「仮面の男」 (Kamen no Otoko)
“The Masked Man”
After giving it some thought, I believe Ozuma can be best compared to a flag on a pole. Curiously random, yes. Madness, not quite.
Think about it for a moment. The series revolves around the Earth, so the ground can be considered representative of the story. You have Gido and Bainas, whose interactions bring each episode to heights it couldn’t have reached otherwise. Combined with the fact that each of the respective Captains fly under a different flag so to speak, the two are naturally representative of the flag portion of the analogy. Meanwhile, the pole itself is something that people don’t quite pay (or need to pay) attention to, but it’s still vital in that it serves as a structural feature that keeps the flag up by connecting it solidly to the ground. Sam is that pole. It can be argued that without him, we wouldn’t get all those great battle scenes between Gido and Bainas, as well as little plot movement. At the same time though, it can also be said that the things that Sam have done until this point haven’t been noteworthy, and in fact may have detracted a bit from the story. Thus, Sam the pole, is the vital aspect that connects the plot (the ground) and the exploits of the two Captains (the flag). Yet, his immature actions make him someone that gets left in the dust in the grand scheme of things and make him not worth paying much attention to. But hey, when was the last time you looked at a flagpole and said: “Wow, that’s such a cool pole!” (Don’t answer that.)
Not so crazy now am I!? Jokes and analogies aside, you have to say that some of the things I’ve said above aren’t quite farfetched. Gido and Bainas are indeed the highlight this episode once again, giving us Wild West standoffs, demonstrations of how negotiations should go, and some generally cool poses to top it all off. We also get the obligatory de-masking scene, which while expected, was still fun to watch and also served as an event that further developed Bainas’ character. It’s been nice seeing the build-up of her stoic armor these past few episodes and we always knew there was another side to her, but to actual see it was quite the treat.
On the other hand however, we have Sam, who seems content continuing his immature actions this episode. His failed Metal Gear style infiltration set up the plot development that followed, but it makes me wonder if the series wouldn’t be better if it focused on Bainas as a protagonist instead. In a way, it seems that even Maya might be a slightly better main than Sam. Her actions haven’t quite been noteworthy up until this point either, but it’s clear from this episode how crucial a role she plays in the overall story. Not to mention, she was the one who kicked started the story to begin with. How her interactions with Ozuma will save the world are still up in the air, but it’s no doubt that we’ll see how it happens in the culminating episode next week, and I know I’m definitely eager to see how everything wraps up. It hasn’t been quite the awesome ride a masterpiece might have been, but Ozuma’s still been worth watching every week, and has a few memorable characters to boot.
On a bit of a side note, I have to say that the Zone wasn’t quite what I thought it was at all. I suppose I should have expected this though, considering that I’m a science major and know that such a lake is a scientific possibility, even in a devastated world such as Ozuma’s. Regardless, the reveal was quite something, and some kudos have to be given to Gonzo for creating some pretty spectacular backdrops for most of the episode.
And with that, I shall bid thee adieu until the finale next week!