Archive for November, 2006
This episode shows a little about how hard life is for most of the citizens in the Empire. Despite the fact that its been a few years since the end of war, life is still hard. Alice is angry. Again. Because Oland is late. Again. And so is Oreld. For the sixth time that month. Oreld finally comes in from the date that he was on. Oland is outside with the gate guards because he found a basket with an infant child in it. Oland comes running into the office carrying the baby. Captain Hunks reads a note out loud from the mother. She can’t raise the baby so hopes that the Army can and turn the baby, Dieter, into a solider. Alice is angry at the fact that a mother could abandon a child. The baby wakes up and starts to cry, everyone in the office unsuccessfully try to pacify the baby until Oreld suggests that it needs to have diapers changed. He gets nominated to change the diapers. Turns out the Dieter has good aim and can shoot for distance. No matter what the team tries to do, the baby only stops crying when Oland is holding him. Alice wants to go search the city for Dieter’s mother. Despite Oreld’s objections, Captain Hunks agrees, claiming that reuniting the mother with Dieter falls under the “war relief” category. Alice, Oreld, and Machs follow a lead that the mother might be in the black market section of the city.
Down in the black market, Alice marches from stand to stand asking about Dieter’s mother. Oreld keeps suggesting that Alice be more discrete because there is no real law in the area and being soldiers won’t guarantee their safety. Since their search is going no where, Oreld leads them to somebody he knows who might be able to help. The meet an older man whom Oreld refers to as “Pops” (they don’t really make it clear whether this is just someone Oreld knows and worked for or is his father). The man is surprised to see Oreld, he didn’t believe the rumors that Orled had joined the Army. Pops doesn’t care about the baby or the teams mission to find the mother. When Alice tries to appeal to him, he scoffs at the fact that she’s a Lieutenant and is Orled’s commanding office. He goes onto mock the teams overall mission of “war relief”. How does finding the mother of an abandoned child offer relief when there are parentless children out on the street.
Alice finds that Oland has taken the child out into a nearby park. Alice is depressed because of what Pops said. She knows that helping find the mother of Dieter won’t help all of the other children that Pops mentioned. But she still will try. Oland notices a lady watching them from nearby and realizes that she’s Dieter’s mother. She starts to run away but Alice manages to stop her. The mother explains that she decided to leave Dieter outside the gates of the Army H.Q. as the only way that Dieter would survive. In the end, Captain Hunks gives the baby back to her.
So here we get a hint of how life is for people who are on the bottom rung of the empire’s class structure. Alice’s idealism won’t let her believe that black markets exist without any legal laws and that smuggling is rampant. Oreld tries to explain to her that people who buy things through the black market are breaking laws in order to survive. We’ve seen a little of how Alice lives and we know that Alice wants to level the playing field between the nobility and commoners, but her idealism causes her to be blind to how the other half really live. And we’re starting learn a little more about the other members of the unit. We know that Oland is homeless, sleeping under a bridge and that Oreld comes from the streets. And it looks like next week’s episode is an Alice’s home life episode. So we get to learn more about her story.No comments
This was a pretty fast paced episode and I think we’re at the start of resolving at least one character’s storyline (based on some of the blogs that I’ve read). By the end of the show, we’ve seen that Yuuichi is one mean smartass and a smooth character. Picking up the last episode, Yuuichi is at the school at night. He’s trying to get some answers from a sword-wielding Mai. When he hears a sound and suddenly gets knocked into a wall, Mai (who speaks even less than Yuki did in the Melancholy of Haruhi) jumps by and starts swinging her sword around. Mai tells him that she’s a demon-slayer. From here we jump to Yuuichi at home, handing Nayuki her notebook from the school. Heading into the bath room in order to take a hot bath, Yuuichi finds Makoto already in there. Yuuichi makes a joke about joining her in the tub. Makoto reacts by throwing things at him and storms out, wet and only wearing a towel. When he’s done, he finds her outside the bathroom with a cold. Yuuichi challenges Makoto by getting her to say “Demon Slayer” for ten times, as fast as she can. As she does it, she winds up biting her tongue much to Yuuichi’s delight. Later, in bed, he’s thinking about Mai and what she said when he ears Makoto sneezing as she walks up the hall. He hides behind the door. Makoto sneaks into his room, intent on getting revenge, Yuuichi steps behind her, picks her up and carries her back to her room. He tells her to stay in bed until she’s over her cold.
