Brendan will be stepping in for Scott this week, who will return next week.
Like, ten minutes into Riko’s ten-day survival camp with Reg, she about gets herself wrecked by some sort of subterranean hippopotabyss. The pair then make it their mission to bring down the most moderately dangerous game. Elsewhere, Ozen reminiscences about Lyza.
Little bit of a slow week, eh? Technically I think more in-universe time passes in this episode than in any of the episodes since the second one, but almost a fifth of the run time is flashback, and even in the present it seems like very little actually happens. While we do at least get to see the kids put together a plan and execute it, I was a little disappointed that we skipped to the end of the training without a montage. I was even more disappointed that Reg managed to refer to an event that didn’t make it into the episode, and that I wouldn’t give an even chance of being relevant further on, though I guess they might surprise me.
Really the meat of this episode lies in Ozen’s memories of Lyza that she shares with the audience and her knowledge of the Abyss that she shares with the protagonists (including the fascinating tidbit that time apparently flies when you’re in the most disturbingly hostile environment known to man). As far as the latter goes, it does seem a little convenient that Riko & Reg get shepherded down their path by someone who knew Riko’s mother very well (and who thought that they were the bestest of besties until some BOY came along), but, on the other hand, I can see this being a positive development for the story. Without this infusion of knowledge and equipment, the pair would just be skulking around every layer of the Abyss until they meet their unceremonious end (or at least Riko’s) when some yacht-sized abomination accidentally crushes them to death when it rolls over, or reflexively eats them before they know what’s happening, or something. Now they know enough to be dangerous, and can get into some real trouble.
Specifically, we’ve now got a name and a warning for the dude that we catch a glimpse of in the OP, so there are pretty good odds that, before the season is over, we’re going to run afoul of a powerful White Whistle who will be thinking only about how he can separate our heroes from anything they’re carrying that’s remotely useful. There’s actually a handful of other neat revelations in this episode (one of them destroying my theory that Leader is in some way related to Riko), so I’ll give a net positive to Ozen’s flashbacks, even if a couple of them seemed unnecessary.
The most important thing is that we’re back on the descent. For reference, as far as my casual research has been able to determine, the deepest that humans have actually ventured into the Earth is in a pair of gold mines in South Africa which reach almost 4,000 m below the surface. The mines are pretty far inland, though, so that only works out to about 2,000 m below sea level, a depth that Riko and Reg passed back before they made the transition to the inverted forest. Random fun fact: Shiggy says the word “meters” when he describes the layers (well, “meetoru”, at least), but the depths on the map we see in that scene are marked with the symbol which ciphers to the kana for “ro“, which… I don’t know where I’m going with this, it’s just weird.
Yes, I have spent several hours working out the cipher, based on the episode 3 map, other on-screen text, and the parts of the opening credits that don’t involve reading kanji (found a couple of typos, but it’s pretty well done overall). Could I have looked it up? Probably, but what fun would that be? =P
We got a decent wrap-up to our mini-arc in the Seeker Camp. I’m excited to leave its relative safety and get back to the dive.