as it gets.

Welcome to the “Eureka Seven episode” of Captain Earth.  It’s tempting to label the director and writer of CE as the “Star Driver guys” but there’s a hell of a lot more in their resumes, both at BONES and outside.  I think both Enokido and Igarashi are very much a product of the system, mecha anime guys through and through who learned the ropes at Gainax and BONES and more than being captured with a specific series like Star Driver (which frankly isn’t all that good in my opinion), they’re part and parcel of the non-Sunrise orthodoxy of how to tell a mecha story.  And it really shines through in an episode like this one.

I suspect there’s going to be an element of preaching to the choir with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, as this episode is aptly titled.  If you’ve bought what Captain Earth is selling I suspect this ep will work for you as well as it did for me, but if you’re a hater (which seems to be most of you) it will play like so much piffle.  It’s going to be dismissed as time-wasting filler, but it’s not – I think this was an essential part of the story Enokido is telling with this series, and I was very fond of the way it was executed, too.

Structurally this was a classic BONES Acperience-style surreality trip, the events of the first episode more or less replayed except with the various Planetary Gears popping up in key roles.  No, I don’t know exactly why Daichi was thrown into this vision when he slammed into the Garm – but it doesn’t really seem fair to hold Captain Earth to a higher standard than every other Gainax or BONES sci-fi that uses this device and doesn’t explain it.  Rather, I think the point is that this is Daichi questioning his own choices – which is a vital part of the main character experience in this kind of show.  And of course the P.G.’s are there to represent his self-doubts, though to an intriguing degree they maintain elements of their true nature.

I very much like the way the whole thing was staged, from the nice touches like the arm reaching in from off-camera to turn off the bank of TVs when they were pushing Daichi too close to the truth to the (that’s a seven-word alliteration with the letter T, by the way – eight if you count “that’s”) subtly dreamlike nature of the backgrounds and crowds.  “Real people don’t die” seems to be an expression of the Planetary Gears core philosophy, and especially interesting was Setsuna’s appearance.  It definitely reflects the uncertainty that grips her and the potential for a shared understanding with Daichi, but “I’m not ready to go your way – yet” seems to speak for itself.  There’s also a glimpse of the mysterious blue-haired recorder-to-randoseru child, who gives Daichi a little push back to reality (and it never occurred to me before, but Pitz’ tail is the same color.  Hmmm…).

Standard BONES nonsense or clever use of symbolism?  I guess it depends on the perspective.  It’s hard for me to see “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as anything but an archetypal development, because from the beginning I’ve felt that Captain Earth was something of an amalgam of the BONES sci-fi that have come before it.  I’m a card-carrying member of this club, so don’t look to me for a ringing condemnation of this episode for fluffiness or irrelevance because you’re not going to get it.  If this sort of thing doesn’t work for you, you were probably never going to buy into Captain Earth to begin with – and again, that seems to be most of you, so I’ll be surprised if this ep is well-received.  For me it was one of the most interesting and well-crafted of the series, and a continuation of the strong conclusion that the show has been building for quite some time.

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  1. R

    Okay, I will be blunt with this one. This episode is probably the most pointless they have gone with the whole series.

    Sure, you could say that this is supposed to show Daiichi fully embracing his resolve to finght the PG's, there's just one thing wrong though. The series barely raised a conflict regarding Daiichi's hesitations (which is in fact practically nil), and have already hammered countless times that he is very much into the captain thing way before this one. So, what's the whole point of doing this gibberish now?

    And putting the PG's to act out the parts of the characters in the opening episode is pretty much nonsensical. Why? Because they barely interacted with Daichi throughout the series to actually affect his psyche.

    what an utter waste of 25 minutes.

  2. Says the man who's been ripping the series every week. My question is why are you still watching?

  3. R

    Oh, don't get me wrong. I am not ripping the series every week, only half of it (like I mentioned last time, I really liked the first eps until that DC arc, and still liked a few bits here and there). Why am I still watching this? Morbid curiosity perhaps. I rarely drop a series when I am already halfway through it. .

