Skylos’ attack on the Mud Whale begins, and the defenders are put to the test. Meanwhile, a small strike team enters the lower levels of Skylos, searching for its nous in an attempt to sink it. The battle on the Whale is pitched, but the strike team encounters only light resistance – until they are caught in an ambush and largely wiped out.
Anime, I gotta know. Was it something I said, that you hold this grudge against me? Why do only I get the episodes where the pink-haired psychopath takes center stage?
So, pink-hair kid is back, and every scene with him in it is like dragging nails across my soul’s chalkboard. At the beginning of the episode, I still had the wherewithal to, once again, question why this one person is allowed to have all the emotions they want in a society rigidly built on suppressing them. There’s a scene early on where he’s rolling around in the dirt thanking God (wait, you guys have religion now too?) for the opportunity to murder people capable of feeling bad about being murdered, when I seriously wondered about all the other soldiers near him.
In the episode, they just walk past him in the slow, plodding manner that the show believes passes for “purposeful march”, but you have to wonder if they’re not a little weirded out.
GUY A: Hey, Jim, you see that pink kid rolling around in the dirt laughing? I think there’s something up with him.
GUY B: Hey, yeah, so I’m not the only one. Do you think – and I know, it sounds crazy – do you think he has emotions? He just seems so excited about killing people.
GUY A: Eh, it’s above my paygrade. I’m sure some of the brass is keeping an eye on him. Right?
GUY B: Yeah… (looks back at pinky shrieking something about fear and anger) …right.
I actually kind of feel bad for them now, having to put up with his antics all the time. By the end of the episode, though, I was simply exhausted by having to watch him.
Seriously, kiddo, no one, in the entire show, has called you crazy so far. You can’t just use default B-grade self-serving villain lines when there’s no one engaging with you. I would say that I want someone to kill him off, but I can’t even muster the hatred. I just want him to stop existing; if he never showed up in another episode I wouldn’t even question what happened.
The rest of the episode is a boring drudge march in which every event is broadcast to the viewer long before it happens, and then it happens exactly the way you expect it to. Suou gets emotional about the battle and decides to go somehow fight in it himself, and it’s like “Wow, I bet that isn’t going to work at all! He’s going to get thrashed”. And then he runs around for a few trying minutes until he finds someone to fight, and is promptly thrashed. The strike team gets to Skylos and we cut to the command bridge, where some guy says “Just as planned. We’ll take them out super easy”. 10 minutes later, that exact thing happens, just as he said it would.
The strike team is near the objective, and they decide “Hey, there’s a long, dark passageway where none of our magic works. Let’s send exclusively no-name side characters down there and leave all the plot-relevant people behind.” Boy, I wonder if all the no-name side characters are going to die. The show takes many agonizing minutes slowly, slowly revealing that, yes, they are dead. I’ve never seen a war that is so tiringly predictable to watch.
So with the main story plodding along, I’ll focus on some of my other observations. Like the little goggles that our main leads have.
For the entire episode, there’s been a powerful blowing sandstorm – in which no one reacts in the slightest to all the blowing sand. Doesn’t even faze them, their giant anime eyes impervious to all the flying grit. But when it’s time to get in their boat, Chakuro makes a show of putting on his goggles.
As if it matters at all. About a minute later, while still on the sand ocean, he takes them back off and off they stay. Why do you even have those?!
The sandstorm also brings another question with it.
How do you guys even manage to feed yourselves? Everything is going to be completely covered in sand when this storm is over. I feel like someone carefully designed the Mud Whale and its interesting civilization, and then they gave it to some… child, and told him to put it through an action story, and he’s just slamming it together with his other toys with reckless abandon.
Redeeming features of this episode, you ask? Well, shockingly, it’s better than Episode 3, my previous review. Gone are the most egregious examples of CG, there’s less pointless standing around (though the pacing is still awful), and the art on display continues to be nice.
Also, there was a nice little musical number in the middle of the episode, with Neri singing on top of some hideous fish with massive eyelashes.
The song doesn’t fit with the atmosphere of the episode, doesn’t make sense in context, and certainly doesn’t make up for the other flaws this episode… but it is nice in isolation. So there’s that.
Long story short, I’m tired of this show. I’m tired of boring characters with bad development, tired of pinko the shrieking sadism fairy, tired of predictability, tired of the color brown. If in the next episode every character was wiped out and the Mud Whale sunk, my reaction would be “well, ain’t that a shame” and I would quickly forget it. And you should too.