「勝浦発→鴨川行」 (Katsūra Hatsu → Kamogawa Kou)
“Departing Katsuura → Destination Kamogawa”
As has been said before, Rinne no Lagrange’s strength is in effortlessly moving between the light-hearted and the serious. Just as soon as you think you’re watching an entire episode of cross dressing maids, derailed duels and a clumsy Lan, suddenly you’re hit with tragic pasts, inspiring family members and galactic intrigue. And to be honest, if it weren’t for all the screenshots up there, I couldn’t tell you the exact moment the switch happened. It wasn’t a baton pass, like the comedy half said “Okay, here you go,” and the plot half took off running. The tone never really changed, or rather it was so natural that I didn’t have time to think about it until the moment was long past. It just effortlessly slid from one to the next, like Muginami feeling up a non-Array maid. This show consistently exhibits truly masterful storytelling, and I don’t think that can be said enough…which is why I’m saying it again!
Before I go on, I would like to take a quick detour. If you haven’t been keeping up with the news, you might have by now noticed that I’m not Divine. Hopefully this won’t make you instantly close the browser window and run away forever! But please, allow me to wax sentimental for a moment. This season I started off finishing the Zero no Tsukaima series that Omni started, and now I’m finishing Ano Natsu de Matteru and this show for Divine. It feels like I’m walking in the footsteps of giants…and for a guy who is 200cm (6’7″) tall, this is an unfamiliar feeling. I hope I’m up to the task.
Anyway, back to Lagrange. The first half of this episode was, to put it bluntly, friggin’ hilarious! After Villagiulio sets Izo, Kirius, and Array up in the clubroom from Yuruyuri, the laughs started immediately. Array was by far the star of this episode. From his masochistic gushing over the house, getting ropped into working for Madoka’s uncle after he couldn’t pay for his meal, and getting felt up by an old man who doesn’t mind that he’s a guy, I was laughing every time he was on screen. Izo was really funny too, though. I enjoyed him confusing TV with reality (haven’t we all done that occasionally), but him accidentally convincing Madoka’s friends that he is her boyfriend was hilarious. It’s good to know you’re serious, Izo. As for Kirius, his main contribution was to ask Array why he hasn’t bought himself new clothes. Perceptive, but that would ruin the fun, so let’s pretend we never heard that one.
And then there’s the other side of the coin. Not even 30 seconds after Madoka’s friends were giggling about how hilarious her “boyfriend” was, we’re hearing the full story behind Madoka’s mother’s death, and just how big of an effect Yoko has had on Madoka’s life. The jersey, the front ponytail, the always-wearing-a-swimsuit-and-being-ready-to-save-people…when Madoka was at her lowest, Yoko was there as an example of the kind of person she could be, and a good one at that. The full story really puts Madoka’s personality in perspective, including how she can act so calm even though Midori has been taken away. To be blunt, she’s been through worse. She’ll get through this.
But even more than that, it was the actions of our increasingly friendly antagonists that I found really interesting. After hearing the tale of Madoka’s mother, Izo, who was so ready to do what he felt was necessary just seconds beforehand, lost his will. Combined with everything we know about Villagiulio, it’s getting increasingly hard to root against Kiss. What we have here is a fight between two sides where neither is the bad guy, and if nothing else, this might be one of the most subtly brilliant things this show has brought to the table. In real life, wars are rarely fought between good guys and bad guys. Mostly they’re fought between two bad guys, or really two sides who both think they’re the good guys who just have to do really bad things. Here we have something a little different – two sides who both seem like good guys – but the general point stands. In a fight between Kiss and the Vox girls, I can’t honestly say I want either side to lose…and as I type that, I realize that’s probably exactly the point. Here’s what I’m thinking will happen: first, these two groups will slug it out and Kiss will get repelled. Then, while they’re all licking their wounds, the Vox Retrieval Force (sent by Dizelmine of Le Garite) will arrive. Not wanting to let Le Garite get the Voces, Kiss will end up allying with the girls against Le Garite. Imagine it: the three Vox pilots of Kamogawa and the three Ovid pilots of Kiss fighting together (with Villagiulio and Yoko off in a command center somewhere, I don’t know). It could happen…
Anyway, I better pack this in before this post gets long enough to qualify as a novel. For those who haven’t read any of my other posts, I try to judge each and every episode by one simple criteria: was it entertaining? Entertainment can come in many forms, but at the end of the day, whether something was enjoyable or not is all that really matters. So, was this episode entertaining? Yes! Very much so, yes. Rinne no Lagrange is an extremely well written, directed, animated, and voice acted show, and it exhibits this in every single episode. And you know what? I bet next episode will be no exception. I look forward to finding out.
- I forgot to mention Yurikano (Mariya Ise), the girl from the beginning of the episode. She apparently knew younger Villagiulio, and triggered something called the “Tragedy of Militia Zodia”…something which Madoka is dangerously close to repeating. Mentally bookmark that. She’s definitely going to be important later on.
- I’m really surprised that Kirius’ chance meeting with Madoka didn’t annoy me. Usually I hate “convenient” stuff like that (oh, so he just happened to be near where she was?), but I didn’t even bat an eyelash here. I guess the more this show does right, the more I’m willing to overlook my normal pet peeves.
- Kirius, you looked so cool right there. Almost.
- Someday I’ll learn when to stop writing. Please bear with my wordy posts until then m(_ _)m
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