  4. Obviously, your opinion is totally valid. But aside from the masochistic side of it (it's hard to see deriving any pleasure from watching a show you dislike week after week, surely) you have to see it from the other side… Although it's not the intended effect, when the criticisms are lobbed from the same sources week after week, it starts to seem as if the intent is to try and piss on the enjoyment of anyone who disagrees.

  5. R

    Yeah i would agree with that take, it might seem so, but really I am not here to rain on anyone's enjoyment . In fact, there are so many elements that i like about CE (for instance, I actually like the second OP more and I am definitely a fan of the mech designs). It's just I can't help but be disappointed because this was really one of the series that I was totally looking forward to before.

  6. H

    Careful there Enzo, you might somewhat come off the same to others by continually reducing Barakamon nearly every week. ;p

  7. I know you're being a smart-ass, but I was actually concerned about that. But I say enough positive things about the show that I hope it doesn't come off as monotonal. That's for others to decide.

  8. m

    I was really worried about this ep when I saw the previews last week. I really thought it was going to be a complete time waste, but I ended up liking it. I don't think it was inherently necessary, or that it wasn't something we could have done without, but I found the execution entertaining. I guess that's my feelings on the show overall though: yeah there were problems, and much of it not needed, but still very entertaining overall. I do agree with you that the issue of Daichi's resolve never seemed to be a problem before, and at least felt confirmed completely when he thought he killed Teppei. That felt like the conclusive moment for his character setting his resolve to do whatever he had to do to save the earth, and throwing away the "childish" notion that he could save the world and all of his friends without any collateral damage.

    I'm 100% with you on not dropping something that I've seen a certain amount of. It's in no way "masochistic" because it's not as if you gain any pleasure out of the disliking something. I wouldn't necessarily call it "morbid" curiosity either. More like regular curiosity of wanting to know how something ends once you've heard enough of the story. I can probably count on two hands the number of shows I couldn't stomache enough to finish, and currently Glasslip made it to the point of not enough remaining eps to stop watching. I outright hate that show, and every single one of its characters, but I can't help but wonder where the hell its going. Jokes on me if the answer is nowhere, but part of me thinks that, even if I hate the ending and the characters, it all has to be leading to some sort of point. Haha either way I'm right there with you having wasted way too much of my time watching shows I wasn't that into. Though CE for me is fun, and at it's best moments as good as most shows that have aired in the same seasons.

    Maybe the PG's aren't figmants of his imagination, but are actually controlling that "world" trying to make him give up. It explains the fact that characters he hasn't interacted with are telling him things he should have no way of knowing. Looking at it from that view it makes more sense.

  9. C

    I don't know about that alliteration comment… Alliteration goes by sound, not letters, and th and even the t in "truth" (ch) are distinct sounds. 😛

    And speaking of manner of speaking… I wonder if I'm not the only one who was starting to get really annoyed by hearing Setsuna's "nano desu." a million times in a row. I wonder if it's actually even remotely normal for Japanese people to have these weird "desu" variations that anime gives some their characters… most of them are just really annoying.

  10. s

    alliteration, while primarily defined by reoccurring consonant sounds, there are times where the repetition of the same letter is also counted as alliteration

  11. M

    I think the PG were really there through the magic of the star drive.It was something of a psychic attack on Daichi since we see elements of the PG that we know but Daichi does not. Also Akari seemed to be affected, we just did not see hers.

  12. R

    Teppei was affected too. How I wish they actually showed what those two dreamed about.

  13. R

    I think the PG appeared in his dream because of the relation they have with the Entangle Link, they probably managed to connect and tried to sway him away when the opportunity arised.

    By the way, don't know how much haters does this show have, but as for myself, I like it a great deal.

  14. m

    I think it's a whole lot easier to like the show if you stop worrying about the things that aren't working so well, and focus on the many aspects in which the show is amazing. I could point to many issues with the show (my biggest is the wasted time on transformation and PG introductions) but in spite of them, I still find my interest in the show grows every week, and it's the first one I watch each weekend. Maybe bc I enjoy the show a lot I don't get annoyed at the problems, but instead it's more of a slight disappointment at the thought of how great it could've been. It had the potential to be one of the best Bones shows ever, but still ranks above average in my book. And average-above average Bones is still way above the average for most anime.

  15. K

    I admit that was interesting.

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