「ボクの居場所」 (Boku no Ibasho)
“Where I Belong”
To say the least, this was one of those episodes that could’ve been really special. I mean, everything was just set up perfectly before hand—the battle we got this episode and the character development involving Miu and Akatsuki… they’re all things that were slowly being built up for quite a few episodes. But now that we’re actually here, I gotta say that the culmination of all that build-up didn’t work out well at all. And you know what made it worse? The fact that the episode actually possessed the scenes and lines necessary to deliver that grand climax, but wasn’t able to deliver it properly because they tried to mash it all into twenty or so odd minutes.
And really, words elude me as to how the people in charge could think that forcing an epic fight, a bunch of character development, AND the return of the villain for round two in one episode could be anywhere near a good idea. I get there’s episode limits to work with, considering there’s only two more episodes to go, but come on, there were definitely other scenes that could’ve (and should’ve) been cut to ensure this part got the proper time it needed. But nope. Instead, we get a fight that’s not only anticlimatic for the most part, but full of Phil Bennet cementing his place as one of the more one-dimensional (and disliked) villains of the year. We get the amazing kamehameha that Akatsuki pulls out, but that’s not much to make up for him holding back when he said he was going to kill the guy.
Moving on, another big qualm about the episode is the fact you’d easily be able to make half (if not a whole) episode out of their fight, but not only did this barely take the first third of the episode, it then suddenly went through an abrupt mood change where Miu runs off, says a few lines, and decides to toss herself off a cliff. Akatsuki saves her as per the usual and then says some great manly lines, but I really just can’t feel any proper emotion for all of that development when you just suddenly change moods like that. There was just never that proper transition, and it felt all the more forced and overly dramatic as a result. Going back to what I said up there, what made it worse was the fact the lines and those particular interactions between Akatsuki and Miu, would’ve otherwise been a superb way to develop their characters and get some emotional investment from the viewers… if it was done right.
To top this off, the episode somehow tries to tack on EVEN more, by adding in the return of Phil Bennet for round two, which just made me facepalm to no end. I had suspected this might happen considering the speed at which events were going, but this was not one of those predictions I didn’t want to see fulfilled. And let’s not get into the fact he had another power-up on hand, and was pretty much holding back too, which just makes you wonder what the point of the first fight was for. Testing out your opponent or not, it goes against both of their personalities not to give it their all with so much at stake.
In any case, it looks like Phil Bennet’ll take us to the end of the series, which can’t come soon enough at this point. I mean, for as long as I’ve written posts here on RC and for online blogging in general, I’ve typically gone for positive spins, rather than negative slamming. But after waiting so long to see how this series would pan out and getting this rushed culmination filled with ridiculousness as a reward, there was just no positively spinning this episode.