The next morning, he walks into the kitchen for breakfast. After finding out that Nayuki is still sleeping and Makoto is in bed sick, he suddenly realizes that Ayu is there eating breakfast with them. Akiko tells him that she invited Ayu after she passed by the house. After school, Yuuichi is walking around when he runs into Mai. He still can’t get her to talk. As he’s trying to carry on a conversation with her a friend of Mai’s, Sayuri, shows up. Yuuichi jokingly tells her that the ever silent Mai just told him she loves her. He’s doing this to get a response out of Mai, who still stays quiet. Yuuichi is surprised when sayuri invites him to eat with her and Mai. As they eat, Yuuichi asks Sayuri if she like, he then makes a joke that based on the meal, Sayuri is the perfect woman for him. Yuuichi discovers that he can get more than just a yes or no answer from Mai if he serves her food. After the meal, Sayuri invites him to eat with them again. As he starts to leave the school, he finds Shiori, the mysterious sick girl. As they walk around the school grounds, he tries to find out her last name, but she won’t ell him, saying that mysterious girls are supposed to be more interesting. As they talk, he finds out that she came to the school, hoping to see him because he’s an interesting person. She asks him to help her make a snowman. Yuuichi promises to help her, but only when she gets better.
On his way home, Yuuichi runs in to a recovered Makoto. Makoto is on an errand for Akiko. Yuuichi teases her about being too young to run an errand. Makoto claims to mature enough. Yuuichi decides to torment her further by asking her to by a porno mag for him. He’s surprised to learn that Makoto doesn’t know what a porn mag is. So Yuuichi tells her to ask the store clerk to help her buy one. Predictable, Makoto is angry at Yuuichi when she gets home. As she’s shouting at Makoto, she notices he’s eating a pork bun. Yuuichi tells her that he bought it in town along with the comic book that he’s reading. Makoto runs off to get buy the same things for herself. Later that night, Yuuichi goes back to the school to find Mai. He’s brought some food for her. As he unsuccessfully tries to get her to talk, something is creeping up behind him. Mai reacts, swinging her sword which pulls off a curtain. They discover that Makoto was under the curtain. She was followed Yuuichi on order to scare him but was scared by Mai instead. As he leaves, Mai cryptically tells him to be nice to her.
This was a surprisingly fast and humorous episode. And from some of the other blogs that I’ve read, we should be coming up on a climax and resolution to someone’s storyline. So the big questions are why is Mai at school at night? What are the demons she says she’s fighting? What does Shiori find so interesting about Yuuichi? Poor Makoto gets to be the butt-end of Yuuichi’s jokes and pranks though setting her up to buy a porno mag was funny. There was barely any Ayu and Nayuki to be satisfied with, but understandable since it focused on Mai, Shiori and Makoto.No comments
As the show opens, Alice is chewing Oland out for sneaking out of the hospital to find the cats from the bridge where he normally sleeps. Because he snuck out of the hospital, his wounds became infected so he has to stay in longer. Alice is so furious that she swears never to come back and see him. After she leaves, Oreld tells Oland that she was pretty concerned for him. A nurse, Rosetta, storms in and also reprimands Oland. She asks Oland’s roommate to ring a bell if he tried to sneak out again. When she finds out that Oreld and Machs are Oland’s friends, she asks them to take a urine sample from him. Embarrassed, they make up an excuse and leave. The nurse then attempts to take one herself and here we come to the running joke throughout the episode. Since Oland is so big, everything is proportionally big also. Eeevvvverything. Oland starts talking to his roommate, Wantz, who’s envious that Oland has friends to visit him. Wantz works in a briefcase factory and has been in the hospital for a week due to stomach problems. None of his coworkers have visited him. Seeing that Rosetta is having trouble taking a sample herself, Oland takes the sample bottle and leaves the room to do it himself. As he leaves, he sees someone enter the room. Hearing the stranger talk to Wantz, Oland realizes that it’s somebody who works with Wantz. Despite his wounds, Oland limps off to the bathroom.
Back at the headquarters of Oland’s unit, Machs and Oreld are in the library. Machs is trying to find evidence about Oland’s old anti-tank unit, ATT-901, and the “Invisible 9″ that Captain Hunks told him about. Oreld is trying to find out why Machs is doing all this research on Oland and his old unit. Machs explains that he believes that Oland’s presence in the unit could threaten the unit’s work and existence. Oreld tries to get more information from Machs, but Machs refuses. Until Oreld starts to embarrass Machs based on a childhood incident (both have been friends since childhood). Oreld makes the point that just as Mach’s past isn’t of any concern to people in the library; Machs shouldn’t be concerned with Oland’s past. Machs fills Oreld in on the information that Captain Hunks told him about the Invisible 9. As they’re talking, a woman, named Mirelle, passes by them. Oreld had taken her out on a date. Oreld and Mirelle flirt with one another. AS she walks away, Oreld tells Machs that she works in the Personnel department. He gets the idea to pay Mirelle a visit and see if he can get gat access to Oland’s personnel files. Even if there isn’t any record of the 901 Anti-Tank Unit, there has to be records of Oland’s military service.
