「荒野幻灯台」 (Kouya Gentoudai)
“The Wild Phantom Lighthouse”
I’ve always described this series as “surreal” given the fantasy world it takes place in, but this is probably the first time that sentiment has extended to the supernatural realm. To that end, I just loved how this episode turned out to be absolutely nothing like I was expecting, beginning with Lag in the thick of things as a boy named Lugh living with his grandfather in a lighthouse. Amidst all my confusion of what’s going on and trying to make heads or tails on how on the whole “Lugh” bit, it didn’t even occur to me that the black, four-eyed, shadowy mass that was stalking Lag was actually Niche and Steak. Then there were all the bruise marks that Lag found on his body when he finally woke up, which weren’t from some evil spirit trying to strangle him but his faithful dingo trying to slap him to his senses. Things were never overly spooky, but the first half of the episode did have an unsettling atmosphere to it that I liked. There’s just something about the thought of a lingering spirit whose delusional memories get reflected upon unsuspecting visitors that gives a nice haunted twist, even if it wasn’t a vengeful one. Pointing a gun at Lag proved to be another good fake out too, as Lag’s shindan revealed that it was a ghostly impression of when the old man destroyed his journals and started pretending that his son and grandson never left him.
In retrospect, I felt they could have played up the creepiness more if they wanted to — particularly when the real photographs were shown — but Lag and Niche’s visit to Liquid Sand River was spared that horror flick route in the very end. However, part of me wishes they strayed from the Tegami Bachi norm by exploring that possibility, just to provide an unexpected dimension to this series. Aside from Lag’s obligatory tears, the other thing that caught my attention was how he still didn’t now who Jiggy Pepper was. Granted, he was unconscious when Jiggy brought him and Niche back to the Bee Hive in episode one, but I would’ve figured he’d have a face to the name by now. As for a bit of a nostalgic effect, there was mention of Jiggy’s sister back in Kyrie, whom viewers of season one will remember was covered in a two episode mini arc. (Nelli is actually his adopted sister.) In any case, this turned out to be a nice interesting change-up compared to the simply story seen last time and also had a big Gaichuu Korona around to boot. The next episode looks even better, as Lag and Niche look like they’re going to finally cross paths with some Reverse members.