「赤と緑のリボン」 (Aka to Midori no Ribon)
“Red and Green Ribbons”
Zazie is definitely the grouch of the holidays. With the Letter Bees dressing up as Holy Night messengers (i.e Santa) and delivering presents to less fortunate kids up north, he wasn’t enjoying it one bit and made sure Lag knew every step of the way. While the two of them team up for this special occasion, Niche is unhappy about being forced to stay at the Bee-Hive, but finds some dingo companionship in Wasiolka.
For this Letter Bee Christmas episode, things revolve around Lag and Zazie’s visit to a girl named Sonja Malmola (Saitou Chiwa of Senjougara Hitagi fame), who lives alone and away from the rest of the village in Jewel Stone Mountain. Lag and Zazie deliver a picture book to her as a present, but Sonja surprisingly doesn’t take them up on the one wish they’re supposed to grant each child. When Lag insists, she simply asks that they stay for dinner. Some time later, Zazie ends up accompanying Sonja back to town to buy groceries, where he notices the people there don’t want her around. After a scrumptious feast, tear-jerking storytelling, and some games, Sonja reveals to Zazie that her parents were killed by a Gaichuu. The reason she’s treated as an outcast is because the villagers misinformedly believe that Gaichuu are attracted to her now.
Hearing this, Zazie is reminded of how his parents were also killed by the insect-like creatures. Just as Lag and Zazie are about to leave, they catch word that a Gaichuu is attacking the village and quickly act to dispose of it. The villagers are still convinced that Sonja’s at fault though, so Zazie angrily explains that Gaichuu are attracted to the hearts of people and not the children of their victims. As thanks for saving everyone and clearing things up, Sonja gives Lag and Zazie her red and green hair ribbons, which the latter ends up giving to a stray cat he’s been taking care of.
Overall, this was a cute episode thanks to Sonja and focused a lot more on Zazie than Lag. Niche on the other hand was completely sidelined from the onset, but I didn’t mind because Zazie’s misery was so fun to watch. He just loved to complain about everything from wearing a bright red outfit to walking in knee-high snow. Because of that, I rather enjoyed watching him fall flat on his back for all his ranting. The funniest part though had to be Lag’s inability to read the book to Sonja without crying like crazy near the end of it. At moments like this, there’s no need to feel compassionate towards Lag’s tears and we’re free to laugh away. Story-wise, it was interesting them to see a bit of Zazie’s past, which more or less explains why he’s intent on killing Gaichuu with his malice-filled shindans.
As for some other series-related tidbits, I noticed how all the Gaichuu seem to be named after types of alcohol. In particular, whiskeys, bourbons, and liqueurs. For example, the large centipede here was a Cointreau. We’ve also come across ones named, Booker’s, Glen Keith, and Duvel. I wonder if this means author Asada Hiroyuki has a thing for hard imported liquor of if this was merely a theme he decided on. In either case, I found this naming scheme rather unique so I thought I’d point it out.
For those who have been wondering, word is that the anime is slated for 26 episodes. This is based on the fact that an artist for the second opening theme has already been decided on, and that the seven DVD volumes scheduled for release contain two episodes in the first and four in the rest (i.e. 1×2 + 6×4 = 26). I haven’t seen any mention on what the new song will be, but the artist is Seira 「星羅」, who supposedly made her big debut this past May with the song “Suuji to Koi” 「数字と恋 」 (Numbers and Love). You can view the PV for that song here. We can probably expect the new opening to be included with episode 13 or 14 since that would be the halfway point of the series. The single for the song in question is slated for a January 20th, 2010 release.
Given the pacing thus far, I kind of figured this was going to be more than a one cour series. However, it’s good to know it’s been confirmed and we have more Tegami Bachi in store for next year. Out of all the series I’m covering right now, this is the only one that’s not ending this month.