Oreld finds out that Oland’s assignment was strongly supported by the Imperial Science Laboratory, also known as the Kauplan Institute. Machs decides that he wants to talk to Oland about his past. Oreld agrees and as the two start to head towards the hospital they run into Alice. She’s still adamant about not visiting Oland. At the hospital, Oland’s gets calls the Rosetta because Wantz hasn’t been seen since earlier in the day. She notices a briefcase in the trash next to Wantz’s bed. Oreld and Machs run into the room, telling the Rosetta that someone’s on the roof. All four of them head to roof where they find Wantz preparing to jump. He tells them that the visitor he had was his boss who fired him from the factory. He has no where else to go. The briefcase was his severance package for working for 20 years at the factory. Oland manages to convince him not to jump by promising to make the country a better place for people like Wantz. Wantz starts to step away from the ledge when a strong wind starts to blow him over. Oland dives and manages to push him back from the edge only to go over it himself. He’s caught by Machs and Oreld but because his size and weight, he starts to pull them over. Wantz and Rosetta try to pull them back. Suddenly Alice appears next to Rosetta, helping her and Wantz pull everyone back from the edge. As they lay there, Rosetta starts to look around for Alice who has disappeared behind the door to the roof.
This wasn’t a bad episode except for the ending. I thought it was a weak story device. A strong wind. That’s what that they come up with?! Hell, in Welcome to the NHK, Satou damn near fell of a cliff edge when it collapsed on him, but a strong wind? I know, I know, they needed a convenient plot device to bring a climax to the show. And since there aren’t any tanks or boulders for Oland to shoot, they give us this. I can’t really fault them on it, but it’s just so…predictable. I would’ve been satisfied with Oreld and Machs smuggling in some beers into Oland’s room with Alice spying on them from outside the room. One saving grace was the orchestral background music. It worked with the intensity of the roof seen and reminded me a lot of some classical music I’ve heard before. I want to say it reminded me of Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” from “Peer Gynt” but it’s been awhile since I heard it. It was nice to see and ending that didn’t rely on Oland’s tank killing mode and to see Alice’s buried concern for him (even though it’s obvious to the viewers that she is concerned about him.)No comments
Another enjoyable episode, heavy on the internal monologues. With that out of the way, on to the laughable thing I call a blog post. Well, She’s at it again. Hirokko (Hiro) Matsukata, our workaholic lead, has spent another night at the office. where everyone is talking about two photographers who were on a stakeout. They had their cover blown as they were trying to photograph an Olympic athlete and her coach who are rumored to be having an affair. One of the photographers is Fumiya Sagawara who seems to be on the burn-out arc of his career. He and the other photographer are talking with the chief editor about the blown stakeout. The chief editor suggests taking one of the female reporters. After running through the list, Hiro comes out as the nominee. Fumiya rejects the idea of having a Hiro, let alone a woman come with him on the stakeout. Hiro also rejects the idea since she’s got a date with her workaholic boyfriend. right on cue, her boyfriend calls and has to cancel their date tonight because of work. Hiro gets asked by Fumiya and the other reporter to go with Fumiya on a stakeout. As the other reporter is talking to Hiro, Fumiya doesn’t like women like Hiro. He hates strong-willed women. He thinks of them as selfish and doesn’t like their intense expressions. He thinks that women use their sex or some lame reason such as going on a date as a reason to slack off. He’s surprised when she agrees. As Fumiya walks away, Hiro starts to wonder why she doens’t like women or herself.
On the drive over, Hiro tries to find out why Fumiya doesn’t liker her. she mentions that when she started at the company, she worked in the gossip/tabloid division where Fumiya is assigned. She didn’t like it so she managed to transfer over to the political division. That’s part of the reason why Fumiya hates her, he was there when she transferred out.They park and wait outside of get to the athlete’s apartment building. As they wait, Hiro spots someone sneaking up on them. Fumiya realizes that its the same woman who blew his cover the night before. Hiro suddenly hugs Fumiya, telling him to act like they’re lovers. The woman walks up to the car and stares in, watching Hiro and Fumiya. After a few minutes, she leaves and Hiro realizes that she stained Fumiya’s shirt with her natto maki. She heads to a nearby water fountain to clean the shirt. As she’s cleaning it, she sees a taxi carrying the the athelete and the coach drive by. Fumiya also sees the taxi and starts taking pictures of the two as they get out. He realizes that they aren’t giving him the shots that he needs. All it looks like is that the coach is walking the athlete to the door.
As the sun rises in the morning, Fumiya stops the car near a bridge. As Hiro is sleeping, he gets out and walks to the edge of the river and starts taking pictures of the sky. Even though he’s burnt-out, he likes his job and the pictures of the infinite sky is a reminder to him about how insignificant everyone and their problems are. Hiro walks up and asks him why he takes pictures of the sky. He asks her why she’s always eating natto maki. Hiro refuses to tell him why.
This was a pretty good episode. One thing that I liked about it is that not everyone likes Hiro. If this was a average TV show, Hiro would’ve overcome Fumiya’s dislike of her and there’d be a greater understanding and appreciation between the two. Leaving things the way they are seems more realistic and will probably come into play for at least a few episodes down the line. Even with the tension between Hiro and Fumiyua, this was a humorous episode. And here’s another show with an opening them music that I’ve come to like. And hum at different times (damn it).No comments