「ぼくの友達」 (Boku no Tomodachi)
I usually don’t find it very funny when kids bug you about groping a girl’s breasts, but Lag is sooo adorable when he teases Gauche about it. I <3 Sawashiro Miyuki.
This week continues on with Gauche’s task of delivering Lag to the port town Cambel. From the shindan resonance last time, Lag learns about Gauche’s aspiration to become a Head Bee, the highest ranking position a Letter Bee can obtain, for the sake of his wheelchair-bound, little sister Sylvette. While he has a government-issued crossing permit, Gauche doesn’t have permission to take family members to the capital city Akatsuki yet. As seen in the flashback last time, Gauche wants to take Sylvette there so she can live a better life. Lag on the other hand wants to go to Akatsuki to find his kidnapped mother, but Gauche is surprisingly inconsiderate of his situation, claiming he doesn’t know the burden of carrying a crossing permit. He even goes as far as saying that he doesn’t even consider Lag a friend and that his job is just to delivery him to Cambel.
Frustrated, Lag storms off with Gauche’s gun in the middle of the night thinking that he’ll just bust into the capital instead. Before he knows it, he runs into a Gaichuu. Luckily, Roda was smart enough to tag along and look out for him and Gauche shows up just in time to save him. Their first attempt to destroy the Gaichuu with Gauche’s Kurobari (Black Needle) fails, but a second shot with Lag’s Spirit Amber artificial left-eye — something his mother claimed is a protective charm — manages to do the job. With Gauche injured, Lag carries him all the way to Cambel where he recovers after a few days at Sabrina Mary’s place. However, Sabrina throws him out shortly after for showing more concern about his job than being grateful for Lag’s efforts. Roaming around a port town that harbors pirates, Gauche is treated with disdain for being an outsider.
Lag shows up later with water and food from Sabrina, after which Gauche reveals that he can consider him a friend now that the delivery is complete. In tears, Lag sees Gauche off and says he wants to be a Letter Bee like him one day. Time lapse five years later and Lag is doing just that.
This was a really nice episode full of emotions, but still had hints of humour around the horrible-tasting canned soup. Story-wise, we see the advancement of Lag’s character and what will probably be the last time we see Gauche for a while. While they’ve given us a taste of Gauche’s back-story with the revelation of Aria, Sylvette, and his aspirations of becoming a Head Bee, Lag is the protagonist of the series so I expect the focus to shift to him from now on. However, Gauche did say he’ll look into Lag’s mother’s whereabouts when he gets to Akatsuki, hinting that they’ll cross paths again. The scene with Lag seeing Gauche off at the gate was shown in the OVA, but the story there took place when Lag was already a Letter Bee. Here, it appears we’re heading towards the intermediary part now, which should reveal how he becomes one. The preview shows Niche, whom I’m really looking forward to seeing.
On another note, Lag sure cries a hell of a lot. Surprisingly though, it doesn’t come off annoying at all, for which I’ll credit to Miyuki’s acting. In contrast, hearing him five years later as a twelve year-old boy was a refreshing change. Miyuki is able to make the aging transition believable with the crazy range/voice variety she has. Overall, I absolutely love the pace and “feel” of the series so far. I attribute that primarily to the conversations and interactions between Lag and Gauche so far, and the establishment of a definitive direction for the story. Once the credits roll and I hear HIMEKA’s “Hatenaki Michi” playing, I just can’t help but think, “Ah, that was a good episode.”